Nonprofits get a boost from grant program in DuPage County

A new partnership between Du­Page County and a Downers Grove-based foundation is already making a difference in the lives of residents across the county.

After DuPage received an infusion of COVID-19 relief money, county board members in January set aside $10.6 million of those federal dollars to create a grant program administered by the DuPage Foundation.

The plan is to award grants to local not-for-profit groups working to address mental health challenges, food insecurity, housing instability and substance use disorders in DuPage.

In June, the DuPage Community Transformation Partnership awarded more than $1 million in grants to 16 social service organizations providing immediate relief to DuPage residents in need.

Another round of grants happened on Oct. 11. This time, more than $3.8 million in grants went to 17 community service organizations, including the Tri-Town YMCA in Villa Park.

Tri-Town YMCA CEO Sarah O'Donnell says the $335,000 the group received will make it possible to open nearly 5,000 appointment slots for after-school mental health counseling services. The organization also will enlist more than a half dozen project partners to “meet the pressing mental health needs among youth and families.”

Another grant recipient is Northeast DuPage Family and Youth Services. The group received $500,000 to help open a new community counseling center in Bloomingdale.

World Relief Chicagoland plans to use its $270,000 grant to increase its capacity to provide affordable, culturally competent and linguistically accessible mental health services for refugees and immigrant families.

Bridge Communities will use the $200,400 it received on a new short-term program that quickly stabilizes families facing homelessness.

Other programs benefiting from the funding will provide overdose prevention training, counseling for seniors in group homes and access to nutritious food.

All the groups that received grants offer initiatives DuPage County needs coming out of the pandemic.

“This support could not have come at a more crucial time as our agencies are experiencing an exponential increase of calls for help from DuPage neighbors,” O'Donnell said.

DuPage has until the end of 2026 to spend the American Rescue Plan money. Eventually, a total of $10 million will go to various nonprofits. The remaining $600,000 will pay for the costs of administering the program.

DuPage leaders understood that county government alone could not address all of the economic and mental health challenges created by the pandemic. By working with the DuPage Foundation, county officials are ensuring the federal dollars go to the right not-for-profit groups and help those who need it the most.

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