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Community Foundation doing its part during difficult 2013

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

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As 2013 comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on all that has happened in 2013 in my role as program director for the Community Foundation of Grundy County.

Through our unrestricted grants the Community Foundation has been able to provide grants to several 501c3 organizations including: Morris Hospital Foundation, We Care of Grundy County, Grundy County Historical Society, Grundy Community Volunteer Hospice, Operation St. Nick, ATI Foundation, First Presbyterian Church, village of Mazon, Operation Care Package, Good Shepherd Manor, Morris Mobil Meals and Guardian Angel. In addition to our unrestricted grants, the foundation has made a countless number of grants to 501c3 organizations from donor advised funds.

Sadly, Grundy County was hit with two major disasters in 2013, the April flood and the November tornado. The Community Foundation partnered with We Care, Operation St. Nick, United Way of Grundy County and several private donors in order to provide mini-grants to victims of both disasters. For the mini-grants for the Diamond tornado victims, the above agencies also partnered with the village of Diamond’s Disaster Fund established at Mazon State Bank. These mini-grants were meant to provide immediate financial assistance to those affected and were not based on income.

In July, we again partnered with the United Way, Morris Lions, Morris Hospital, We Care, Operation St. Nick, Keeping Your Kids in Shoes and many other local agencies to hold the 4th Annual Back to School Fair. The previous three years, this event was at First Christian Church in Morris. This year, the committee decided to change the location to make it more accessible for residents in the southern part of the county; therefore, we held the 2013 fair at the Coal City Early Childhood Center. This year we helped more than 250 children with their back to school needs. We are looking forward to planning the 2014 Back to School Fair.

Even the networks the foundation is involved with had great years. Grundy Partnership for Children (GPC) held the first ever Grundy Youth Forum in September, which focused on childhood trauma. The event drew in social workers, school personnel and early intervention therapists. It was a huge success; therefore, there is great potential for a 2014 event.

The Behavioral Health Alliance (BHA) began the year hosting a seminar on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The BHA brought in speakers to cover general PTSD, trauma in children, and PTSD in veterans. Over 80 individuals participated in this event.

In November BHA also hosted a working session for first responders, city officials and mental health providers around the issue of hoarding. The purpose of the working session was to discuss the issue of hoarding in Grundy County, current ordinances on the subject, and to provide information on how to help those we come in contact with who may have a hoarding issue. Because of positive feedback from attendees, BHA will continue to work on ways to collaborate with city and village officials, first responders, and mental health providers to assist residents with hoarding tendencies.

So as we leave 2013 behind, we at the Community Foundation of Grundy County are already beginning to look at how we can do things just a little better next year. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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