Governor tabs Obama aide _ his sister_ for COVID-19 relief

March 26, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2016, file photo, then, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker listens during an economic meeting in Mexico City. Pritzker's brother, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, announced Thursday, March 26, 2020 that his sister will head up the COVID-19 Response Fund to raise funds for nonprofit organizations hurting because of the virus. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2016, file photo, then, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker listens during an economic meeting in Mexico City. Pritzker's brother, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, announced Thursday, March 26, 2020 that his sister will head up the COVID-19 Response Fund to raise funds for nonprofit organizations hurting because of the virus. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2016, file photo, then, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker listens during an economic meeting in Mexico City. Pritzker's brother, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, announced Thursday, March 26, 2020 that his sister will head up the COVID-19 Response Fund to raise funds for nonprofit organizations hurting because of the virus. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
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FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2016, file photo, then, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker listens during an economic meeting in Mexico City. Pritzker's brother, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, announced Thursday, March 26, 2020 that his sister will head up the COVID-19 Response Fund to raise funds for nonprofit organizations hurting because of the virus. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
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FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2016, file photo, then, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker listens during an economic meeting in Mexico City. Pritzker's brother, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, announced Thursday, March 26, 2020 that his sister will head up the COVID-19 Response Fund to raise funds for nonprofit organizations hurting because of the virus. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has turned to a former member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet — his sister — to raise money for those hurt by the coronavirus outbreak.

Penny Pritzker is leading the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to assist nonprofit agencies battered by the pandemic, the Democratic governor said Wednesday in Chicago.

Commerce secretary under Obama, Penny Pritzker took charge last week. She praised a bevy of cooperating businesses and organizations for $23 million already collected.

“This is something that takes a year to set up, but we’re in a crisis,” Penny Pritzker told The Associated Press by phone. “What’s amazing is how Illinois has come together and the generosity that has been shown” despite donors’ own financial backslides.

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United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations are partners. Money will go to providers of emergency food, interim housing, financial assistance, health care and more.

A billionaire like the governor, Penny Pritzker hasn’t had a chance to speak to Obama, but said it took no cajoling to get her brother to participate. J.B. Pritzker and his wife, M.K., have donated $4 million personally and through their family foundation.