Chicago Community Trust Raises $20 Million for COVID-19 Efforts


A Chicago community foundation is raising millions for dozens of local nonprofits on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Helene Gayle, president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, told “Chicago Tonight” on Monday the foundation has raised more than $20 million, in collaboration with the city of Chicago and United Way of Metro Chicago, for the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund.

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“We’re trying to get resources out to the orgs that are meeting the needs of the most hard-hit communities here in Chicago and the Chicago region,” Gayle said. 

The money was raised through philanthropy from foundations, corporations and individuals, Gayle said, and about $8 million has already made its way to organizations dispatching emergency aid as well as community support.

“We’ve been able to get dollars out to large organizations like food banks and the Red Cross, who can meet emergency needs very rapidly,” Gayle said. “But we’ve also made sure we get dollars out to community-based organizations that can serve as anchors or hubs in communities that are hardest hit.”

As a former infectious disease specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gayle is echoing recommendations that Chicagoans stay home and limit interaction with other people if possible.

If one does go out in public, Gayle advises staying at least 6 feet away from other people. She said wearing a face mask, whether makeshift or manufactured, doesn’t hurt – although how effective they are depends on one’s situation.

“The non-professional face masks keep you from potentially spreading if you’re in contact with someone else,” Gayle said. “It doesn’t do a lot – because of the size of the droplets – to protect you, though.”

Gayle also said the masks can also have a beneficial psychological effect on oneself and others.

“It’s also a reminder, I think, as people see people with a masks approaching, it’s just one more reminder to social distance,” she said.


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