Greetings from the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation!

The article below ran in The Times on September 27th.

Greetings from the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation!

We are excited for the opportunity to share news of the foundation in a regularly featured column and thank The Times for their generosity in providing this platform for us. We look forward to providing a better understanding of the good works of the foundation, and bringing news to you monthly about our activities.

The Foundation is part of a movement that began in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914. The Cleveland Foundation was born that year, and now more than 100 years later, we felt it was time to create a community foundation of our own that would make grants to our local nonprofit organizations, manage and distribute scholarships and provide philanthropic direction throughout La Salle, Bureau and Putnam counties.

Our purpose is to bring donors of all abilities together, pooling contributions to fund causes that matter most to the donors and the community. We are building long-term funds to create endowments to meet the needs of the community forever. We are creating short-term funds that are returned as grants to nonprofit organizations for immediate needs.

For individuals and corporations wanting to create scholarships, we assist in the preparation, administration and award distribution through an educated team of advisers who will ensure the dollars are fairly and appropriately awarded in accordance with the wishes of the scholarship donor. And, we strive to provide sound gifting solutions to individual and corporate donors, attorneys and financial planners in the community.

There are many types of funds we can create and the impact is far-reaching.

We will fund education, health care, child care, youth programs, the arts, environmental concerns, tourism, economic development, beautification, conservation and the needs and particular challenges of nonprofit agencies and the community at-large.

Donor-advised funds give the donor the right to request their funds be released to a particular nonprofit organization and at a particular time.

Field-of-Interest funds are created so a donor can use his gifts to fund organizations in a specific category, such as assisting the homeless, the hungry or animal welfare.

Agency funds allow local nonprofit agencies to create funds that will build endowment for the future of their organization.

Family foundations and other endowed funds can be gifted to and invested by the foundation. Unrestricted, general gifts to the foundation allow us to build the infrastructure and to stand ready to fund community needs quickly and appropriately.

Since our inception less than a year ago, we have launched a number of initiatives and opened several funds, with more being created.

In Ottawa, the Robert M. Eschbach Legacy Endowment Fund will provide for the continuation of the growth, beautification and economic development of Ottawa for years to come.

The Rising Star Scholarship has recently been created to provide an annual scholarship to a qualified high school graduate from the Seneca or Marseilles area who has enrolled in Illinois State University to obtain a four-year degree in elementary education, and who intends to pursue a career in teaching elementary grade school students.

The foundation is the fiscal sponsor for the TBM Avengers Reunion to be hosted for the second year at the Illinois Valley Regional Airport in Peru. A generous gift from a local donor has been made to help underwrite the expenses of the event each year.

Funds are being established to support local initiatives in Princeton.

An existing non-monetary award at Marquette Academy will now have a financial scholarship attached to it because of local donors who care.

Zero for Heroes, a fund being established to provide a companion dog or cat to a local veteran diagnosed with PTSD, was created by a local resident who is fulfilling a lifelong dream of such a fund. More scholarships and donor funds are in the works, and we can help you fulfill your dreams of doing good in the community forever.

We’re continuing to create valuable partnerships.

Our new women’s giving circle, the Women Inspired Network (WIN), is a membership organization for women created collaboratively with the OSF Healthcare Foundation. Modest annual donations by large numbers of women make giving circles highly effective. Funds raised by members and supporters will be used to make grants focused on enhancing independence, dignity and the quality of life for women and children.

Our partnership with the residents of the Sheridan Correction Center is providing Little Free Libraries to us for placement throughout La Salle, Bureau and Putnam counties. And our Youth Engaged in Philanthropy program will teach middle school students in all three counties about philanthropy, grant-writing and grant-making, as well as providing opportunities for public speaking and leadership development.

We welcome your contributions to support these worthwhile initiatives and new ones arriving daily. It’s all about local people and local giving — give where you live. Own your philanthropy. Give us a call at 815-252-2906. The possibilities are endless and we are here to help you make an impact in your own backyard.

Your unrestricted donation to the Leadership Fund for Now is just that, a gift for NOW. It enables us to operate, provides funds for immediate distribution to area agencies and charitable initiatives and helps us build the core administrative fund. The Leadership Fund for Now is made up of unrestricted donations, earnings on investments, and administrative fees. This is where we need your donation the most.
Pamela Beckett
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