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.
DeKalb County COVID-19 Response Fund
In uncertain times one thing remains constant — we are facing this COVID-19 challenge together. We will do what we can to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our fellow citizens, especially the most vulnerable among us, during this healthcare and economic crisis.
Created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DeKalb County COVID-19 Response Fund exists to expedite charitable resources to nonprofit and community organizations responding to COVID-19 related needs throughout DeKalb County. Resources are granted where they are needed most, with an initial focus on the basic needs of those most significantly impacted by this crisis.
Oncken Family Fund
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.”
Ellwood House Racial Diversity Internship Fund
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.”
Elder Care Services Endowment Fund
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.”
The 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.
Terry S. Jones and Nancy J. Eyer Kishwaukee College Nursing Student Fund
Introducing the Terry S. Jones and Nancy J. Eyer Kishwaukee College Nursing Student Fund, a new Designated Fund at the Community Foundation. Support provides for an annual scholarship award to a student enrolled in the nursing program at Kishwaukee College.
Terry died peacefully from metastatic lung cancer on October 2, 2020 surrounded by his family. The Fund honors his memory and compassion for others.
“We both have seen the vulnerability that patients experience during medical treatment and we want to ensure that patients receive exceptional care from a competent, caring, and compassionate professional,” said Nancy Eyer. “We are grateful for the education we received and want to create this opportunity for others. Many thanks to Kishwaukee College for preparing me for a career in nursing.”
Tim and Bev O’Shaughnessy Loving Kindness Fund
Introducing the Tim and Bev O’Shaughnessy Loving Kindness Fund, a new Designated Fund at the Community Foundation. The Fund provides support to five organizations in DeKalb County that focus on meeting the many needs of the community through kindness and compassion.
Tim O’Shaughnessy passed away in 2020 and this Fund was established in his memory. He was a talented photographer and loved to share his work at markets, art shows, KVAL, and at an art gallery in Dixon.
Both Tim and Bev retired as high school special education teachers. They recognized the importance of trying to meet very diverse individual needs through a variety of strategies and personal connections.
“We know these same core values will be carried on through the agencies and programs that receive assistance from the Loving Kindness Fund,” said Bev O’Shaughnessy. “Both Tim and I felt very fortunate to live in such an amazing community.”