A year ago, Starved Rock Country was an island surrounded by community foundations.
Incredibly successful community foundations, we might add.
The reach of these foundations is far, bringing donors together to impact causes that matter most to them, and creating funds of many types to meet the desire of each donor.
They fund education, health care, child care, conservation, the arts, the environment, tourism, economic development, social services and the needs and challenges of nonprofit agencies and the community at-large.
It’s quite an undertaking.
But Starved Rock Country is no longer an island. Earlier this year, the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation opened its doors at 718 Columbus St.
Over time, this local foundation will build a base of funds that will make positive strides in nearly every facet of the community.
For example, this past spring, the SRCCF took over the Starved Rock Country Marathon. Although the Foundation was very new at the time, its board of directors and President Pamela Beckett, accepted the challenge of making sure the community event remained intact, for the runners and the benefits brought into the area by them and their families. In future years, the foundation will play a role with the new marathon management group, Run Starved Rock Country.
Also this year, the Robert M. Eschbach Legacy Endowment Fund was established in Mayor Eschbach’s honor by his sister, Sharon Eschbach Coleman, and her recently deceased husband, Ken Coleman. The endowment fund was created as a tribute to Eschbach’s vision and leadership in the economic development, growth and beautification of Ottawa.
The donation was made to “Impact Ottawa,” a fund within the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation, in the amount of $60,000. The Foundation is able to create and manage both restricted and non-restricted funds.
These are just two examples of the many initiatives and fund-building activities the foundation has been doing, and much more is in its future.
The foundation aims to build a broad base of contributions, to create primarily endowed funds. Once endowed funds are established, generally only 4 percent of the fund’s income is used for grant making, according to the donor’s wishes perhaps, resulting in an ever-increasing fund to support its purpose in perpetuity.
The foundation will serve La Salle, Bureau and Putnam counties, which are part of Starved Rock Country.
Until now, the area was one of few in the state not represented by one of the 34 existing community foundations in Illinois.
Beckett has been involved in nonprofit work since 1994 and was familiar with community foundations and a local foundation was something Eschbach and others in the community had expressed an interest in.
When she began researching community foundations, she became optimistic for the potential in Starved Rock Country.
The SRCCF allows anyone to become a philanthropist by establishing a fund or making a donation to an existing one.
It’s difficult to provide a comprehensive overview of how valuable a community foundation is to Starved Rock Country in this space, so we’re happy to announce Beckett will contribute a regular column on the foundation starting Wednesday, Sept. 28.
She will share with readers news items with the foundation to help the public better understand how the SRCCF works and its benefits to the community.
We look forward to the positive news the foundation will bring and the regular columns keeping readers up to date.
Beckett also can be reached at 815-252-2906 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find the foundation on Facebook.