Schaumburg program helps residents assist neighbors in need
A slightly adapted legacy of Motorola Solutions' longtime presence in Schaumburg is providing a conduit for residents, businesses and civic organizations in the village to directly assist their neighbors in need during the COVID-19 outbreak and the slow recovery period expected to follow.
The Community Assistance Fund is run by the village's social workers who operate out of the police department, and was originally intended to help residents -- including the homeless -- who were either victims of crimes or members of Schaumburg's more vulnerable population.
But the devastating and quickly spreading economic impacts of the outbreak are broadening the definition of that latter category, Schaumburg's Supervisor of Human Services Kristin Jordan said.
"We really foresee and anticipate that this pandemic will have longtime financial impacts," she said. "The unemployment numbers are staggering. They're really hard to take in."
Jordan is in a position to see both the needs of the community she serves and the willingness of others to assist.
In only a week since appeals for new contributions began, 25 individual donations have raised a total of $4,250. They have ranged from $10 to $1,000.
"I have to say the community response has been very heartwarming," Jordan said.
Among those have been $750 from Country Financial in Schaumburg and $500 from the Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates Lions Club.
Zach Youngblood, a financial representative for Country Financial, said he originally reached out to the police department with the aim of donating a lunch or dinner for officers to express gratitude for their service during the outbreak. But after learning about the Community Assistance Fund through a conversation with Jordan, he concluded that it would be a more appreciated destination for the money.
"For me, it was because I knew it would affect the citizens of our community directly," Youngblood said. "I always want things like this to have as wide an impact as possible."
Mike Rapp, president of the Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates Lions Club, said he and his fellow members first learned of the program in early March when representatives of the village visited their meeting.
And so, club members remembered exactly what it was about when last week's appeal for donations went out.
Rapp said that the thing that really caught members' attention was the fact that 100% of each contribution goes directly to the needs of local residents.
"That's really huge for our Lions Club," he said.
The program began in the early 21st century as an emergency assistance fund provided to the village by Motorola. Though that direct corporate assistance ended in 2016 when Motorola moved its headquarters to Chicago, Jordan remains grateful for the precedent it set.
"Motorola was extraordinarily generous to us," she said. "As a result of that, we still have that fund."
Because it is run by the village, the fund does not qualify as a nonprofit and the potential of providing a tax write-off doesn't exist, Jordan said.
Without the benefit of a major corporate partner like Schaumburg had, Palatine residents late last month formed a volunteer group called "Helping Neighbors Around Palatine" to assist fellow members of the community with nonemergency daily challenges.
Volunteers or Palatine residents in need can call HNAP at (224) 801-4265 or email PalatineNeighbor@gmail.com. Or they can visit the HNAP Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/HelpingNeighborsAroundPalatine/ to apply for help, volunteer or reach HNAP's GoFundMe page.
For more information on or to donate to Schaumburg's Community Assistance Fund, call (847) 348-7396 or visit its page on the village's website.