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815CRT partners are promoting three local funding streams through which eligible nonprofit organizations may apply:

LEVEL I (for individuals/families) -- Natural Disaster Assistance & Family Crisis Funds: Emergency assistance for individuals and families residing in Winnebago County. Service Providers complete applications on behalf of the individual/family and submit to the City of Rockford Human Services Department. View Natural Disaster Assistance Fund Guidelines. View Family Crisis Fund GuidelinesPlease contact Chris Greenwood to learn more and request applications:
Chris Greenwood, Community Programs Manager, City of Rockford | 779-348-7569 |


LEVEL I (for nonprofits) -- Emerging Needs Fund: Supports the needs of the people of northern Illinois to alleviate hardships they may be experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will be distributed to local social service agencies. The first round of grants awarded $250,000 to 33 nonprofits - Learn More. The second round of grants awarded nearly $250,000 to 31 nonprofits - Learn More. Round three distributed $250,000 to nonprofits serving Winnebago County - Learn More

The next distribution from the Emerging Needs Fund was awarded to charitable organizations for programs that give cash assistance directly to individuals affected by loss of employment, underemployment, or economic hardship caused by COVID-19. Capacity of the organization and established service delivery process were carefully scrutinized in the review process. Download the RFP. 

The final distribution from the Emerging Needs Fund will provide immediate operational relief to arts and culture organizations to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This round of funding, 815CRT-ART, is presented in collaboration with the Rockford Area Arts Council.  This is a competitive grant application and resources are limited; just over $70,000 is available with a goal to provide substantive funding to each recipient; the maximum award per organization is $10,000. The application opens March 18, 2021, and closes April 9, 2021. Awards will be announced/released by May 7, 2021. Download the complete application packet. 

Allocations from the Emerging Needs Fund 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 Family Foundation, the Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence, and United Way of Rock River Valley; the final round review (815CRT-ART) also includes representation from the Rockford Area Arts Council.

LEVEL II -- 81Thrive: Rebuild, Redesign, Sustain: To provide a partnership with nonprofit organizations impacted by COVID-19, supporting their mission work and helping them build capacity to operate with strength and sustainability. This initiative is branded 81Thrive -- learn more below.

Introducing 81Thrive -- To provide a partnership with nonprofit organizations impacted by COVID-19, supporting their mission work and helping them build capacity to operate with strength and sustainability. ​

81Thrive seeks to harness the collective generosity of Rockford to help our nonprofits to REBUILD organizations and systems impacted by the worst economic storm of our lifetime in a way that builds capacity and sustainability, REDESIGN and adapt to new realities while infusing financial resources to meet operational needs, and SUSTAIN. Nonprofits are critical to the health of our community, we need them to thrive now and into the future.


Each nonprofit selected to participate in the 81Thrive Initiative will be awarded one of the following: A discretionary financial award for the organization not to exceed $50,000 along with capacity building services up to $25,000 to assess, rebuild, redesign and sustain operations, OR a discretionary financial award toward the development of a collaborative not to exceed $50,000 along with professional facilitation to support a collaboration or system improvement. The deadline to apply (download application below) is July 13, 2020. 


To be eligible, organizations must be a 501(c)(3) in Winnebago, Stephenson, Ogle, and Boone counties, with a priority given to Winnebago County-based organizations. The 815CRT professional grantmaking team will oversee the application process and NICNE’s nonprofit industry experts will guide the capacity building component.

Download a Word version of the 81Thrive application      OR      use the online, Google Forms version of the application

Direct any questions or concerns to Pam Clark Reidenbach at NICNE at 815-494-6815.


Video Source: 

After many months of inaction, the House, Senate, and President finally came together to enact important COVID relief for individuals, nonprofits, businesses, and governments. Some of the provisions will expire in just a few weeks, and others will last only a few months. This webinar presentation provided information to help nonprofits and identified what nonprofits need to do to take advantage of them. This Nonprofit Town Hall briefing hosted by the National Council of Nonprofits took place on Wednesday, January 13 at 3:00 pm Eastern.



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We are compiling a list of many types of resources that may be of use to nonprofits, including communication tools, technology solutions, and more. The list continues to grow as more resources become available.​

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