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Serving DeKalb County, IL Since 1993

Together, with the support of our donors, the DeKalb County Community Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in DeKalb County, IL. Grants from the Community Foundation come from a variety of grant programs. Each program is unique in how to apply, who it supports, and the impact it creates. So how do these grants impact the community in which we live? Learn more in this grant in action story below! 

In September 2019, RAMP (DeKalb) applied for a Community Needs Grant from the Community Foundation to support a work immersion program for at-risk teenagers with developmental disabilities. The request received a $10,000 grant.

With funding in place, RAMP followed The Project SEARCH model to coordinate an active collaboration between a sponsoring employer, a school system, a community rehabilitation provider (RAMP), and the State’s vocational rehabilitation agency. Eleven high school students from DeKalb County high schools were selected to participate in the program. Students learned employment and independent living skills and spent time working on memory, teamwork, job interests, and interpersonal skills. This 2019-2020 class of students had representation from DeKalb, Hinckley-Big Rock, Genoa-Kingston, Sycamore, Indian Creek, and Hiawatha high schools.

From August 2019 – March 2020, everything ran as planned until the pandemic hit. RAMP adjusted to virtual learning from there to complete the program. Student interns became creative and found jobs around their houses as a way to meet the internship commitment. Come May, all 11 students completed the program and graduated from high school. Today, 11 of the 11 students have jobs and are thriving in their workplace.

“Project SEARCH has made a huge impact with Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital as the host business and employers in the community employing the students.” ~ Macy Kellenberger, RAMP Project SEARCH Coordinator

Funding for the Community Needs Grant program is made possible through ongoing donor generosity to COMMUNITY IMPACT FUNDS at the Community Foundation. 

Thank you to the donors whose gifts make grants like these possible!

Donate to the DeKalb County Community Endowment Fund >

Through Project SEARCH, student interns initially worked in a variety of departments at Kishwaukee Hospital before taking positions with other local employers.

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