Round 4 COVID grants focus on arts, culture groups

Community Foundation grants 24 nonprofits total of $172,500

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By Community Editor

The Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation (OPRFCF) has announced its fourth round of Rapid Response and Recovery Fund grants, totaling $172,500 for 24 nonprofits in the western Cook County region. Eight of the grants will deliver much-needed funding to organizations providing basic human needs and services during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the remaining 16 are microgrants intended to help local arts, cultural and business organizations continue to operate until the pandemic has lifted.

"Although the release of a vaccine has given us a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, we are not in the clear yet, and help will continue to be needed," said Tony Martinez, Jr., president and CEO of the OPRFCF. "In addition to supporting organizations that are providing relief to at-risk populations, the foundation felt it was also important to aid the arts and cultural institutions so important to the richness of our community so they are still there when we are finally able to visit them again."

The following organizations were awarded grants in the latest round. Those marked with an asterisk are first-time Rapid Response and Recovery Fund grant recipients:

Bethel New Life

Chicago West Community Music Center

Echo Theater Collective

Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

Hephzibah Children's Association

Historical Society of OPRF

Hunger Walkathon West Crop Walk

IWS Children's Clinic

L'Arche Chicago

Lawrence Hall

Madison Street Theater

Maywood Fine Arts Association


Oak Park Art League

Oak Park Festival Theatre

Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce

Open Door Repertory Company

Pleasant Home Foundation

Providing Instruments for The Next Generation (PING!)

Pro Musica Youth Chorus

The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest


West Cook YMCA

The organizations receiving grants in the latest round are primarily based in Oak Park-River Forest but serve the greater western Cook County area. Twenty-one are receiving Rapid Response and Recovery Fund grants from the foundation for the first time.

The Rapid Response and Recovery Fund has received a total of $1.1 million in donations since it was launched in mid-March with a seed investment of $50,000 from the foundation. The foundation then matched dollar to dollar the first $100,000 in donations, and the fund received $250,000 from the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund. In May, longtime Oak Parkers Ken and Patty Hunt offered a challenge to match donations, dollar for dollar up to $250,000. Individual, family and corporate donors rose to this challenge, donating an additional $270,000 toward this vital effort — including $30,000 raised by the 700 Block of Bonnie Brae's LemonAid charity drive, which selected the fund as its beneficiary this year. To date, more than 600 gifts totaling over $604,000 have come from the community.

"We want to once again thank the Hunts for their generosity, as well as the hundreds of donors who have shown their support as the foundation responds to the local demands of this global health crisis," Martinez said. "As residents of Oak Park and River Forest make their end-of-year charitable decisions, we want to encourage them to consider donating to this vital effort."

To support the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation and its work on behalf of the community visit or call 708-848-1560.

Organizations interested in learning more about the Rapid Response and Recovery grants should contact program director Elizabeth Chadri at 

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Sarah Abboreno Corbin  

Posted: December 29th, 2020 4:35 PM

Such a great list of organizations that enrich our community! The Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation is such an incredible resource for all of us.

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