History Center among more than 100 groups hoping for donations

May 1, 2019

DeKALB – Michelle Donahoe will help the DeKalb County History Center partake in its first Give DeKalb County Day on Thursday.

The 24-hour charitable giving day is coordinated by the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership, a program of the DeKalb County Community Foundation. The event aims to attract donors with the addition of a bonus pool of funds, which are awarded to local organizations based on the share of the total donations they receive. The bonus pool for this year is up to $60,000, according to the community foundation.

“It’s a day of generosity but also appreciation,” Donahoe said. “That’s something I’m really proud of, as someone who lives and works in DeKalb County. Instead of competing with each other [for funds], this is what happens when everyone works together.”

Money donated to the history center this year will go into the fledgling museum’s general fund, Donahoe said.

Donations can be made online by credit or debit card Thursday at GiveDeKalbCounty.org. The minimum online donation amount is $5. Donors also may choose to donate by cash or check at the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday.

Donahoe is executive director of the history center, which will bring together the collections of the former Sycamore History Museum and the Joiner History Room. The center is set to open in its new location at 1730 N. Main St. this month, with a grand opening planned for May 11.

Donahoe also serves on the board for the DeKalb County Community Foundation, and has helped organize the annual giving day since its inception in 2014. She’s the chairman of the planning committee for the all-day fundraiser.

Ben Bingle, director of the nonprofit partnership, said the day also serves to educate residents on the 100-plus participating organizations and the vital services they provide.

“One of my favorite bits of feedback from the donors is them saying, ‘I didn’t know these organizations existed,’ ” Bingle recalled. “Give DeKalb County is an incredible way to support our nonprofit sector, but also an opportunity to learn.”

In its first year, the fundraiser generated 873 donations for 37 participating nonprofits. Last year, the foundation processed 3,647 donations in 24 hours, Bingle said. Organizers are hopeful that the amount raised Thursday will eclipse last year’s record of almost $615,000.

“A common misconception is that you have to be wealthy to donate,” Bingle said. “We have children that come in with their piggy banks.”

To be eligible, organzations and funds must be registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that are based in or serve DeKalb County. There are more than 100 participating organizations this year. A list, and information about Give DeKalb County 2019, is available online at GiveDeKalbCounty.org, or by contacting Bingle at ben@dekalbccf.org or 815-748-5383.

In addition to growing the number of donors, organizers have been working to grow the bonus pool that is awarded to organizations based on donations.

This year, the event has 27 community partners that have donated bonus pool funds. There are also 17 media sponsors, including Shaw Media, which owns the Daily Chronicle, MidWeek and Valley Life newspapers.

Those interested can also follow Give DeKalb County on Facebook for updates and information.