Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the partners of the 815 Community Response Team (815CRT)?

815CRT was convened by the Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence (NICNE) and includes United Way of Rock River Valley, Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, Kjellstrom Family Foundation, NICNE, Transform Rockford, and The Workforce Connection. Additional partners assiting with adminstration and communication include: City of Rockford Human Services Department, Community Action Coalition.

Who are the funding partners of 815CRT?

The following organizations have committed funding: Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, Kjellstrom Family Foundation, Meijer, United Way of Rock River Valley, and a growing number of individuals.

How will the funds be used?

It’s critical to ensure the funds get to those most in need as quickly as possible. The 815CCRT has been listening to and working closely with community organizations across the region to prioritize needs and areas of focus.

To date, from what we have learned from agencies working on the ground to serve people in need, the critical needs are in the areas of:

  • Childcare for healthcare workers and first responders
  • Food access for those struggling to make ends meet
  • Homeless and shelter care that allows for safe health practices
  • Strengthening access to resources for seniors and immigrants
  • Disaster planning and infrastructure support to connect people to services
  • Multi-service centers that provide basic needs and can be prepared to serve the longer-term economic effects of the pandemic on neighborhoods.

Who are the recipients? How will they be chosen?

There are multiple local funding streams in play, each with distinct purposes and criteria. LEVEL I (for individuals/families) -- Immediate and basic needs for individuals -- Natural Disaster Assistance and Family Crisis Funds, via CFNIL: Nonprofit agencies that provide direct service to individuals and families residing in Winnebago County apply on behalf of their constituents through the CIty of Rockford Human Services Department. City of Rockford Human Services staff will review and approve applications on a case-by-case basis and distribute funds until they are expended. Items that will be considered for funding include but are not limited to: disaster-caused housing expenses, child care, medical and dental expenses, food, clothing, damage to an essential vehicle, home repair, clean-up items, and temporary housing assistance. View guidelines and find contact info to apply. LEVEL I (for nonprofits) -- Emerging Needs Fund, via UWRRV: Nonprofit agencies that provide direct service to individuals and families residing in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, or Winnebago County apply on behalf of their agency through United Way. The 815CRT Grants Committee will review and approve requests and distribute funds as they are avaialble. Priorities for funding are, but are not limited to: Emergency Supports (housing, utility or medical assistance), Basic Necessities (childcare, food, transportation), Resources for Human Services Organizations as they respond to their clients' needs. LEVEL II -- Recovery, Restoration, and Sustainability Fund: Nonprofit agency funds to assist with organizational and sustainability needs being adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. A simple funding strategy is being designed to address operational needs of nonprofits experiencing budgetary losses due to disruptions in services, absences in staff and volunteers, budgetary implications, etc. These funds will be distributed when health professionals determine it is safe for employees to return to work. This fund will challenge Family, Community and Corporate Foundation to pool their resources in support of nonprofits facing serious operational issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are the funds being used for normal agency operation or are they supporting specific COVID-19 efforts?

Funds are not specifically designated for COVID-19 response, as families, individuals, and nonprofits may face crises unrelated to COVID-19 or which may be only indirectly related to COVID-19. However, we anticipate the bulk of the requests will be directly/indirectly related to the impact of the pandemic on our community.

How can nonprofit organizations be considered for funds?

For the Natural Disaster Assistance and Family Crisis Funds, nonprofits must apply through the City of Rockford Human Services Department. Find guidelines and contact info here: For the Emerging Needs Fund, nonprofits may access the application and more details at: Nonprofits in Stephenson County may also apply for the United Way of Northwest Illinois Community COVID-19 Response Fund: View additional funding resources at

Where do donations to the fund(s) go?

Donations to the Emerging Needs Fund are processed by the United Way of Rock River Valley, and 100% of the donations will support local organizations serving local families and individuals.

Where should an individual or family who needs economic support go?

Individuals and families who are already working with human services organizations in our community should continue to work through those organizations to receive services. If you do not have an existing contact with a human service organization, please call 2-1-1 to get connected to the appropriate agency for your need and in your geographic area.

How will we know how much money has been raised and for what is it being used?

United Way of Rock River Valley and all of the 815CRT partners are committed to financial and grantmaking transparency. By working together and providing a coordinated community response, the ability to report on outcomes is greatly improved. While the criteria for the Emerging Needs Fund are intentionally broad to encompass both realized and unanticipated impacts of COVID-19, 100% of the donations will support organizations in northern Illinois serving the people of northern Illinois. Regular updates will be provided to report both funds raised and grant dollars expended, both on this website and via each partner.

Are donations to the Emerging Needs Fund tax deductible?

Yes. The United Way of Rock River Valley is a registered 501(C)3 nonprofit organization and every contribution is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

I want to donate - can I restrict my funding to a prioritized grantee?

To ensure we move resources as efficiently as possible and respond to those most impacted, we are not considering restricted donations at this time. The collaborative Emerging Needs Fund was created to provide a coordinated response to immediate needs in the northern Illinois community.

Have another question? Contact Us!


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Supporting Boone, Ogle, Stephenson & Winnebago Counties - Illinois