Annual Report - 2023

Page 1

Dear friends – we are pleased to present you with our 2023 annual report highlighting the mission and services of your Community Foundation. Be sure to see our ‘Community Impact Highlights’ on page 3!

Since 1993, our purpose has remained the same – investing in community impact. Our services and grants invest in people and organizations that have a positive impact on the quality of life in communities throughout DeKalb County. We accomplish this by partnering with donors and by responding to various needs and opportunities throughout the County.

This annual report provides an overview of highlights and key donorsupported activities from 2023. Thank you for supporting our communities and taking care of those in need! Please know that every donation is put to work in fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life in DeKalb County. Let us know how we can assist you with your generosity. We invite you to partner with the Foundation by seeking a grant to help you serve DeKalb County, by contributing to one of our existing Funds that match your charitable interests, or by starting your own Fund –either now or as part of your future estate plans.

Christine J. Johnson 2023-24 Board President Daniel P. Templin Executive Director

2023 Community Impact Highlights

3 2023 Community Impact Highlights

About six years ago, an idea emerged at the DeKalb County Community Foundation that partnered profit and purpose. Foundations around the United States were already engaged in this practice, and we wondered if this idea would benefit DeKalb County. Fast forward to 2023, and this idea was set in motion through hours of exploration, discussion, and planning. The idea is impact investing.

Impact Investing for DeKalb County

Impact investing isn’t just about making money; it’s about making a difference. It’s a transformative idea where financial returns meet positive social and environmental change, and every investment decision has the power to generate meaningful transformations in our local communities.

Impact investing differs from a grant program, where the dollars are given for a specific program or project. Instead, these investment dollars are repaid to the Community

Foundation, which uses them repeatedly to benefit new projects throughout DeKalb County. The invested dollars benefit local projects consistent with the Foundation’s mission of enhancing the quality of life in DeKalb County.

How it Works:

Impact investing positively impacts our communities while generating income for future reinvestment opportunities. It advances the Foundation’s proactive commitment to focus on education, economy, environment, and equity. The Community Foundation committed an initial $500,000 to boost the immediate impact. As our assets grow, our impact investment continues to grow.

Donors give to the Invest DeKalb County Fund, an innovative Fund that makes the most out of philanthropy while seeking some financial returns. Donors are a vital part of this exciting idea!

The Foundation identifies local projects focusing on education, boosting the economy, preserving the environment, and/or promoting equity.

Eligible organizations with promising ideas submit proposals.

Proposals are carefully evaluated by Foundation staff to ensure they’re viable and a good fit.

If a project is approved, the organization receives the needed funding.

As they use that money to create positive change, they pay it back, ensuring a cycle of ongoing impact for everyone involved.

The Foundation repeats the process with additional applications.

Next Steps for:

Interested Organizations

Review the impact investing program information and complete an application at

Interested Donors

Donate to the Invest DeKalb County Fund at

Learn more at
Together, we’re investing in community impact!

Thank you donors!

Revenues and Support

Contributions $ 8,280,719

Investment income 820,780

Realized net gain on sale of investments 234,834

Unrealized net gains (losses) on investments 6,642,948

Administrative fees 547,923

Membership dues 25,061 Other revenue 24,110

Total Revenues and Support $ 16,576,375


Grants and scholarships $ 4,346,317

Change in net assets


assets – Beginning of year 52,344,812

Assets – End of Year $ 62,806,535

The Finance Committee of the Foundation Board of Directors oversees the investment of our assets as well as expenses. The following information is available upon request from our office: names of investment managers, fully audited financial statements, IRS Form 990, governing documents, and conflict of interest policy.

fees 549,269
and support services 1,172,422
Expenses $ 6,114,652 Total Assets
Total Assets (Millions) 2022 201920202021 $52.3 $56.4 $63.3 $69.5 2023 $62.8

Arts & Culture

Nonpro t Capacity


Building & Give DeKalb County Education

Health & Human Services

$719,755 $376,096 $51,325 $395,507

Environment & Animal Welfare

Additional Distributions

Designated and Field of Interest

Funds provided $362,214 for administration costs associated with Community Foundation operations and initiatives including the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership, Youth Engaged in Philanthropy, and CommunityWorks.

