The University reaches out to help the surrounding neighborhoods.
In the largely African American communities neighboring the University, the COVID-19 pandemic is taking an especially high toll. The disease is disproportionately affecting urban minority populations, and so are the economic repercussions. On March 30 the University launched three initiatives to extend quick support at a time of distress in these neighborhoods.
To help ensure food security on the South Side, the University partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to prepare meals in its unused dining facilities, making an average of 3,000 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners per day for distribution at more than a dozen sites across the area through mid-June.
A second initiative is helping small businesses on the South Side, providing more than $800,000 in emergency bridge grants, as well as rent relief and operating grants to businesses that are University tenants. As of late April, 182 bridge grants had been given in collaboration with the Chicago Bears and Bears Care, the football team’s charitable arm, to help local businesses of all kinds with general operating expenses and direct support for affected employees. Eighteen tenant businesses had received rent relief and additional aid from the University.
Third, UChicago awarded $400,000 in grants to 79 community-based nonprofits to cover general operating costs or expenses associated with moving their programming online. The Office of Civic Engagement’s Community Programs Accelerator is also providing its nonprofit partners with online meetings, one-on-one consulting, and advice on local and federal resources from which they can seek additional help.
Read more about the Universityʼs response to the COVID-19 pandemic in “Together in Spirit.”