In May 2013, The Community Foundation began hosting a series of Focus Groups regarding the needs of our Veterans community. These Focus Groups included service providers and two groups of Veterans and their family members. At the end of those discussions, the following projects were selected for additional support each year:
Pay It Forward Book Fund – More than 250 student Veterans attend McHenry County Community College. Under the GI Bill, these Veterans receive reimbursement for textbooks and classroom supplies, but some of them are simply unable to purchase the necessary materials ahead of the start of class and get behind even before they begin. The Foundation started this fund to enable Veterans in need of prefunding dollars the opportunity to purchase the books and supplies needed, and upon receipt of their reimbursement check return the money. Note: While we expect the majority of the student Veterans to keep the spirit of the fund alive by reimbursing it, we understand this will not happen 100 percent of the time. Therefore, we also offer students the opportunity to donate volunteer time as reimbursement.
Sponsor a Laptop – During a conversation with student Veterans at McHenry County Community College, a need was expressed for laptops. Laptop computers are required for classwork today, and many of our Veterans cannot afford to purchase them – especially if one ceases to work mid-class. The Foundation is asking local businesses to sponsor a laptop by making a donation to purchase laptops, or to consider donating gently-used equipment during company upgrades. We were able to open the 2014-15 school year with $20,000 worth of laptops available to student Veterans in need, and thanks to ongoing support we continue the program every year.
If you and/or your business would like to support one of the Veterans Projects listed above, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your gift will immediately begin helping our US Military Veterans here in McHenry County.