The DuPage Community Foundation is pleased to announce that it recently awarded $298,000 in grants to 25 DuPage County not-for-profit organizations working in the areas of health and human services during its annual Spring Grant Distribution Breakfast held on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at Glen Oak Country Club in Glen Ellyn.
The grants, which ranged in value from $2,500 to $20,000, were awarded as part of the Foundation’s annual Spring Community Needs Grant Cycle. To view a detailed list of this Cycle’s recipients, click here.
This year, 82 guests attended the Distribution Breakfast, including representatives from the grant recipient organizations, area community leaders and Foundation donors, trustees and other friends, to celebrate the distribution of the grants and learn more about how they will be used to support the projects and initiatives of the various recipient organizations. Additionally, as part of the program, three individuals addressed the Breakfast’s attendees and shared their stories about the profound impact that the grant recipient organizations with which they are involved have had on either their lives or the lives of others.
Ann Marie Andexler, a Glen Ellyn resident, spoke about her past year investing hundreds of hours of “sweat equity” with DuPage Habitat for Humanity, which included hours of financial classes and building projects. Ms. Andexler’s hard work and diligence have allowed her to become the proud owner of a new home for her and her four children, which she purchased from Habitat on June 19. Prior to this, Bridge Communities, Inc. had helped Ms. Andexler for two years, educating her on financial literacy and helping her find a job and settle into her new community. Bridge Communities, Inc. eventually referred Ms. Andexler to DuPage Habitat for Humanity, thus making it possible for her and her family to ultimately realize their dream of homeownership.
“I have been on a remarkable journey and appreciate everyone who has been a part of it,” said Ms. Andexler. “People can make a difference. [My family’s] lives were forever changed by Bridge and Habitat. That is the truth, and it has become my mission to continue to help others in need. Part of that is sharing my story and giving hope and a little inspiration to other people who want to impact the world. What [the Foundation] does is fantastic! Thank you for caring and making a difference! Your work not only impacts this generation but future generations as well!”
Angela Adkins, executive director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness DuPage, told the story of her organization’s program, Ending the Silence, which began five years ago with no state or federal funding. The program focuses on educating children about mental illness, including the signs of illness and how to seek help, and has helped many children come forward so that they can receive the aid and support they need. As a result of its success on the local level, Ending the Silence is now in the process of being implemented with NAMI National, which will spread the program’s use throughout the United States.
“When we are able to attend occasions like [the Foundation’s Grant Distribution Breakfast], it is a huge reminder of all of the wonderful work that is being done in this County by so many people,” said Ms. Adkins. “Thank you again to the Foundation. You are doing amazing work!”
Lastly, Brenda Spivey, a past victim of domestic violence, spoke about her experience with Family Shelter Service and how the organization changed her life. Ms. Spivey explained that when she was being stalked and harassed, she did not know how to ask for help, but that those at Family Shelter Service knew how to give it, and never asked her for anything in return. By providing her with support, safety and practical assistance, including helping her in court, Family Shelter Service made it possible for Ms. Spivey to attain a new life without violence.
Ms. Spivey is the founder of Women Implementing a Spirit of Excellence (W.I.S.E.), a support group at Calvary Church in Naperville that provides encouragement and hope to the victims of domestic abuse. She has also earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Women’s Issues from DePaul University.
“I so appreciate what . . . The DuPage Community Foundation [is] doing, and I consider myself blessed to have been [at the Grant Distribution Breakfast],” said Ms. Spivey. “Any day that I can help make a positive difference in the lives of others is a good day. After a long association with Family Shelter Service and speaking on this cause, I have come to a place where I can share my experience without gory details. However, for my final project at DePaul for my B.A., I completed a work of non-fiction, a memoir. It has been reviewed by my professional and academic advisors who insist I pursue publishing. After five years of being fearful, I have made up my mind to do just that. I believe that my story will help others, and I am no longer afraid. Thank you for the grant to Family Shelter Service. Thank you for all you do ‘to raise the quality of life throughout DuPage County.'”
This past December, as part of its Fall Community Needs Cycle, the Foundation awarded more than $183,000 in grants to 30 DuPage County not-for-profits working in the areas of arts and culture, education, and the environment. In addition to grants from its Community Needs Cycles, the Foundation awards grants from its donor-advised and other restricted funds throughout the year. It has granted more than $16 million since its inception.
To view additional photos from the Grant Breakfast, please visit The DuPage Community Foundation’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TheDuPageCommunityFoundation.
About The DuPage Community Foundation:
The DuPage Community Foundation seeks to raise the quality of life throughout DuPage County by fostering philanthropy, connecting donors to area needs and building community partnerships. Based on the American virtues of volunteerism and philanthropy, the Foundation fosters a legacy of support for the people of DuPage County by making grants to not-for-profit organizations working in the areas of arts and culture, education, environment, health, and human services. Since its inception, the Foundation has built its endowment to more than $48 million and awarded more than $16 million in grants to not-for-profit agencies serving the residents of DuPage County and beyond.
Established in 1986, The DuPage Community Foundation is a publicly-supported 501(c)(3) organization to which contributions are tax deductible. It was created to benefit the people of DuPage County and receives contributions and bequests into a permanent endowment from individuals, corporations, organizations and foundations wishing to make lasting contributions to the people of DuPage. The earnings on these funds are then used, in accordance with donor wishes, for the Foundation’s grant making and community leadership activities.