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Please join us in welcoming Sara Nickels to the DeKalb County Community Foundation staff. Sara is the new administrative manager for the Community Foundation. Her primary roles include data entry, bookkeeping, and welcoming donors and visitors to the Foundation, both by phone and in person.
“I’m excited to return to northern Illinois after living overseas for so long,” said Sara. “My husband Phil and I own and operate a family farm based in DeKalb County. We live in Pierce Township, have four adult children, a son-in-law, and one granddaughter.”
Before coming to the Community Foundation, Sara spent twelve years working in Tanzania, East Africa, for a faith-based NGO. She enjoyed mentoring students and partnering with Tanzanian co-workers in programs to improve the standard of living through education, orphan care, and spiritual formation. When she returned to the United States in February 2022, Sara enrolled at Judson University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in human services.
While in Tanzania, she grew to love camping as a member of the Kilimanjaro Mountain Club. An avid birder, Sara set a goal of identifying 300 East African species before her time in Tanzania came to a close. She met that goal with just a few days to spare. Now she’s turned her attention to North American birds and can be found most weekends at DeKalb County parks and forest preserves with binoculars in hand. So far, her favorite local bird sighting was a palm warbler at Afton Forest Preserve.
“After years of working overseas as a volunteer, I’m thrilled to return to DeKalb County,” she said. “I look forward to supporting the mission of the Community Foundation in my role and getting to know the nonprofits who are making a difference in our community.”
Pictured above: Sara Nickels and her family in Africa.
Serving the community since 1993, the DeKalb County Community Foundation is a nonprofit foundation that enhances the quality of life in DeKalb County, IL, through endowments & donor services, stewardship, grantmaking, and community initiatives. The Community Foundation awards grants in the areas of arts & culture, community development, environment & animal welfare, education, health & human services, and nonprofit capacity building. Today, the Foundation manages over 417 Funds that, collectively, provide over $4.1 million in annual support for needs today and in the future.