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Local

Grants are a big part of Community Foundation

Devan Gagliardo, program director, Community Foundation of Grundy County
Devan Gagliardo, program director, Community Foundation of Grundy County

Every day, community foundations around the country support their respective communities by supporting donors and nonprofits alike. Because each community is different, each community foundation is different. Locally, the Community Foundation of Grundy County supports a variety of topics, from early childhood to mental health to land use and everything in between, through our donor funds and grant programs.

Our grant programs are a vehicle to push money out into the community again, supporting a variety of organizations and projects. Given the current pandemic, the Community Foundation of Grundy County decided to reactivate our Disaster Fund to assist local organizations with meeting the basic needs of their clients. Since March when this fund was reactivated, more than $20,000 has been granted out to local nonprofits. The majority of those funds were used for food and medical supplies.

While we know the need within our local community is much larger, we unfortunately have depleted that fund. The Community Foundation of Grundy County and United Way of Grundy County jointly submitted a grant application to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund in an attempt to increase the support of our local organizations. We are awaiting information on this grant. If a grant is received, those dollars will be given directly to nonprofits to respond to the needs of the community related to COVID-19. We encourage nonprofits that have a need specific to COVID-19 to apply to the Disaster Fund via our website.

Our competitive grant program kicked off in January with a yearly budget of $35,000. To date, we have seen only a small number of Grundy County organizations apply for a grant. I believe the reason for this is because of many programs being put on hold until the stay-at-home order is lifted. That being said, if you belong to a 501(c)(3) organization that has a need, I encourage you to reach out to me or complete an application on our website. Our grant committee meets the first Wednesday of each month to review requests.

One of my favorite grant programs recently came to a close. The Youth Philanthropy Program is a youth-led initiative that allows high school students to learn about local organizations and award grant funding to those organizations that speak to the youth’s passions. On May 3, high school students from our five local schools announced their grant recipients for 2020 in a Facebook watch party. In total, $25,000 was granted out by our youth.

This year’s recipients include Help for Hope, Coal City School District, Gardner-South Wilmington High School, Catholic Charities, Special Connections, Guardian Group, We Care of Grundy County, REACH Program, Grundy Area PADS, CASA of River Valley, Easter Seals/Jump Start, Ambucs, Loving Deeds for Kids in Need, Morris Community High School, New Beginnings, Illinois Valley Industries, TEACH Outdoors, Grundy County Health Department and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties.

To learn more about the Community Foundation of Grundy County or to apply to one of our grant programs, please visit www.cfgrundycounty.com, email me at devan@cfgrundycounty.com or call us at 815-941-0852.

• Devan Gagliardo is the program director for the Community Foundation of Grundy County.

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