HomeArticleAn Open Letter to the Chicago Region’s Nonprofit Community, COVID-19

An Open Letter to the Chicago Region’s Nonprofit Community, COVID-19

Dear Partners and Friends,

As the Chicago region grapples with unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19, we are grateful for your ongoing work to provide essential public services, tackle inequities, and create communities where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

We can’t imagine a more difficult time for Chicago area nonprofits. Many vital programs are being disrupted at a time when people need them more, daily operations altered, and budgets stretched by increased demand for services and the cancellation of revenue-generating events – all in a context of tremendous and extraordinary uncertainty. The challenges are even greater for those providing direct services to people at the highest risk due to the virus itself and the economic impacts we are already seeing.

Like you, this community is at the heart of everything we care about. In these anxious times, we want to reaffirm our commitment to you and your work. Your priorities may be shifting as you determine how best to provide for communities, and the path to meet your original program goals may no longer be clear. While we know you remain deeply committed to continuing your work, we also realize that during this crisis it may not be realistic to meet the project goals you once expected to achieve. Please know, we understand and will prioritize flexibility regarding reporting.

In recognition of the challenges you are facing now and those that will be posed to our region in the days and weeks ahead, many of us have joined together and with others to contribute to a fund as one way to support those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The Chicago Community 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 basic supplies, rent and mortgage assistance and utility assistance. Learn more at https://www.chicagocovid19responsefund.org/.

We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in our community by listening to you to understand your experience and the experiences of those you serve. We are heartened by the way organizations across our region are rising to this challenge and are committed to doing our part to help ensure this critical work continues.

Thank you for your leadership and partnership in helping our city weather this crisis.


Iris Krieg, Executive Director

Albert Pick, Jr. Fund


Joel M. Friedman, President

The Alvin H. Baum Family Fund


Helene D. Gayle, President and Chief Executive Officer

The Chicago Community Trust


Adam Levine, President

Circle of Service Foundation


Mary Pounder, Program Director

Comer Family Foundation


Greg DiDomenico, President and CEO

Community Memorial Foundation


Leslie Ramyk, Executive Director

Conant Family Foundation


Evan Hochberg, President

Crown Family Philanthropies


Arne Duncan, Managing Partner

Emerson Collective / Chicago CRED


Angelique Power, President

The Field Foundation


Sharon Bush, Executive Director

Grand Victoria Foundation


Rachel Garbow Monroe, President and CEO

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation


Maria Socorro Pesqueira, President

Healthy Communities Foundation


Phyllis Glink, Executive Director

The Irving Harris Foundation


Janet Froetscher, President

JB and MK Pritzker Family Foundation


Lonnie Nasatir, President

Jewish United Fund


John Palfrey, President

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation


Ellen S. Alberding, President

The Joyce Foundation


Liz Kramer Lefkofsky, Executive Director

Lefkofsky Family Foundation


Craig Leva, President

Leva Family Foundation


Unmi Song, President

Lloyd A. Fry Foundation


Kelsey Malnati Howell, Executive Director

Marc and Jeanne Malnati Family Foundation


Allyson Park, President

Mars Wrigley Foundation


Gayla Brockman, President and CEO

Michael Reese Health Trust


Kim R. Van Horn, Managing Director

Paul M. Angell Family Foundation


Gillian Darlow, CEO

Polk Bros. Foundation


Charles Twichell, Executive Director

Prince Charitable Trusts


Julie Wilen, Executive Director

Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation

Pritzker Foundation


Cindy Moelis, President

Pritzker Traubert Foundation


David Hiller, President and CEO

Robert R. McCormick Foundation


Na’ilah Suad Nasir, President

Spencer Foundation


Patricia Ford, Executive Director

Steans Family Foundation


Sean Garrett, President and CEO

United Way of Metro Chicago


Robert N. DiLeonardi, Executive Director

VNA Foundation


Michelle Morales, President

Woods Fund Chicago