Grants awarded during 2023

1% 51%
Community Development
$4.3 million
$54 million 10% 10% 18% 10% $404,597
Grants awarded since 1993

Wurlitzer Grants are made possible through donor generosity to the Farny R. Wurlitzer Funds (Field of Interest Funds) at the Foundation.

The slogan for The Wurlitzer Company at one time was “The Name That Means Music to Millions.” The company began in the United States in 1856 and was primarily known for its production of premier pianos and organs—both pipe and electric. From the 1930s through the 1980s, the company owned retail music stores in most major cities. One of its primary manufacturing locations was DeKalb, Illinois.

We celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Farny R. Wurlitzer Fund at the DeKalb County Community Foundation in 2023. This Field of Interest Fund began on December 23, 1993, while the Community Foundation was still in its infancy. This initial Fund led to increased philanthropy from the Wurlitzer Foundation when they began exploring ways to maintain their existence in perpetuity.

Near the end of 2012, the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation converted its operations to become the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund within the Community Foundation. Total grantmaking since 1993 from these two Field of Interest Funds total more than $2.7 million.

The Farny R. Wurlitzer Funds

The Farny R. Wurlitzer Fund provides financial assistance to further music education, appreciation, and performance. The Community Foundation’s Community Needs Grant program distributes grants from this Fund.

The Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund supports music education through grantmaking to nonprofit and public sector organizations throughout the greater Chicagoland area, prioritizing DeKalb County projects. Grants from this Fund are reviewed and recommended by the Fund’s Board of Advisors during two annual grant application cycles.

Grants from the Farny R. Wurlitzer Funds support music education throughout the greater Chicagoland area.

The Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra (KSO) is one local organization that benefits from Wurlitzer grants. The KSO is a nonprofit orchestra that engages, educates, and enriches the community through music. Grants have supported various music education programs and projects for youth in DeKalb County.

Thank you, donors, for making grants like these possible! Funding for Community Needs Grants is made possible through donor generosity to Community Impact Funds at the Foundation.

In 2022, the Town of Cortland Parks Advisory Committee was re-commissioned to receive input and prioritize improvements and needs at town properties. Resident feedback indicated that parks and recreational amenities were at the top of the list. The town implemented various improvement projects, including a large stormwater basin to a recreational area for fishing and water activities, and completed the first segment of a bike trail that will eventually allow residents to walk or bike to DeKalb and Sycamore. In addition, there was a request for ADA play equipment with sensory features, a feature not present in town parks.

In spring 2023, Cortland applied for a Community Needs Grant and received $19,200 in funding to add inclusive playground equipment to McPhillips Park,

a popular neighborhood park in Cortland. The Public Works Department purchased and installed the equipment shortly after. The new equipment, which includes an inclusive whirl, safety swings, and the required safety surface, is operational and in use by the community.

The new playground equipment at McPhillips Park is an exciting enhancement for residents of all abilities.

Thank you, donors, for making grants like these possible! Funding for Community Needs Grants is made possible through donor generosity to Community Impact Funds at the Foundation.

What do you do with a downtown frontage building that has been vacant since 2014? In Hinckley, they decided to relocate their existing community library there. Located in the heart of downtown Hinckley, the building was formerly a medical facility.

Since 1913, the Hinckley Public Library has met the community’s informational, cultural, and connectivity needs. It offers 20,000 books and other materials, hosts hundreds of community events, offers free internet access, and welcomes visitors from Hinckley and neighboring towns. The library is a community hub where patrons of all ages can take advantage of free services and make connections. It currently operates from a rented basement of the nearly 100-year-old Hinckley Community Building.

One of the biggest challenges with the library’s current space is its inaccessibility. The library provides curbside pickup and home delivery, but there needs to be more building access for people with mobility issues. The new building will be fully ADA-compliant.

The Hinckley Public Library District applied for a Community Needs Grant in the fall of 2023 and received a $50,000 grant toward the new library. Thanks to federal and community grants, generous local donations, and a few reserves, construction will begin in 2024, with a planned grand opening for late 2025.

The DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership (DCNP) strengthens nonprofit organizations in DeKalb County through training, professional development, grants, networking, and programs such as Give DeKalb County.


DCNP membership grew for the 11th consecutive year. Thank you, DCNP members!

