Our Community’s Stories
Volunteer Center McHenry County
Volunteer Center McHenry County’s mission is to build the capacity of nonprofits. They do that in many ways, but one of their most profound efforts is by bringing affordable, high-quality educational workshops to the community. Their partnership with Northern Illinois University and circle of talented local experts (like Bobbi Baehne of Think Big Go Local pictured below) provide invaluable knowledge to help charitable organizations grow and move forward in their missions.
Interested in learning more about their educational offerings and other services? Visit volunteercentermchenrycounty.org.
Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley
Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley’s nine home build on McHenry Avenue is providing housing to families in Crystal Lake. Each home is a little different, but each features a beautiful front porch.
According to their Executive Director Barb Beckman, “Porches welcome people not only into your home but into your life – they are a place for conversation…It is my hope that by building porches our partner families will be better rooted in the community.”
Project Manager Dan Jensen has been involved with Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley for over 25 years. His home designs are unique and welcoming, and he always finds a way to include one of his signature archways in each home. Dan explains, “I am fueled by serving people, serving with the skills that God has given me. I am confident that we are changing the trajectory of the lives of the families we partner with. We also facilitate a way for the community to come together to make positive changes. Everyone needs a home.”
Tracy is a single mom to her three daughters, Ava (10), Emma (12), and Cailey (21). They’re so thrilled to be moving into a house at Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley’s Fox Valley Farm project! Tracy gave The CFMC a tour and beamed with pride as she explained exactly where she plans to put a family tree in her new forever home. Tracy and her family will have put in over 250 hours of sweat equity building her home and others on the project before they purchase the house. And the principal she pays to H4H NFV will go to help fund more homes. Tracy plans to keep volunteering and helping other families to also find a stable, safe home.
To Tracy, a single mom to three daughters, the home she’s building through Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley is nothing short of a blessing. She says it’s a game-changer for her. This home will provide stability for her family and allow them to really be part of a community. “They tell the volunteers that you’re not just building a house, you’re building a home,” says Tracy. “I feel that when I’m here.” Tracy looks forward to continuing to give back as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer and hopes to assist other single mothers to find forever homes like hers.
Left to Right: Project Manager Dan, Home Buyer Tracy, Executive Director Barb, and Development Manager Kim stand on the front porch of Tracy’s forever home.
Project Manager Dan showcases one of his signature archways at one of the new homes in the Fox Valley Farm project.
Habitat for Humanity
Tracy is a single mom to her three daughters, Ava (10), Emma (12), and Cailey (21). They’re so thrilled to be moving into a house at Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley’s Fox Valley Farm project! Tracy beamed with pride as she explained exactly where she plans to put a family tree in her new forever home. Tracy and her family will have put in over 250 hours of sweat equity building her home and others on the project before they purchase the house. And the principal she pays to Habitat for Humanity will go to help fund more homes. Tracy plans to keep volunteering and helping other families to also find a stable, safe home.
When it comes to protecting our planet, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County know the best place to start is at home. Not only do they create local awareness of environmental issues, but they mobilize regional “action teams” to conserve resources and reduce waste.
A recent $15,200 grant from the Community Foundation for McHenry County is helping Environmental Defenders members establish greener practices, products and spaces to support a healthier planet and community. Their efforts are especially evident in the business community as they collaborate to inspire real change.
Take for instance, Silver Prairie Natural Soap Company, which strives to provide package-free homemade products like bar shampoos—eliminating the need for plastic packaging that requires energy to recycle and often ends up in landfills.
Initiatives like this prove that eco-friendly practices can also be business-friendly practices—while paving the way for a brighter and greener future for McHenry County!
Breaking Down Barriers with Girl Power
The Community Foundation for McHenry County helps open doors to all girls
Those familiar with Girls on the Run (GOTR) know their program is about so much more than running.
“It’s the social-emotional learning that’s really making a difference in these girls’ lives,” explained Laurie Dayon, Executive Director of the Northwest Illinois chapter.
In recent years, Laurie and her team launched an adaptive program for GOTR.
“GOTR is meant for every girl who wants to participate,” she said, adding the adaptive program empowers girls with varying physical, emotional and developmental needs to benefit from the curriculum. The program offers specialized instruction for parents and volunteer coaches and includes helpful tools, from an alternate race course to a mobile sensory room.
Recently, The Community Foundation for McHenry County awarded GOTR with a $15,000 grant, which is helping their team fully integrate the adaptive program and update their marketing and images to showcase the remarkable and diverse group of girls who now take part in the program.
“We want everyone represented,” said Laurie.
This is not the first time The Community Foundation for McHenry County supported Girls on the Run
“The very first grant I ever wrote was to the Foundation,” Laurie said, adding they approved the grant. “That was validation that a group of people actually cared about what we were doing.”
Laurie is thankful to all the donors who support the Foundation in “connecting people who care with causes that matter.”
“Thank you so much for your generous gift of $2,000 from the Give360 program. The Family Health Partnership Clinic provides high quality health care to the uninsured and under insured of the McHenry County area. With a small staff and over 30 volunteer physicians, we are able to provide care to over 2,000 individuals throughout the year. We are so honored to be a part of this program and we congratulate The Community Foundation on having the foresight to craft a way to make everyone a philanthropist!”
Executive Director - Family Health Partnership Clinic
“The donation from GIVE360 was a BIG deal for our mentoring mission. It was an unexpected boost that allowed us to match more children with caring mentors. Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County is based on the power of one person making a difference."
Executive Director - Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County
Become a philanthropist through the Foundation. Small amounts, given regularly create a sustainable fund for giving in the county. You can make a difference by "stepping into" the GIVE360 Circle.
“Our GIVE360 Grant was a wonderful surprise and came at the perfect time. We use the money to replenish our fund that provides financial assistance to clients enrolled in our therapeutic riding program. Nearly a third of the riders in our program lack the financial resources to pay even a nominal fee for our services."
It's not to late to Step Into The Circle and join the GIVE360 program!