Gathering and Growing … Foundation at work

As featured in The Times on October 29th –

GUEST COLUMN: Gathering and Growing … Foundation at work

A hearty thanks to you, the readers, for your interest and support for the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation. The response has been exciting and encouraging. Far and away, the most inquiries we receive involve how to donate to the foundation in general, and how to open up a personal fund, or create a scholarship.

So, how do you donate to the foundation and with what? The answer to that question is also simple. We accept cash, checks, and credit cards. We also accept gifts of appreciated stock, life insurance proceeds, gifts from your retirement funds and gifts of grain. Other types of gifts such as cars, real estate, and works of art may be considered under certain circumstances in accordance with our Gift Acceptance Policy.

Your unrestricted donation to the SRCCF Leadership Fund is 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 is created with unrestricted gifts, earnings on investments and administrative fees. For now, this is where we need your donation the most.

In addition to the Leadership Fund, the following funds can also be created through the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation. Grants are made from all of these funds for the purpose intended by the donor(s).

Donor Advised Fund

  1. Most flexible

  2. Make grants back to your favorite charities now or later

  3. Individual or corporate

Designated fund

  1. Created for the sole benefit of a specific charity, who receives annual distribution unless you instruct otherwise

  2. May specify how the charity is to use funds. If so, SRCCF supervises to assure donor intent

Field of Interest Fund

  1. Established by a group of donors to support a particular area, such as arts, education, healthcare, etc.

  2. Anyone can contribute

  3. SRCCF uses the fund either to fulfill a nonprofit grant request or to address an urgent need

  4. Geographic field of interest

  5. Interested residents establish a committee to raise and distribute funds for projects and local nonprofits


  1. Either general or to support a particular school, field of study or population

  2. Decisions are made by SRCCF committee, which may include one donor representative

Agency Fund

  1. Established by nonprofits who want to build a long-term endowment to forever provide an annual income stream

  2. Funds created by giving circles

  3. A group of like-minded individuals who pool donations to make grants from the pool of funds greatly amplifies financial impact.

Second to inquiries about giving to the foundation is the interest in our Board of Directors, and our activity this month.

Our Board of Directors continues to gather and grow. Thirteen of the 15 board positions have been filled, led by Board Chairman Jay McCracken, Hennepin; Vice Chairman Tom Justice, Seneca; Secretary Pastor Kris Zierke, Seneca; and Treasurer John McCormick, Peru. Board members include Bob Eschbach, Ottawa; Larry Windsor, Ottawa; Keith Cain, Princeton; Inga Carus, Ottawa; Trent Griffith, McNabb; Chuck Beckett, Ottawa; Tara Bedei, Streator; Boyd Palmer, Ottawa; and Tom Heimsoth, Ottawa.

Twenty-three area youths from La Salle County are exploring philanthropy by learning about local social service organizations; why they exist, how they are managed, how funding is received, who they serve, and what outcomes are being achieved. In early spring, Youth Engaged in Philanthropy members will offer a grant opportunity to agencies and make a grant based on community impact. Similar groups are being established in Bureau and Putnam counties, and all groups are open to young leaders, ages 10 through 12.

More than 70 women of all ages gathered at Lock 16 in La Salle for the Power of One dessert reception. Compelling and passionate speakers shared their stories and the Women Inspired Network (WIN) Giving Circle was born to provide a vehicle for women to come together to grow small, individual contributions into a single large fund, and used to make a significant impact throughout the community. Our goal is to bring together at least 150 women throughout Starved Rock Country, willing to make a minimum gift of $200 per year. Founding partners are making an initial gift of $500 or more, and Friends of WIN may make smaller gifts. Our next gathering is being planned now — call us to join this powerful and caring group.

Our largest scholarship to date, the Carol and Dick Janko Scholarship for Promising Entrepreneurs, has been established with an initial $50,000 gift. An annual scholarship of $5,000 will be available to an individual living in La Salle, Bureau, Putnam or Livingston counties, who is seeking funding for the education required to create a new community initiative or business venture in Starved Rock Country. This scholarship is not restricted to current-year graduating high school seniors.

Exciting things happen every day at the SRCCF. We hope you’ll join the excitement!


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Through the generosity of local donors who care deeply about the advanced education of local youth, the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation is honored and pleased to award eight scholarships in