If you’ve visited the DuPage Children’s Museum or listened to a Naperville Men’s Glee Club performance you have experienced benefits of the DuPage Community Foundation and probably didn’t even know it.
In 1986, The DuPage Community Foundation was created to improve the quality of life for the residents of DuPage County by fostering philanthropy through endowment funds.
Now, 27 years later the group has $50 million in assets and has awarded more than $15 million in grants.
“We have a community needs grant program that not-for-profits can apply to under “health and human services” in the spring and then “arts and culture” and “environment” in the fall,” explained David McGowan, President of the Foundation. “And then our grand committee looks at those requests and looks to see where we can have the biggest impact.”
Not only does the foundation give out their own grants, but they also work as a ‘matchmaker’ for those who want to make donations to charities, but aren’t quite sure which one to choose.
“A donor came and said I’m interested in a program in Naperville,” said Barb Szcezepaniak, Director of Programs for the Foundation. “I want it to be for seniors and I want it to have a cultural aspect. So I go back to all those grant application we receive and see which ones were senior programs. And of course I want to stay in Naperville because that’s what the donor wanted and I can then give them four to five organizations with a summary that we know of that are doing a great job.”
The group takes not only cash, but also stocks, furniture, real estate and even life insurance plans to ensure the philanthropist’s wishes are continued.
“Overall our giving last year was about $2.5 million from our restricted and unrestricted funds,” said Michael Sitrick, Director of Development at the Foundation.
Even though the foundation serves the county as a whole, many of those 2012 grant dollars went to benefit residents here in Naperville.
Recipients included Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, the DuPage Children’s Museum, the Naperville Men’s Glee Club, Naperville CARES, and KidsMatter, just to name a few.
As long as non-profits need funding and residents have a desire for philanthropy the need for the DuPage Community Foundation will continue.
“Some of us have more time or more resources than others, but we’re all looking for an opportunity to do a kindness. We want to feel needed or to validate ourselves against the world, sometimes,” said McGowan. “Just that we matter to someone.”
For more information on the DuPage Community Foundation visit DCFDN.org.
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