Featured Funds

Featured Funds

Each year, a variety of new Funds are created at the DeKalb County Community Foundation. These new Funds support the charitable interests of donors and work to enhance the quality of life in DeKalb County. Below is a list of new or existing Funds that we would like to highlight.

Making a donation to the Community Foundation is easy to do. Whether you want to give to an established Fund or create one of your own, we offer a variety of giving options to help donors maximize their impact.

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St. James Religious Education Fund

DeKalb County Community Foundation, Designated Fund

William and Emiline Rood, parents of Kathy Spears.

Introducing the St. James Religious Education Fund, a new Designated Fund at the Community Foundation. This Fund was created by donors Ken and Kathleen Spears to provide ongoing financial support to St. James Catholic Church in Lee, Illinois, to cover costs associated with religious education in the parish.

The St. James Religious Education Fund is a tribute to William and Emiline Rood, parents of Kathy Spears. Her parents modeled serving and wanted to instill this in their nine children from an early age. Children’s spiritual growth and development were essential to them, so Emiline made time to teach religious education classes at the church. The Fund pays for religious education fees for all students at St. James and other related costs per the Fund priorities.

“We learn from our parents and integrate that into our own lives,” said Kathy. “My Dad was a farmer and considered himself lucky to be a steward of the land. Mom was a natural mother, not just to the nine of us but to others who crossed her path. Creating this Fund is a fitting way to honor both of them.”

Learn more about the St. James Religious Education Fund >

Templin Family Fund

DeKalb County Community Foundation, Donor Advised Fund

The Templin family

Introducing the Templin Family Fund, a new Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation. This Fund enables the Templin family to support organizations and important issues that align with their charitable interests.

Dan and Kristal Templin married in 2001 and have two children, Erin (born in 2003) and Luke (born in 2005). The Templin’s lived in DeKalb for several years but spent most of their family life living in Sycamore. They are an invested part of DeKalb County and consider themselves blessed with careers and meaningful work they love.

According to Dan, the reasons for creating the Fund are numerous. “We want to model philanthropy to both our children and the greater community we serve,” he said. “When the time comes, and Kristal and I are no longer advisors to the Fund, our children can take over and continue to keep our legacy of generosity alive. Fast forward from there to when our children are no longer advising the Fund, and it will become a Community Impact Fund.”

Learn more about the Templin Family Fund >

Drake Castle Charitable Fund

David Castle, Board of Directors, DeKalb County Community Foundation

David B. Castle

Introducing the Drake Castle Charitable Fund, a new Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation. This new Fund aligns with the charitable interests of the David B. Castle which include child and adult education, English as a second language, adult literacy, and more.

David is a lifelong resident of DeKalb with strong family ties to Sandwich, where he has worked for many years. David is a graduate of DePauw University with an MBA from NIU. He is fluent in Spanish and has lived in Argentina and Colombia. He admires DeKalb County for its wide variety of nonprofit organizations that serve so many people, both young and old, at little or no cost to those who most need these life-changing services.

“I remember and admire the many influential civic leaders who, during my childhood and in recent years, have worked so hard to ensure our communities have the services needed to be healthy and prosperous,” said David. “I hope that my participation furthers their legacy of community engagement and support for the benefit of everyone.”

Learn more about the Drake Castle Charitable Fund >

Oncken Family Fund

Oncken Family Fund, DeKalb County Community Foundation, Donor Advised Fund

The Oncken family

Announcing the Oncken Family Fund, a new Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation. This new Fund will align with the charitable interests of the Oncken family and provides a tangible way for them to participate in philanthropy as a family.

Riley and Heather Oncken were married in June of 2013 and have embraced DeKalb County as their home since. They currently live in Sycamore, IL with their four daughters Mia, Quinn, Hattie, and Rowan.

The Onckens are excited for the annual opportunity to sit down as a family of six and discuss where to direct the grant dollars to. A few of their charitable interests include providing for the needs of moms and babies, food insecurity, and advocating for children and the underserved populations of DeKalb County.

“In spite of all that happened in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted our family to end it on a positive note, one of hope and promise of good in the future,” said Riley Onken. “The new Fund allows us a hands-on approach to teach and model generosity to our children.”

Learn more about the Oncken Family Fund >

Ellwood House Racial Diversity Internship Fund

Ellwood House Museum Logo

Ellwood House Museum

Introducing the Ellwood House Racial Diversity Internship Fund. This new endowed Designated Fund contributes to funding an annual internship opportunity at the Ellwood House Museum. The internship is exclusively for a person of color, who is a currently enrolled college student or a recent college graduate.

The Fund was seeded by long-time Ellwood House supporters and local philanthropists, Jerry and Annette Johns. This original donation not only created a new Fund, but it opens the door for other donors to join in this wonderful opportunity to support the Ellwood House. The Fund is currently seeking donations to help it reach its full desired potential for the internship opportunity.

“I’m grateful to Jerry and Annette, our board members, and everyone in the community who is helping to make the museum site a more inclusive space for our students,” said Ellwood House Director Brian Reis. “We want to provide an environment for students to learn by working in the museum and to sustain the Ellwood House as an engaging place for all.”

Learn more about the Ellwood House Racial Diversity Internship Fund >

Elder Care Services Endowment Fund

DeKalb County Community Foundation, Agency Fund

Elder Care Services

Announcing the Elder Care Services Endowment Fund, a new Agency Fund at the Community Foundation. The purpose of the Fund is to create a mechanism to accept donations for Elder Care Services of DeKalb County (ECS) and in turn support the agency in their mission of assisting senior citizens and vulnerable adults of DeKalb County. An endowment Fund will ensure that the agency will remain a stable resource to the community for many years.

“Our goal for the future is to be a huge part of seniors lives and to support local residents through the aging process,” said Tara Russo, Executive Director, Elder Care Services of DeKalb County. “We want to support and assist, but also provide services to keep seniors safe, secure, and supported in the home and community they love.”

Learn more about the Elder Care Services Endowment Fund >

The Wrennhouse Fund

DeKalb County Community Foundation, Donor Advised Fund

Wrennhouse Fund

Announcing the Wrennhouse Fund, a new Donor Advised Fund that provides donors Kent and Kris Wrenn a charitable way to express their love for the Sycamore community and the nonprofit organizations that serve it.

Kris and Kent were both raised in homes that believe strong communities were created by “doing your part”, giving back, and helping your neighbors. For them, Sycamore is a city that places a unique focus on family, community, and values. A place that gives others the opportunity to flourish.

The Wrenns were motivated to give of their time, talent, and treasure because of the lessons learned and values instilled during their upbringing. Through the Wrennhouse Fund, they have another opportunity to promote philanthropy through their support of nonprofit organizations that serve youth, families, and learning.

Learn more about the Wrennhouse Fund >