Transforming Gratitude Into Goodwill

By Marcey Ciaccio, Interim Executive Director, The Community Foundation for McHenry County

As we approach another busy holiday season, I hope you’re able to find time to pause and reflect on the things you are most thankful for.  Oftentimes, our biggest blessings are the ones we’ve grown accustomed to –family, friends, a roof over our heads, food security, steady income and healthcare access.

The irony is that between a jam-packed schedule, an onslaught of retailers vying for our attention and a ever-growing shopping list, it’s easy for our focus to stray away from these simple, “everyday blessings” that make this time of year so special.

As you take time to reflect, I invite you to transform your gratitude for everyday blessings into goodwill to our community by including The Community Foundation in your end-of-year giving plan.

The Community Foundation strives to “connect people who care with causes that matters.” And by giving to the Foundation, we recognize the blessings we are accustomed to may be out of reach for others—but together, we’re changing that.

Thanks to your generosity, our grant program has expanded as a robust and diverse community resource for local nonprofits and individuals. In 2022, we awarded over 90 competitive grants including:

3 Transformational Grants totaling $206,600. Introduced in 2020, these ground-breaking grants represent the Foundations single largest, annual grants, because big change requires big support. This year’s grant recipients include:

  • One Million Monarchs: $60,800 for “Supporting Grieving Teens” to expand counseling services, group and parental support groups and grief retreats.
  • Harvard Community Senior Center: $75,000 for “Reducing Health Disparities through Cultivating Health Ministries” to reduce health disparities by expanding access to screenings, education, support and community care through area churches.
  • Land Conservancy of McHenry County: 70,800 for “Raices Latinas” to provide education while celebrating the contributions of the Latinx community in shaping McHenry County’s rich agricultural history.

3 GIVE360 Awards totaling $15,000: Our Give360 members expanding their awareness of McHenry County’s many nonprofits and voted to support NAMI, McHenry County Conservation Foundation, and Gigi's Playhouse.

Scholarships totaling $48,000: These were awarded to 19 students seeking to further their education at 16 different schools, ranging from Bradley to Vanderbilt.

Mission Grants totaling $1,050,000: These grants are part of our fundamental goal to “connect people who care with causes that matter.”  This year, more than a million dollars was funneled into 66 our innovative nonprofits to serve our homeless population, support veterans, provide mental health solutions, help the sick and vulnerable, open doors for area youth and so much more.

I hope as you look forward to the holiday season and new year, you are fortunate enough to count family, friends, a warm home, full belly and good health among your “everyday blessings.”  After all, these are the things that matter.  These are the things for which we are thankful.  And what better way to show thanks than with helping those who need it most.

If you have any questions about donating to our Operating Fund or another cause important to you, we would be happy to assist you. Just contact The Community Foundation for McHenry County at 815-338-4483 or visit,