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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! 


On September 4, 2007, the Hope Haven Endowment Fund was created by donors Jim and Helen Merritt of DeKalb. This Designated Fund at the Community Foundation was created using a gift of stock and has received over $200,000 in additional gifts since. The Fund makes important, yearly distributions to Hope Haven homeless shelter in DeKalb. Hope Haven serves DeKalb County by providing shelter, meals, and life skills programs for homeless individuals and families while preparing them for re-housing. They also advocate for the rights of the homeless, for those at risk of becoming homeless, and work in collaboration with others to end homelessness in the county.

Since the Fund’s inception, Hope Haven has received a total of $72,000 in grants. The organization uses the annual grant dollars to support daily operations and fuel their programs and services. Services and programs include the Emergency Shelter program on Rushmoore Drive to provide for immediate shelter and food needs; the Rapid Re-Housing program to transition families and individuals to permanent housing; the Clinical Services program which offers therapy, psychiatry, support groups, and nursing care; the Homeless Prevention program that offers a variety of services to prevent homelessness; and the Youth Trauma program that provides group and experiential therapy to homeless youth.

“The value of the Hope Haven Endowment Fund is that it’s unrestricted, therefore, we can use the funds where and when we need it most. With the COVID-19 crisis, we were able to use the dollars for immediate needs without having to apply and wait for other COVID-19 related funding opportunities. This allowed us to purchase PPE and other supplies needed to increase the safety of our residents and staff.” ~ Lesly Wicks, Hope Haven Executive Director

Thank you to Jim and Helen Merritt and other donors who continue to make a lasting impact at Hope Haven through gifts to this Fund!

Donate to the Hope Haven Endowment Fund >

As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world, Hope Haven adjusted daily operations to establish a safe and healthy environment for the community they serve.

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