COVID-19 Relief Fund distributes $250,000 to help with food, housing and more

Elderly woman looking out window

The Champaign County COVID-19 Relief Fund (the Fund) has been hard at work helping neighbors impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, May 20, the Fund received a $250,000 grant from the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund (ICRF) to support East Central Illinois relief work, with a focus on populations with a high COVID-19 burden. This is the second grant awarded by the ICRF to the Champaign County COVID-19 Relief Fund.

All $250,000 will be distributed immediately to 17 area human service organizations. Populations of special focus in this wave of grants include senior citizens, people experiencing domestic violence or homelessness, and the immigrant community. This distribution marks the Fund’s fifth wave of grants. Wave 5 brings the total amount granted by the Fund to $593,250.

Wave 5 Grants


$43,000 to 7 organizations to support regional food pantry services and food for homebound seniors.

Ford County Food Pantry / Hands of Christ  $3,000.00 
Hoopeston Multi-Agency $5,000.00 
Piatt County Cares  $7,500.00 
The Dwelling Place $7,500.00 
United Methodist Church Piatt County $5,000.00 
Willow Tree Missions $5,000.00 
Promise Healthcare $10,000.00 

General Assistance

$104,000 to 6 organizations to provide emergency financial aid to people, with a focus on communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Champaign County Healthcare Consumers $10,000.00 
New American Welcome Center $50,000.00 
The Refugee Center $25,000.00 
CRIS Healthy Aging     $10,000.00 
Faith in Action $5,000.00 
Family Service     $4,000.00 

Housing & Shelter

$103,000 to 4 organizations to provide socially-distanced emergency shelter and mortgage assistance.

Habitat for Humanity $30,000.00
Austin’s Place $10,000.00
Courage Connection $38,000.00
CU at Home $25,000.00

Sue Grey, United Way of Champaign County President & CEO, said, “The pandemic has reaffirmed my belief that the nonprofit sector is filled with innovative thinkers. Local organizations are maximizing their impact through partnership and creativity. We just received a report back from an organization working with a local food vendor to deliver two weeks’ worth of meals and masks to 77 homebound senior citizens. This was only possible because of incredible community support for the Fund.”

The Champaign County COVID-19 Relief Fund is a partnership between United Way of Champaign County and the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois. All donations are used locally. There are no administrative fees on gifts. Both organizations would like to express their sincere gratitude to all donors, as well as the ICRF.

The Fund has developed a comprehensive plan to expend all remaining funds over the next eight weeks. Future waves of grants will focus on summer food, summer learning, additional general assistance, and other areas of high need. Joan Dixon, Community Foundation President & CEO, said, “Throughout the pandemic, we have been listening to our front line nonprofit partners. With their help, we have built a plan that will get resources to the communities where help is needed most, and solve problems that would otherwise go unaddressed.”

Some of the unique issues the Fund has addressed include housing and financial assistance for people who did not qualify for unemployment, access to food for vulnerable populations, socially-distant shelter options for people experiencing homelessness, and improving people’s access to technology for telehealth, among others.