Nonprofit Day

DCNP’s annual conference convened expert presenters and 120+ attendees for a full day of networking and education—100% of conferencegoers reported they will implement something learned at Nonprofit Day.

Future Leaders Internship (FLI) Grants

Launched in 2023, FLI Grants provide up to $500 in matching funds to support paid internships.


DCNP’s Professional Development MicroGrant Program awarded 15 grants to support the professional growth of members.

Learn more at

Member Comments:

“DCNP is an absolute must for any DeKalb County nonpro t organization!”

“Please keep on providing the education and opportunities that bene t so many nonpro ts.”

“DCNP is an excellent value for our investment. We are grateful to have this superb organization in our community.”

2023 Highlights:

● 181 members

● Offered 60+ professional development opportunities

● Give DeKalb County set a record by raising $1.8+ million in April-May

● Internship Program connected students with DCNP members— 248 interns have completed 29,760+ service hours since the program’s creation in 2014. Thank you Douglas C. and Lynn M. Roberts Family Foundation!

DCNP members are offered a variety of programs, trainings, and professional development opportunities each year.

Thank you, Give DeKalb County donors! Your generosity makes a lasting impact among local nonpro ts.

Give DeKalb County celebrated ten years in 2023, shattering records and expectations. Since 2014, Give DeKalb County has raised $8.7 million through 41,487 donations to support local nonprofit organizations.

Give DeKalb County 2023 benefitted from generous Community Partners who donated to the Bonus Pool and Media Sponsors who made in-kind donations to raise awareness about the event.

2023 Highlights:

● $1,808,235 raised–an all-time high!

● 2,836 donors

● 8,306 donations

● 142 participating nonprofits and Funds

● Gifts from donors in 39 states and 2 different countries

● Record Bonus Pool of $221,205

Give DeKalb County provides multiple ways for donors to support their favorite local nonprofits. Each donation is boosted by a Bonus Pool of funds.

Donor Comments:

“This is a true blessing in our community.”

“Seeing this much ‘goodness in action’ makes me proud to live in such a giving community.”

“GDC was amazing this year! Keep it up!”

Nonprofit Comments:

“Participating in Give DeKalb County was a game-changer for our organization.”

“Give DeKalb County has become our largest and most successful annual fundraiser.”

“Besides being a financial boost, it boosts our morale.”

Learn more at

Thank you, donors! Funding for workforce development is made possible by donor generosity to CommunityWorks Funds at the Foundation.

The Community Foundation is committed to developing essential skills that will empower our middle and high school students to thrive personally and professionally. In 2023, we invited our teachers, nonprofits, chambers of commerce, and youth-centric programs to embrace the Essential Skills Video Series and Certificate of Employability Program. These FREE resources create awareness of interpersonal skills in a fun and hands-on approach. Students learn about job opportunities and practice essential skills—it’s a win-win!

2023 Highlights:

● DeKalb High School piloted the Essential Skills Certificate of Employability Program.

● Students learned from local business professionals, practiced the essential skills, and earned a Certificate of Employability to add to their resume.

Our student survey asks, “If you could improve upon one of the Essential Skills in the videos, which would you choose and why?”

Student Responses:

Thank you, donors! Funding for watershed planning is made possible by donor generosity to CommunityWorks Funds at the Foundation.

The Community Foundation’s Land Use Committee made great progress in 2023, continuing its dedication to environmental stewardship and watershed planning in DeKalb County.

2023 Highlight:

● The DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District received approval on an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Section 319 grant to develop a watershed-based plan for the Central South Branch of the Kishwaukee River, which encompasses the communities of Genoa, Kingston, and Kirkland.

Social Media Campaign

From a desire to promote and provide watershed education in the community, a concept evolved into a social media campaign for 2024.

#WatershedWednesdays (1st Wednesday of the month) delivers fun facts, practical tips for homeowners, and overall watershed education in DeKalb County!

Educational Signage

Watershed signage was installed throughout the Central South Branch of the Kishwaukee River. The goal of signage is to increase community awareness of watersheds.

Grants Awarded:

● $50,000 match to coincide with the IEPA 319 watershed planning grant for the Central South Watershed.

● $25,000 for watershed planning, coordination, and education activities.

● $3,580 for website updates and administration.

Thank you, donors! Funding for kindergarten readiness is made possible by donor generosity to CommunityWorks Funds at the Foundation.

