Caterpillar-shortened.svg-1.pngEarlier this year, the Caterpillar Foundation announced it would match up to $2.5 million in employee donations to COVID-19 response efforts—employees maxed out those funds in just one week, raising a total of $3.9 million. Almost $2 million will go to not-for-profit agencies in Central Illinois.

“They were definitely ready for the challenge and rose to the challenge,” said Kylene Anthony, engagement manager at Caterpillar Foundation.

Nearly 600 Caterpillar employees and retirees donated to the foundation’s efforts. The funds will go to 524 not-for-profit agencies across 43 states, including more than 100 in Central Illinois.

For the Midwest Food Bank, the donations helped staff adapt to increased demand for their services.

“It came at a time that as much as it was financially encouraging, it was emotionally encouraging,” said Jada Hoerr, development and relations director at Midwest Food Bank.

As unemployment continues to rise in the region, organizations like Midwest Food Bank have seen demand rise by as much as 50%.

“We have already spent twice as much in food purchases this year as we did all last year,” Hoerr said.

Typically, the Caterpillar Foundation invites employees to make and register donations, then provides matching funds the following year. But seeing an especially urgent need during the COVID-19 pandemic, they plan to distribute these funds by the end of the year.

“Given the situation that we’re in, we definitely wanted to get the money to the non-profits sooner,” Anthony said.

Caterpillar Foundation is also providing an additional $100,000 — beyond the match to employee donations — to community foundations for local assistance, including money to the Central Illinois Community Foundation.