Never be afraid to 'Be the Miracle'

By DEVAN GAGLIARDO – Program Director

October 8, 2013


Community Foundation looking for ways to improve area

I recently listened to an audiobook called “Be the Miracle: 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible” by Regina Brett. It was a wonderful book comprised of a collection of stories.

Regina is a journalist in the Cleveland area who has authored several books. This particular book contains stories she has written about and individuals she has come into contact with during her career.

Each chapter’s title is a life lesson. Each story is better than the last and each lesson more thought provoking than the last.

One of the life lessons that has stuck in my head is this, “go where you are not wanted, but needed and stay until you are wanted, but not needed.” This made me look at myself, as I typically go where I feel safe and comfortable.

I took this as a challenge to look for opportunities where I can help, even if the help isn’t known. I am grateful I work at an organization that isn’t afraid to step into the realm of the unknown to improve Grundy County.

At the Community Foundation of Grundy County, we often take on projects that sometimes receive push back, sometimes the projects take off and other times they fizzle out. But nonetheless, we are constantly looking for ways to improve the life of Grundy County residents.

Several years ago, my predecessor began to look at transportation in the county. At that time, there was a transportation system in the county, but there was potential for it to expand both in ridership and in hours of operation. My predecessor’s research was the beginning of the current Grundy County Transit System. This project that started with the foundation exploring how to improve an existing resource ended with the county hiring my predecessor to oversee the county transportation system and the foundation no longer being needed to sustain this project.

Because we often hear of local nonprofits losing state or federal funding and, consequently, relying more on private donations, we attempted to convene a women’s giving circle last year. In meeting with different women, we found individuals were not able to devote time or funds to this project; therefore, it didn’t move forward. We hope to revisit this project at a later date.

In June, after more than a year of conversation, we were able to provide a grant to the Grundy County Health Department to provide case management to individuals who are in need of comprehensive services and are unable to receive them elsewhere. This is only a pilot project and is only open to clients of participating agencies. But it is a starting point to offer assistance to individuals who may otherwise fall through the cracks. Our goal of this pilot is to establish data to see whether there is a need for a permanent program in the county.

Over the past several months, the Community Foundation of Grundy County has been holding town hall meetings in each community outside of Morris. Through these events, we have been informed of needs in each of these communities and have even been able to meet some of the needs.

The Community Foundation of Grundy County welcomes discussion on new ideas that have the potential to better the life of residents. If you would like to talk with the foundation about any of the projects mentioned in this article or any new projects, we can be reached at 815-941-0852.

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

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