The Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago has announced the launch of a $26 million COVID-19 relief fund in response to the surge in needs brought on by the public health emergency.
Launched with $26 million from JUF's annual campaign and endowment, support from funders, and additional lines of credit, the fund will work to help Chicagoans of all faiths impacted by COVID-19, with a focus on addressing needs in four areas: emergency financial aid, food assistance, health and safety, and community stability.
To that end, JUF will award cash grants for housing, food, medical care, and other essentials for individuals and families in crisis, including assistance provided through the Rabbinic Discretionary Funds of synagogues; fund the expansion of food pantries, grocery gift cards, and meal programs for people in need; support enhanced staffing, trauma counseling, and personal protective equipment (PPE) at Mt. Sinai Hospital and for caregivers serving seniors and people with disabilities; and provide emergency operating support and professional expertise to local Jewish human service and educational agencies, especially those operating with narrow margins.
Following a survey of hundreds of service providers, a JUF committee of volunteers who lead the organization's planning and allocation efforts awarded its first two rounds of emergency grants in April. The committee will continue to identify emerging needs and award grants accordingly in the coming weeks and months.