HCF Awards $6.2M in Grants Supporting Pandemic Recovery in Chicago and Western Cook County Suburbs

HCF Awards $6.2M in Grants Supporting Pandemic Recovery in Chicago and Western Cook County Suburbs

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The Foundation awards general operating support to 72 local organizations and rolls out multi-year funding as part of its three-year pandemic response to invest in community-defined solutions towards health equity

RIVERSIDE, IL (OCTOBER 6, 2021)  – Healthy Communities Foundation announced $6.2 million in total general operating support grants for 72 local organizations serving communities in the south and west sides of Chicago and western Cook County suburbs, some of which have been the hardest hit in Illinois by the COVID pandemic.

As part of the Foundation’s three-year COVID response to strengthen its region’s health ecosystem and support community-led strategies to advance health equity, it awarded:

      • $3.1 million in one-year general operating support grants to 52 organizations (average grant award of $59,077)
      • $3.1 million in three-year renewable grants to 20 organizations, its first multi-year partner cohort (average grant award of $155,000).

Investing in and Supporting Organizations Serving Communities Most Impacted by COVID

Through its partners, the Foundation has understood that its region’s communities will not recover from the pandemic at the same rate nor the same ways, particularly BILPOC (Black, Indigenous, Latinx, People of Color) communities which make up more than 70% of total residents. The 2021 general operating support funding reflects strategic investment towards these communities and the organizations that serve them. The COVID pandemic has deeply affected the capacity, mental health needs for staff, and strategic plans of organizations that have been on the frontlines during the past 18 months.

“General operating support makes up a significant portion of our trust-based grantmaking and is key, especially in this moment, to ensure healthier communities in the long term,” said Maria S. Pesqueira, President of Healthy Communities Foundation. “We are pleased to partner with organizations committed to building a more equitable pandemic recovery for residents in our region through the lens of health equity and justice.”

Rolling Out Multi-Year Funding Support

The year 2021 marks the beginning of the Foundation’s new approach to general operating support, a cornerstone of its grantmaking strategy since its reconstitution in 2017. Its core funding will branch off in two strategic directions as part of the Foundation’s long-term response: multi-year funding partnerships and annual grants. The introduction of multi-year funding partnerships aligns with the Foundation’s strategic plan and recognizes community’s feedback about the need for deep investment beyond a crisis.

“Multi-year funding allows the Foundation to invest strategically in our communities and leverage additional funding to our region during this critical period,” said Nora Garcia, Director of Programs at Healthy Communities Foundation. “Our vision is that, through this type of funding, we can support, strengthen and seed crucial stakeholders necessary for long-term systemic change of institutions that impact community health outcomes.”

As part of the Foundation’s learning journey, Healthy Communities Foundation plans to maintain a strong connection to community health needs and initiatives through its annual grantee partners. The inaugural multi-year grantee partnerships will offer the Foundation and its partners opportunities for mutual learning and co-creation of strategies to reimagine health and an equitable pandemic recovery.

Healthy Communities Foundation Total 2021 Giving

The general operating support grant awards are a part of a $8,017,366 in total funding for 2021, including grants for urgent response and community projects, strategic initiatives and capacity building.


About Healthy Communities Foundation

Healthy Communities Foundation is a health conversion foundation that seeks to measurably improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities in its 27 zip-code service area located in the City of Chicago and western suburbs of Cook County, Illinois. Using health equity as an overarching principle and lens, the Foundation funds organizations that serve its legacy service area and zip codes with the greatest health inequities. Learn more about Healthy Communities Foundation by visiting www.hcfdn.org.

Media Contact

Jackie Rodriguez, Communications Officer, jrodriguez@hcfdn.org 

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