COVID-19 Emerging Needs Fund

“People may be feeling at a loss as to how to help their community. One hundred percent of every dollar donated will support local families during this critical time. By donating to United Way’s COVID-19 Emerging Needs Fund, you can rest assured that your dollars will help meet local needs quickly and efficiently.”
—Paul Logli, President & CEO, United Way of Rock River Valley

About COVID-19 Emerging Needs Fund

United Way of Rock River Valley has established a COVID-19 Emerging Needs Fund for the entire Rock River Valley. The purpose of the fund is to support human service organizations as they respond programmatically to the needs of individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences.

Funds will be distributed through local social service agencies that have expertise in serving individuals and families and provide support for needs such as rent and utility assistance, as well as child care and food. The 815 Community Response Team Grant Making Committee will guide the distribution of funds, and will take into account immediate and future needs. Social service agencies receiving the funds must be 501(c)(3) and expenditures will be reviewed and monitored.


An anonymous donor helped establish the fund with an initial $10,000 gift. The Kjellstrom Family Foundation then pledged $125,000 to the fund, and will match each dollar donated by the public up to $125,000. As a part of Meijer's $4 million donation to different funds dealing with COVID-19 across the Midwest, they have contributed $26,000 to the Emerging Needs Fund.

If you're interested in donating, you can do so in the following ways:

  • Text the word TOGETHER to 40403
  • Make an online donation by clicking here
  • Mail a check made payable to United Way of Rock River Valley
    612 North Main Street, Suite 300, Rockford, IL 61103
    Indicate United Way COVID-19 Emerging Needs Fund in the memo line of the check.

Grant allocations

Organizations that have recieved funds through the Emerging Needs Fund:

The deadline to apply for the third round of our Emerging Needs Fund was Wednesday, June 3. The application process is currently closed. We are happy to announce that there will be a fourth round of grant allocations. The application process will open in July. Check back here for updates.

This is a competitive grant application. Applications are reviewed and funds allocated by the last day of each month. Allocations will be made based on the 815 Community Response Team Grant Making Committee's recommendations. The committee is made up of representatives from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, the Kjellstrom Foundation, the Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence, and United Way of Rock River Valley and is part of the larger 815 Community Response Team, which also includes Transform Rockford and the Workforce Connection.

Priorities for fund are, but not limited to:

  • Emergency supports
    • Housing
    • Utility assistance
    • Medical assistance
  • Basic necessities
    • Childcare
    • Food
    • Transportation
  • Resources for human service organizations as they respond to their clients' needs

To see if your organization is eligible for grant allocations through the COVID-19 Emerging Needs Fund, click here.

Child care and other local services

There are local agencies offering child care support and services during the COVID-19 crisis. They are listed below.

  • YMCA — Call 815-489-1252
  • Mother House Crisis Nursery — Call 815-962-4858
  • YSN — Call 815-986-1947
  • St. Elizabeth's — Call 815-969-6526
  • Trinity Day Care — Call 815-986-5437
  • Circles of Learning Day Care — Call 815-226-8715

Food resources

Northern Illinois Food Bank is offering support, including a list of the food pantries and programs nearest you. Go to for more.

I need additional help. Who do I contact?

If you're in need of assistance due to hardships presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, you can call 211 any time of day to be put in touch with local resources and assistance. For more on the COVID-19 Emerging Needs Fund, call our office at 815-968-5400.