The Community Foundation has committed resources to early care and education since 2008. In partnership with the DeKalb County Collaborative for Young Children (DCCYC), we know that early childhood experiences significantly shape development and readiness for the challenges of school and beyond. Through this collaboration, we strive to create a more equitable opportunity to better prepare children.

The DeKalb County Regional Office of Education receives ongoing grant funding from the Community Foundation to help support the leadership of the DCCYC. In addition, we serve as a funder to Basics DeKalb County as well as the Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit Grant program.

Kindergarten readiness encompasses an overall preparedness for both school and life success. When schools, early childhood educators, community service providers, policymakers, and families work together, a child’s readiness for kindergarten is greatly enhanced.

2023 Highlights:

● Samantha McDavid was hired as the Coordinator of Early Learning Programs at the DeKalb County ROE, coordinating the work of the DCCYC.

● Basics DeKalb County launched and successfully registered 2,030 children for Basics Insight Text Messaging. Various new playgroups were created, and the number of implementation partners increased.

● DCCYC partnered with Birth to Five Illinois Region 16, serving on the Action Council and contributing to the Region 16 Regional Needs Assessment.

● Distributed 1,150 free Kindergarten Readiness Toolkits to incoming kindergarteners in partnership with School Tool Box and the DeKalb County Farm Bureau.

Over 5,000 children in DeKalb County have received a free toolkit since 2020.

Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) began its 15th year as a youthled committee of the Community Foundation in the fall of 2023. The committee focused on creating a sense of belonging for members through the continuation of YEP ‘families’ and a social event. Addressing youth mental health in DeKalb County became a priority for grantmaking and planning discussions.

2023-24 Highlights:

● 77 members from 10 different high schools across DeKalb County

● $22,177 in grants awarded to 13 organizations for youth-serving programs and projects.

● 172 volunteer hours completed by members at six volunteer opportunities in the community.

● $1,000 YEP Changemakers Scholarship awarded to an engaged YEP member who positively impacted youth in DeKalb County. Members learn about

nonprofits, grantmaking, and how to put philanthropy into action.

Sub-Committee Highlights

YEP 2.Pro Committee

The YEP 2.Pro Committee continued its work to proactively address youth issues in DeKalb County. According to the data submitted by all 77 YEP members, mental health was the top youth issue observed. YEP 2.Pro explored various organizations and programs in DeKalb County and voted to distribute a $5,000 proactive grant to the Family Service Agency. The grant provided dollars to aid and enhance FSA’s existing programs focused on addressing youth mental health.

Fundraising Committee

The Fundraising Committee secured funding for YEP’s member texting platform, snacks, and the continuation of the YEP Changemakers Scholarship. The committee’s participation in Give DeKalb County raised dollars for YEP’s programming, meeting materials, leadership opportunities, grantmaking efforts, and more. Members raised a total of $24,010 this year!

Thank you donors!

Learn more at

In 2023, residents, including former military members and civilians, worked together to create the DeKalb County Veterans Recognition Fund. Their shared goal is to ensure that veterans and their families in the greater DeKalb County area receive the recognition and honor they deserve. As a result of their hard work, the group has formed strong and respectful partnerships with community members, academic institutions, businesses, and civic leaders.

In addition, the group has completed a variety of recognition projects. A few of these projects include the downtown DeKalb veteran recognition banner project, Vets Way Street designation, reserved parking spaces for veterans, the restoration of the downtown DeKalb Soldiers and Sailor Memorial Clock, and the DeKalb Elks Veterans Memorial.

As a Donor Advised Fund, the DeKalb County Veterans Recognition Fund creates opportunities to recognize and honor veterans throughout DeKalb County.

Jeri Delaney was born in June 1945. She graduated from Joliet Township High School in 1963. She married her husband Pat and moved to Sycamore in 1970, shortly after their daughter was born. Jeri worked for the Sycamore School District in the copy department before accepting a teacher’s aide position at Sycamore High School. She thrived in this role until 1999 when she retired to spend more time with her grandchildren.

In 2019, Jeri received the Sycamore High School Distinguished Alumni Award. Former high school principal Tim Carlson said, “She was one of the warmest and kindest human beings ever to work at the high school.”

