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Serving DeKalb County, IL Since 1993

Featured Funds

Lil’ Sam Joy Fund

DeKalb County Community Foundation, Lil’ Sam Joy Fund

Samuel P. Baker II (Lil’ Sam)

Introducing the Lil’ Sam Joy Fund, created in memory of Samuel P. Baker II, better known as Lil’ Sam. Lil’ Sam was diagnosed early in life with Down syndrome. During his 15 years of life, Lil’ Sam was blessed and fortunate to experience many things, including access to the resources necessary for daily living. His family established this Fund at the DeKalb County Community Foundation in order to continue this legacy of kindness, access, acceptance, and teaching.

Samuel and Karen Baker are long-time residents of DeKalb and proud alumni of Northern Illinois University. After graduation, they chose to remain in DeKalb to stay close to immediate family, church, educational offerings, and because of the close knit community they grew to love and appreciate. The Bakers have three children; Lauren, Sinclaire, and Samuel.

Lil’ Sam passed away unexpectedly in May of 2016. With a desire to keep his memory alive, the Bakers created the Lil’ Sam Joy Fund to inspire and help others with special needs.

Learn more about the Lil’ Sam Joy Fund

DCNP Endowment Fund

Stronger Together campaign logo, DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership, DeKalb County Community Foundation

Introducing the DCNP Endowment Fund, a new field of interest fund at the DeKalb County Community Foundation. This purpose of this fund is to provide administrative/operating and/or programmatic support to programs and/or organizations that increase the capacity/effectiveness/efficiency of nonprofit organizations serving DeKalb County, IL.

The Community Foundation is embarking on a time-sensitive campaign to grow an endowment to sustain the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership (DCNP) for the future. The Stronger Together campaign’s goal is to grow the DCNP Endowment Fund to a total of $2 million. The Fund is currently valued at approximately $1.4 million. The Community Foundation has committed $1 million as a sign of its dedication, along with additional contributions from donors excited to provide core support to DCNP. We are close to our goal of endowing this important program with only $600,000 left to go! The Douglas C. and Lynn M. Roberts Family Foundation has generously offered a dollar for dollar match up to $300,000 for donations and pledges made through December 31, 2018.

Learn more about the Stronger Together campaign and DCNP Endowment Fund

Luan and Greg Olson Scholarship Fund

Luan and Greg Olson Scholarship Fund, DeKalb County Community Foundation

Local philanthropists Greg and Luan Olson

Announcing the Luan and Greg Olson Scholarship Fund, a new scholarship at the DeKalb County Community Foundation. The scholarship will provide an annual award to a graduate of Sycamore High School in Sycamore, IL. The Olsons were scholarship recipients when they attended college and thus wanted to create a fund that would “pay forward” the generosity they experienced.

Hailing from Bushnell, IL, Luan and Greg are both graduates of universities in Illinois. Luan attended Illinois State University and the University of Illinois, but ultimately graduated with a liberal arts degree from Northern Illinois University. Greg earned his B.S. in agriculture from the University of Illinois and later was awarded an MBA from Northwestern University. Luan spent the bulk of her career as a deputy clerk for the DeKalb County Circuit Clerk. Greg’s entire career was with Monsanto’s DeKalb division. There he served in various sales, marketing, human resources, and administrative positions. The Olsons have three children, all of whom graduated from Sycamore High School and the University of Illinois.

Learn more about the Luan and Greg Olson Scholarship Fund

M. Joan Popp Women’s Empowerment Fund for DAWC

M. Joan Popp, DeKalb Area Women's Center, DeKalb County Community Foundation

M. Joan Popp

Introducing the M. Joan Popp Women’s Empowerment Fund for DAWC, a new agency fund with the DeKalb County Community Foundation. Created through an estate gift from Joan Popp upon her passing in September 2017, this fund provides support to the DeKalb Area Women’s Center (DAWC) and its mission.

Originally from Middleton, Ohio, Joan Popp grew up during the Great Depression. As a young girl, her father taught her how to play tennis and her love for that sport among others continued throughout her life. In 1952, she received a B.S. in Physical Education from Miami University in Ohio. Soon after she began teaching and eventually made her way to Northern Illinois University where she was a professor for the next 36 years. Dr. Popp served on numerous department, college, and university committees and held many offices including President of Northern Illinois University Annuitants Association. During her career, she received many awards and honors. In 1992, she was named Physical Education Teacher of the Year from the Northern District of the Illinois HPERD Association.

Learn more about the M. Joan Popp Women’s Empowerment Fund for DAWC

Sycamore Lions Charities Jack Shrout Fund

Sycamore Lions Club, DeKalb County Community Foundation

Jack Shrout

Introducing the Sycamore Lions Charities Jack Shrout Fund, a new agency fund that provides support to the Sycamore Lions Charities to fulfill their mission.

The Sycamore Lions Club is dedicated to improving the quality of life for the handicapped, the poor, the sick and the aged. Its primary focus is blindness prevention and program support for visually impaired individuals. In addition to vision programs, the Sycamore Lions Club supports or sponsors scholarships, hearing programs, diabetes awareness, and a number of humanitarian, civic and charitable projects.

Learn more about the Sycamore Lions Charities Jack Shrout Fund


Sheldon and Betty Kesner Scholarship Fund

DeKalb County Community Foundation, Sheldon & Betty Kesner Scholarship Fund

Sheldon “Ted” Kesner and Betty Kesner

Announcing the Sheldon and Betty Kesner Scholarship Fund, a new scholarship fund that provides annual awards to graduates of Indian Creek High School in DeKalb County, IL. One award is the Sheldon M. Kesner Agricultural Scholarship and the other is the Betty M. Kesner Music/Education Scholarship.

Ted and Betty had hearts for giving. Ted was a 4-H leader, member of the Masonic Lodge, active in the Farm Bureau, a founding member of the Waterman Heritage Society, and active in the Waterman United Methodist Church. Throughout her life, Betty actively shared her love for music with her family and community. At the Methodist Church, she played the piano and organ, and directed the choir. At the Waterman Schools, she was accompanist for band and choral contests, and assisted music directors. Betty played concerts at her mother’s retirement home and when she later became a resident at the same facility, she continued to play piano for her Bible study group.

Learn more about the Sheldon and Betty Kesner Fund