CHICAGO (CBS) — As the number of new coronavirus cases in Illinois climbed even further on Thursday, Gov. JB Pritzker said the state is establishing a new initiative to support non-profits during the COVID-19 crisis, and he is donating millions of his own dollars to help get it started.
Pritzker said the state is teaming up with United Way and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations to establish the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to support local non-profits across the state who are helping those hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
“My team and I are incredibly grateful for all of the businesses, and leaders, and organizations who have stepped up to meet this moment,” he said.
The governor said the fund will help provide emergency food and supplies, offer shelter and housing to those who need it, expand healthcare services, assist with utility costs and other financial burdens, and help children and families enduring school closings.
Pritzker named his sister, former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, as the chair of the foundation.
“When JB called me last week to talk about the need for a fund to support basic needs for all Illinoisans during this critical time, he said there was nothing more important that we can do to help the too many people across our great state who are desperate for assistance. That is what this effort is all about,” she said.
Penny Pritzker said the fund would work in cooperation with other foundations to ensure resources are directed where they’re needed most in Illinois. She said the fund already has raised nearly $23 million.
“I have been blown away by the so many people who have answered the call in just the last few days to create this effort. Everyone we asked to help signed on immediately – and I mean everyone — and without hesitation,” she said.
The governor and his wife have personally donated $2 million to the fund, and their family foundation has given another $2 million.
Contributions to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund can be made by visiting ilcovidresponsefund.org.