Jeri passed away on August 2, 2022. Her legacy lives on through the students she impacted. Known to her students as “Miss Jeri” or “Grandma Jeri,” Jeri helped everyone she met. Her caring nature and generosity knew no bounds.

Her legacy will live on through the creation of an Agency Fund in 2023 by the Sycamore Education Foundation. Her loving family and friends established the Jeri Delaney Memorial Fund to recognize her life and solidify her legacy within the Sycamore School District. The Fund distributes to the Sycamore Education Foundation (SEF) to award grants for the special education program at Sycamore High School.

How Do I Create a Fund?

We connect people who care with causes that matter. Funds represent gifts from individuals, families, corporations, trusts, private foundations, and other nonprofit organizations.

1 2 3 4

Decide When to Give Create your Fund now, in the future, or establish it in your will.

Decide What to Give Almost any kind of asset can be used to start your Fund.

Choose the Name for Your Fund

Most Funds are named for the donor, donor’s family, or as a memorial to someone special.

Choose a Type of Fund

We offer a variety of Funds that are flexible to meet your charitable interests. See the following pages for a listing of Fund types and donors.

How Do I Donate?

Donations of any size can be made online at, in person, or by mail to DeKalb County Community Foundation – 475 DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore, IL 60178. Please make checks out to DeKalb County Community Foundation and memo any gift direction.

The broadest giving option. Supports the greatest needs in the community.

Back to the Community!


Support a particular eld or geographic area.

“We strive to increase the community’s awareness of veterans’ needs and issues. This Fund is the rst endowment of its kind in DeKalb County. We hope others will join us to grow this Fund and its impact.”

~ Tom Pisapia, DeKalb County Veterans Recognition Fund


Support three identi ed interest areas; early care and education, land use, and workforce development.


Donor makes grant recommendations to eligible organizations.


Provide scholarship awards to students for continuing education.

“DeKalb has nurtured exceptional people over the years. The most important thing we can do for the future is to invest in our youth and their opportunities. The scholarship provides graduating seniors with resources to compete in a rapidly changing society as education continues to be the di erentiator.”

“In addition to showing the community our shop and what we do, this was a great opportunity to partner with customers, many of which work in the trades themselves, to give back and support lifelong skills for the next generation.”


Provide support to speci c and eligible organizations in the community.

“I’m honored to direct this family gift to create something that bene ts the Cortland community inde nitely.”

“The cemetery is a respected place where loved one’s rest, history and family genealogy are remembered, and guests can walk or gather. We take pride in this community treasure’s upkeep and ongoing restoration.”

John Boies, Ellwood Cemetery Endowment Fund


Created by nonpro t organizations to provide stable income to support their work.

“Our goal with this Fund is to ensure future funding to bene t Sandwich students. The new Fund also provides gap funding for unexpected situations.”



Provide support to projects with the principal of the Fund eventually used up for the intended purpose.


Board members ending their term in 2023.

Our mission is to enhance the quality of life in DeKalb County by addressing community needs and expanding, managing, and distributing philanthropic resources.

Our vision is to be a philanthropic leader throughout DeKalb County as we partner to build strong communities for all.

Jim Stoddard Sycamore Justin Wegener Sandwich Mohammed Labadi DeKalb Dahlia Roman DeKalb Karen Grush DeKalb Lisa Gudmunson Somonauk Michael Haines Kingston Jason Goode Cortland Brenda D. Jergens Malta Christine Johnson President, Shabbona Ann Lehan DeKalb Regina Parker Sycamore Manny Peña Sycamore Photine Liakos, MD Sycamore David B. Castle Treasurer, DeKalb Michael Constant Hinckley Kris Aves Kirkland Shawn Blobaum Waterman G. Joseph Mitchell Past President, DeKalb Todd Hughes Genoa

Incoming Board members for 2024.

(Back row, from left) Noah Nordbrock, Donor Services & Marketing Director, YEP Staff Advisor; Jolene Willis, Grants Director; Teri Spartz, Community Engagement Director; Kay Riley, Finance Director; Teri Kleckner, Administrative Manager; Sara Nickels, Grants & Scholarships Manager; Barb King, Database & Special Projects Manager; (Front row, from left) Dan Templin, Executive Director, Board Secretary; Ben Bingle, DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership (DCNP) Director

Melissa Stoffregen Genoa Jerry Wright DeKalb Jane Lux DeKalb

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