Rising to the Challenge: COVID-19 Pandemic Relief
As the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in the spring of 2020, our members acted quickly to maintain your business operations and support your customers across Illinois and Wisconsin. You navigated the uncommon uncertainty by looking beyond
yourselves and recognizing strength lies within the communities you serve.
But our members and your communities were not alone in the fight. The profound impact of the pandemic caused strain not only on communities and businesses but also on financial markets. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago (FHLBank Chicago) adapted alongside
our members to adjust the way we work by doing so virtually and without interruption to continue to deliver our products and services you rely on. However, we knew more assistance was necessary in order to support our members and your communities
during this challenging time.
On April 27, 2020, we launched our COVID-19 Relief Program, a one of a kind program providing all of our members with access to two special offerings—the COVID-19 Relief Advance, a zero-rate advance to meet your immediate liquidity needs, and the
COVID-19 Relief Grant, a grant up to $20,000 to assist small businesses and nonprofits affected by the pandemic in your communities.
“Our customers loved the program and were so appreciative of those funds at a time when they were shut down and needed them most so they and their employees could survive. The funds provided needed payroll funding to support the employees and
the local community. It’s all a waterfall effect. Employees continue to get paid, continue purchasing from local stores, and continue using local services. The COVID-19 Relief Program not only helped our clients, it helped the community
Kevin Day, President and CEO, State Bank, Waterloo, Illinois
While our COVID-19 Relief Advance helped members with the shifting market and balance sheets, members used our COVID-19 Relief Grant to meet the needs of more than 5,000 beneficiaries across Illinois and Wisconsin including food pantries, social service
organizations, local shops and restaurants, first responders, and many more. An astounding 98% of members took advantage of at least one of these offerings, which totaled more than $2 billion in advances and $13.1 million in grants in just four weeks.
“We worked with the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness, a nonprofit that focuses on black families and the women that lead them. The pandemic disproportionately impacted these women, and the funding provided relief and stability to
over 200 families during a time of critical need.”
Jaimes Johnson, Director of Community Partnerships, University of Wisconsin Credit Union, Madison, Wisconsin
As the pandemic carried on, we too recognized the disproportionate impact the pandemic was having on the most vulnerable members of our communities and the importance of having conversations about how its effects differed across demographics in Illinois
Our Office of Diversity and Inclusion and African American Employee Resource Group (ERG) launched an internal educational series titled “COVID-19 in Communities.” The series of articles explored the impact COVID-19 presented in different populations,
including rural and urban neighborhoods, people of different generations, historically disenfranchised communities, and more. These articles were followed by engaging discussions by FHLBank staff and a signature event featuring guest speakers with
experience working with these populations. The speakers included Maggie Rzechula, Vice President, City National Bank of Metropolis, Metropolis, Illinois; Steve Vogt, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, City National Bank of Metropolis,
Metropolis, Illinois; Maria Kim, President and CEO, Cara, Chicago, Illinois; Grace Chan McKibben, Executive Director, The Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, Chicago, Illinois; and Terry Peterson, Vice President, Corporate and External
Affairs, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois.
“The ongoing conversations at our Bank and with our members and community partners guide our work and enable us to direct support where it is most needed. We are humbled by our members’ community relief efforts and thank them for the opportunity
to partner with them in this important work.”
Katie Naftzger, Vice President, Community Investment Officer, FHLBank Chicago
View our COVID-19 Relief Program video to hear the stories of how beneficiaries across Illinois and Wisconsin benefited from your work and generosity.