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Stories of The McCormick Foundation's COVID-19 Response

Helping our Neighbors

McCormick Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation has been identifying opportunities where we can provide immediate assistance to those most affected by COVID-19, including challenges with health, jobs, food, and shelter — all of which are disproportionately affecting some of our most vulnerable neighbors of color. We are pleased to join with others in the philanthropic community in Chicago and across Illinois to work quickly to address the most immediate needs of all of our citizens.

Today, we are helping our neighbors by supporting various COVID-19 Relief funds, patronizing small, minority-owned businesses by providing meals to those on the front lines, and revising our grant-making procedures to allow for greater flexibility.

Like each of you, we are heartened to see how our community has rallied to help those in need. We also are appreciative of the frontline workers in this battle who risk their health each day to provide those essential services to the rest of us. Below, you’ll find a brief summary of several of the initiatives the Foundation is pursuing to help the most vulnerable.

COVID-19 Response Funds

The McCormick Foundation quickly responded to the call to offer support for beleaguered organizations as they seek to continue operations amidst the coronavirus, including the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund.

Funded by several local area foundations, the Chicago COVID-19 Response Fund will provide flexible resources to community-based organizations across the Metropolitan Chicago region to supply essential aid to the individuals and households who are most impacted by the pandemic. Those resources currently include access to emergency food and necessary supplies, rent and mortgage assistance, and utility assistance.

Read about the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund.

Also, the Foundation provided funding to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund for nonprofit organizations across the state serving individuals, families, and communities hit hardest by the pandemic.

Read more about the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund.

Place-Based Emergency Funds for Englewood and Little Village

Teamwork Englewood and Enlace Chicago spearhead community-led efforts to address inter-related issues of education, public health and safety, economic development, and jobs. The national COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected vulnerable residents already challenged with homelessness or at-risk of experiencing homeless, healthcare, and emergency response workers, seniors, and immigrants.

Recently, the McCormick Foundation provided $150,000 to each organization for COVID-19 emergency funding. Those resources will be used to meet urgent needs and provide survival essentials for residents during the pandemic, including, but not limited to, economic supports for lost wages and income, rental assistance, emergency food distribution, and access to healthcare and mental health supports.

Journalism Fund Provides $425,000 in Grants

The McCormick Foundation, in collaboration with five other foundations, announced 48 grants totaling more than $425,000 from a collaborative Journalism Fund, offering immediate support for local media organizations working to disseminate information about COVID-19 to Chicagoland communities. The Fund is providing local media organizations covering the pandemic with grants up to $10,000 to continue their coverage. Congratulations to Democracy Program Officer Andres Torres for launching the effort.

Read the news release.

A Focus on Our Children

The McCormick Foundation’s commitment to help Illinois' most vulnerable children to succeed through school and life by ensuring the best possible start beginning at birth continues during the pandemic. Emergency funding is helping address immediate and intermediate needs, bulk-purchasing diapers and wipes for high need families served by child care agencies across the city, and technical assistance to providers to access federal CARES act funding for small businesses. Emergency funding also will support a rapid response effort to quickly update the city’s early learning data system in a way that allows real time forecasting of and response to anticipated sudden swings of the availability of child care, as well as family needs for care.

Together We Rise

Philanthropic and corporate initiative launches to help Chicago region build back better from the disproportionate impact of COVID-19.

Full Details

Veterans Facing Food Insecurity

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is supporting a temporary food bank organized by veterans that has delivered 40,000 pounds of food to more than 1,500 families.

Read Blog

Emergency Supplies for Childcare Providers

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation helped mobilize both a volunteer drive and bulk-purchasing of emergency child care supplies.

Read Blog

Chicago’s Peace Outreach Continues

Gun violence takes no break amidst continual backdrop of COVID-19

Read Blog

Partner Spotlight: Breakthrough

Breakthrough has adapted quickly to support Garfield Park residents in an age of social distancing. Here are just a few examples:

  • Transitioning to curbside pickup at the Fresh Market Pantry
  • Delivering meals to families of students participating in Breakthrough programs
  • Procuring laptops for families with students participating in e-learning
  • Partnering with the Anti-Cruelty Society's Friends Network to provide pet care kits to families.

Learn more at and watch their feature on WTTW's Chicago Tonight.

Importance of Investment in Local News

printing press stock image

Communities of color disproportionately affected by coronavirus, access to information is critical.

Read Op-Ed from Chicago Reader

Meals for the Front Line

The McCormick Foundation is committed to supporting our frontline organizations during this unprecedented time. To date, hundreds of box lunches have been provided Mt. Sinai Hospital, the Jesse Brown VA, and the Manteno VA. The McCormick Foundation will continue to provide meals from small, minority-owned businesses to select organizations through June.

Responding to Veteran Needs

The McCormick Foundation recently issued two grants to address the needs of veterans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more about these Veterans grants

A History of Support

Rush University Hospital

Robert R. McCormick and the McCormick Foundation have both provided resources in anticipation of and in preparation for disaster.

Read Blog

Cantigny Blood Drive

Cantigny Park, part of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, hosted a blood drive on April 10 with help from staff members and their families. We partnered with Versiti Blood Center of Illinois to conduct this drive-in response to the critical need for blood and the increased cancellation of planned drives due to the spread of the virus.

“It’s exciting to see my colleagues coming out to give the gift of life during these difficult times,” said Brian Gray, Cantigny Park’s Visitors Services and Special Events Coordinator.