Response to COVID-19

As we witness the extensive impact that COVID-19 is having on the Chicago region, the Walder Foundation is working to respond to the urgent needs of our grantees, partners and Chicago communities during this challenging time. We have joined other philanthropic organizations that are contributing to collaborative funds, targeting the health and economic needs of individuals and organizations in our region. We are also grantmaking to organizations that align with the Foundation's program areas.

Collaborative Funds

Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund
In collaboration with the City of Chicago, The Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago launched the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund to unite the funds raised by Chicago’s philanthropies, corporations and individuals to be disbursed to nonprofit organizations across the region. The fund will provide flexible resources to community-based organizations across the Chicago metropolitan 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. Support this fund.

The Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago thank the many contributors to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund, which has raised more than $25 million to support our struggling communities. In addition to the Founders, almost 4,000 donors made donations less than $10,000 resulting in more than $1,000,000 raised for the Fund.

Arts for Illinois Relief Fund
The Arts for Illinois Relief Fund is intended to provide financial relief to workers and organizations in the creative industries impacted by COVID-19. Individuals are awarded expediently and based on a lottery system. Arts organizations' grants are likewise based on a combination of need and lost revenue from the crisis. The fund is a public-private partnership between the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, the broader philanthropic community, and the residents of Illinois. It can accept donations from individuals, foundations, and public sources. The Arts for Illinois Relief Fund is administered by Arts Alliance Illinois in partnership with 3Arts and Arts Works Fund, long-standing and trusted service organizations and grantmakers. Support this fund.

Chicago Proactive Response (CPR) COVID-19 Innovation Fund
mHUB, MATTER and 1871 are mobilizing the technology community to design solutions in direct response to COVID-19. Entrepreneurs, software developers, engineers, designers, and industry experts provide a rich talent pool to facilitate fast, new responses to front-line challenges affecting our populations. Activities supported by the fund will contribute to the long-term resiliency of the Chicago innovation ecosystem and the Illinois economy.

Chicago Frontline Funding Initiative - COVID-19 Environmental Justice Emergency Response Fund
The COVID-19 Environmental Justice (EJ) Emergency Response Fund, administered by LVEJO, will rapidly disperse resources to six EJ organizations, and ensure that EJ leaders are supported in their community efforts over the next 3-6 months. This emergency fund will also allow LVEJO to gather further information about the community needs that are evolving in EJ communities, and better understand the emergency capacity needs of EJ organizations. Support this fund.

Chicago Region Food System Fund
This fund aims to address the impact of the pandemic on food system organizations in the Chicago region, such as food producers, processors, and distributors. It launched in June 2020 with an initial investment of $4.2 million. Later in 2020, the fund will shift its focus to long-term work toward a resilient, racially and economically just local food system. Support this fund.

JUF COVID-19 Initiative
The fund will support necessary human services in the Jewish community during this crisis time, with a focus on financial assistance, health and safety, food assistance, and community stability. Support this fund.

Chicago Jewish Emergency Assistance Fund
To provide financial assistance to members of the Jewish community who are struggling because of the impact of COVID-19. Support this fund.


Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST)
In an effort to provide accessible and accurate STEM programming to the public during the pandemic, C2ST will host "Science From the Frontlines," an ongoing series of virtual events tackling topics such as vaccines, public health, community best practices, and other subjects relevant to COVID-19. All events are free. Learn more about upcoming events or register to attend: Science From the Frontlines.

COVID-19 Response: Emergency PPE for FQHCs
To protect the many health care workers and first responders, funding to the Illinois Primary Health Care Association (IPHCA) will purchase and distribute protective medical products and equipment (PPE) to Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHCs) across the state of Illinois. FQHCs that serve as COVID-19 testing sites are playing a valuable role in the nationwide response to the pandemic and minimizing the stress on the hospital system.

Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC)
ELPC will support the Chicago environmental, conservation, and clean energy groups with grants for technology to work virtually during the pandemic, providing a technical infrastructure that will be valuable post-COVID-19.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Chicago (AAAJ)
With the increase in anti-Asian racism during the pandemic, funding to AAAJ - Chicago will support the development of educational materials to victims of hate crimes as well as resources for local stakeholders and government officials to mitigate racism and prevent the spread of misinformation about Asian-Americans.

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
Funding to HIAS will support mental health and wellness services for refugee individuals and families during the COVID-19 pandemic, including an interpretation fund to each of its 17 partner agencies; Chromebooks to 400 families to access telemedicine and therapy; and basic smartphones to 250 families.

Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC)
Support for IBIC to provide technical assistance for immigrant business owners as they apply for PPP loans during COVID-19.

Latinos Progresando
Immediate response funding and support for organization planning, which will include gap analysis, identification of strategic priorities, emerging needs and best practices from COVID-19, staffing models, revised fee structures, adjusted pay scales, professional development, and sustainability analysis.

Migration Policy Institute
Funding will support the research and analysis of the intersection of COVID-19 and immigration.

SecDev Group
To rapidly design, develop, and deploy an urban pandemic preparedness and response dashboard to improve city awareness, response, and recovery for COVID-19.

Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois
For the distribution of 2,000 ("Seder in a Box") meals to Jewish medical personnel deployed to the McCormick Place field hospital during Passover.

General Operating Support

Advancing Sustainability
Delta Institute
Audubon Great Lakes
Friends of the Forest Preserves

Immigrant Advocacy
Illinois Immigration Funders Collaborative

Jewish Life
Chicago Chesed Fund
Kehillah Fund
Associated Talmud Torah