Remember the 90’s? Remember the creative and culture shaping ideas that came into being? Things like Starbucks, grunge music, the World Wide Web, personal computers, email, and pagers. A time where stars like Michael Jordan, the Dallas Cowboys, Garth Brooks, and movies like Titanic, Jurassic Park, and The Lion King rose to the top. This was a period of innovation. A time to start something new and culture changing. A time of change and development for many communities.
– The Fund –
One such idea came in the way of social improvement to DeKalb County in the 90’s. The idea was to start a local Community Foundation benefiting community organizations and the nonprofit sector. In 1993, local philanthropists Charlie and Mary Roberts sparked this idea and made a lead gift of $3.6 million, creating the very first fund of the DeKalb County Community Foundation. This fund, known today as the DeKalb County Community Endowment Fund, set out to provide community impact and opportunities for DeKalb County.
By definition, the DeKalb County Community Endowment Fund is an undesignated fund type. Undesignated funds allow the Community Foundation Board of Directors to respond to needs and opportunities in communities throughout DeKalb County. Through grantmaking, this type of fund allows flexibility to give where the need is most. Grant programs include Community Needs Grants, Emergency Grants, incentive pool dollars for Give DeKalb County, and new in 2016, Economic Development Grants.
– The Growth –
What started as a $3.6 million gift in 1993 is now valued at about $6.2 million! Growth for this fund continues through donor generosity and the power of endowment. This increase in available dollars provides additional opportunity and support for the future, two essential ingredients for a thriving community.
With opportunity and support in mind, it is important to focus on community impact. In its twenty-four years of existence, the DeKalb County Community Endowment Fund has granted over $7.5 million to 413 community-serving organizations in DeKalb County, some many times over. The very first grants (1993) from this fund totaled $150,000, benefiting 32 organizations. Today this fund provides approximately $250,000 in annual grant support, benefitting local organizations both large and small.
– The Impact –
The list of projects and programs impacted by this single fund are plentiful. Larger projects supported through grants include the new Kishwaukee Community Hospital building in DeKalb, the Valley West Hospital expansion in Sandwich, and more recently the expansion of Opportunity House in Sycamore. Smaller, yet equally important projects include funding for local food pantries to purchase healthier food choices and support for lifesaving equipment upgrades in volunteer fire departments throughout DeKalb County.
Remember the 90’s? We do, and we will never forget!
– Giving Where It’s Needed Most –
If “giving where it’s needed most” inspires you, consider making a gift to the DeKalb County Community Endowment Fund or start a community impact fund of your own. For questions or more information, please contact Executive Director Dan Templin at 815-748-5383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helping today…Shaping tomorrow.