IL Cash Coalition Raises $750,000 for New #GiveTogetherNow Chicago Fund

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The fund will give direct cash payments to workers hurt by Covid-19

The IL Cash Coalition, with leaders from FII, Economic Security for Illinois and LIFT-Chicago (LIFT, Inc.), have raised over $750,000, with another $125,000 committed for the new #GiveTogetherNow Chicago fund.

The goal of the coalition is to raise $3 million in order to provide a one-time $500 cash transfer to four specific groups of people hit hardest by the pandemic: 1) hospitality workers 2) people age 60 and over with underlying conditions 3) caretakers of people 60 and over with underlying conditions and 4) people who – for fear of losing their jobs – continue to leave their homes every day to go to work.

Ebony Scott, Director of FII Chicago says, “We at Family Independence Initiative Chicago know the life changing impact that cash transfers have on families through our current projects. When it became clear that within days thousands of hard working people would find themselves in the throes of crisis due to a sudden loss of income, we knew we had to use our platform to get cash to people quickly and without layers of bureaucracy. We helped mobilize a coalition in Illinois and throughout the country to provide a solution we know works: cash with no strings attached or hoops to jump through. People need groceries now, not in a month.”

The fund has contributions from the Chicago Covid-19 Response Fund, the Chicago Federation of Labor, and Chicago Independent Restaurants. Those cash payments will be distributed through FII’s technology platform to Chicagoans who meet one of the above eligibility criteria after they receive a code to fill out a short application.

Some of the workers impacted the most are those who work in the hospitality industry, in hotels or at large scale events. The IL Cash Coalition is working closely with Community Based Organizations, and chefs across the city who want to make sure their workers are supported directly in the crisis.

Rick Bayless, award-winning and celebrity chef of the Frontera Group says, “The workers at my restaurants are my community and family. Chefs and restaurateurs joined together with FII to make sure that our workers have the support they need to get through. These workers are in a cash economy and need cash to navigate it.”

Bayless and the newly formed Chicago Independent Restaurants have joined in a call to action to support the restaurant industry and make special considerations for those who are left out of the federal relief funds, like undocumented workers, who are an important part of our economy.

“We are grateful for the support of Mayor Lightfoot and to have investments from foundations, organizations and individuals to make sure Chicago is leading to provide emergency cash for those who may be ineligible for any federal emergency funds,” said Harish I. Patel, IL Cash Coalition Leader and Director of Economic Security IL.

Sol Anderson, Executive Director of LIFT-Chicago says, “Most people do not have money saved for an emergency, and this fund provides a bridge to those struggling to navigate a pandemic without stockpiles of supplies. We are working closely with other community based organizations like us who know their neighbors and know what they need – cash, right away.”

The IL Cash Coalition is still raising money for the fund, and hope to launch a second round as the need will continue to grow.

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