Sara Nickels - Foundation Staff

Meet Sara Nickels, grants and scholarships manager for the DeKalb County Community Foundation. Sara joined the Community Foundation staff in 2022. She was the administrative manager for a year before transitioning to her role in grants and scholarships. Before joining the Foundation in 2022, she worked for 12 years with a faith-based NGO in Tanzania, East Africa. During that time, her responsibilities covered various activities, from teaching to mentoring to product development. More than anything else, she loved learning alongside her Tanzanian colleagues.

ROLE AT THE FOUNDATION: (Grants & Scholarships Manager)

Sara performs a layer of due diligence, oversees grant programs, scholarship processes, and manages specific Fund distributions in her role. She works on the Foundation's Universal Scholarship Application and communicates recipient information and impact to donors.

"The Foundation's mission of enhancing the quality of life in DeKalb County by addressing community needs and expanding, managing, and distributing philanthropic resources is inspiring to me. Our donors, Board members, and grantee partners are from all over the county, bringing diverse viewpoints, experiences, and skills to the task of fulfilling this mission. At a time when many are concerned about increasing polarization, this commitment to working together gives me hope for the future of our communities."

For questions or more information about grants and scholarships, please get in touch with Sara at 815-748-5383 or

Sara has achieved the following educational degree: a bachelor's in human services from Judson University.
Sara and her husband are empty nesters, living south of Maple Park near the center of their farm operation. After years of living on another continent, she loves spending time with her large, close-knit extended family. Some of her favorite leisure activities are taking walks, campfires at the pond, and adding to her birding list.