Community Pulse: Community Foundation of Grundy County saw growth in 2023

It’s hard to believe another year is upon us! I’m not sure about you, but I enjoy looking back on the previous year to identify what went well and what didn’t. 2023 was a year of tremendous growth, not only at the Community Foundation of Grundy County (CFGC) but also for the non-profits we partner with. While some of that growth is not currently visible, the seeds were planted and progress is being made to provide future services and programming.

Providing grants to not-for-profits serving Grundy County is one of the programs the Community Foundation of Grundy County is most well known for. Last year, the Grants and Programs Committee approved $50,000 in funding to fourteen organizations from our competitive grant funds. These grants funded the expansion of programs, community education, mental health, public safety, the arts, food insecurity, and youth recreation among other topics.

The Grants and Programs Committee also oversees the usage of the Gerald Abel Endowment. The Abel Endowment was created by a family member of Gerald Abel with funds from his estate. The fund is structured to primarily target organizations serving children and veterans. Last year, $57,000 was provided to nine local organizations for projects ranging from career exploration and youth development to art programs for veterans.

Our Youth Philanthropists provided an additional $20,000 to thirteen unique organizations serving Grundy County. CFGC provides four of the high schools serving Grundy County with $5,000 each. The students are then able to ask organizations to come in and present to them about their services and from there the students decide which organizations to assist with funding. While the youth can approve funding for any area most of the youth grants in 2023 were approved for youth-related programs and services. These grants funded programs combating hunger among youth, assisting youth experiencing trauma, and youth mental health.

In addition to the above grant opportunities, CFGC also holds funds that are overseen by committees chosen by the donor. Two such funds include the Sanford Endowments and the Seneca Civic Fund in Memory of Peg Davis. The estate of Mary Ann Sanford established two separate funds to be utilized by youth within the Morris school districts, one for youth enrichment for children at the elementary age levels and one for teens focusing on physical and mental health, strong relationships, substance abuse, and other issues facing teens in today’s world. The committee has primarily focused on grants supporting mental health of teens as this has become a huge need locally. The Seneca Civic Fund’s purpose is to simply improve the quality of life in Seneca. Any not for profit serving Seneca can apply for grant funding to be reviewed by the Seneca Civic Fund Committee. In 2023, these endowments granted out just over $118,000 to area not-for-profits serving these communities! Due to the planning of these two donors, these funds will continue to make an impact on the communities the donors loved, forever!

The grants from the young philanthropist, Abel Endowment, competitive grant funds, Sanford Endowments, and Seneca Civic Fund are only a small portion of the grants fed into the community through CFGC. The Community Foundation also manages a large number of donor funds that provided additional grants to specific towns, organizations, schools, and/or topics making a lasting impact in Grundy County and beyond.

In recent years, the Community Foundation of Grundy County has also worked with donors to create several new scholarship opportunities for students. In 2023, CFGC was happy to steward $40,000 in scholarships to Gproviderundy County high school and college students. This is the most to date in the foundation’s history!

2023 was an amazing year of growth at the Community Foundation of Grundy County as well as within the communities and organizations we serve. We are happy to dedicate our time and energy to bridging people who care with causes that matter to improve the quality of life in Grundy County. We look forward to an even better 2024!