Hospitality Relief Fund

The Experience Champaign-Urbana Foundation Board of Directors and staff created the Hospitality Relief Fund in April 2020 to help address the needs of our hospitality industry during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between April 2020 and March 2021, the Hospitality Relief Fund provided monetary donations to employees in the hospitality industry who had been either displaced or faced significantly reduced hours. Employees were nominated by the business owners/managers and the overall amount of fund donations determined how many employees were able to be recognized through a lottery system. Thanks to the generosity of community organizations, businesses and individuals, the Hospitality Relief Fund raised over $33,000 and supported 136 hospitality heroes and 53 local businesses. These are our hospitality heroes.


General managers and owners in Champaign County area hospitality businesses can submit their nominations for employees here. Please submit employee nominations in February to be considered for the lottery system.

Hospitality Relief Fund HISTORY

In lieu of the expenses associated with the Experience Champaign-Urbana Foundation's annual Toast to Tourism celebration, the Experience Champaign-Urbana Foundation Board, in conjunction with the Experience Champaign-Urbana Board, created a Hospitality Relief Fund to provide direct financial support for individuals who have immediately formerly worked in the greater Champaign County area as housekeepers, caterers, cooks, front desk staff or anywhere in our hotel partner operations.

Over $12,000 was raised thanks to matching funds from the Champaign-Urbana Hotel Lodging Association (CUHLA) to provide financial assistance to 42 displaced employees at each of our current Hotel Partners. Nominations were received from the hotel general managers at each property. Funding was provided through private organizational or individual donations to the Experience Champaign-Urbana Foundation lead by efforts from the ECUF and ECU board members themselves.

As COVID-19 continues to impose a significant impact on the vitality of the hospitality industry, hotels worldwide, including in our community, have faced stark declines in occupancy with travel coming to a halt. Locally our hotels are closed or down to skeletal crews, with over 500 lost jobs as a result of lost business.

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