Ushering In 2021

Deborah Thielen, Executive Director

We could have never guessed as we entered 2020 what it had in store for us, but McHenry County answered every challenge with compassion and grit. When a pandemic brought its worst, our communities responded with their best. The generosity of our donors proved that no matter how overwhelming the trial, it does not render us powerless. Instead of turning away from charitable giving in the face of a health and economic crisis, it was the first place many people turned – by reaching out to us and saying, “How can I help?”. 

Here are some of the highlights of how The Foundation lived our mission of “connecting people who care with causes that matter” in 2020. 

  • Doubled our assets since 2014, putting us in the top 5% of growth compared to all 850 community foundations in the United States.
  • Alongside United Way of Greater McHenry County, raised over $725,000 for The McHenry County COVID-19 Response Fund which helped sustain 29 local charitable organizations serving on the frontlines of the pandemic.
  • Awarded approximately $2 million to charitable organizations in McHenry County.
  • Received more than $5 million designated by donors for charitable endowments and scholarships. 
  • Moved to our new permanent home at 33 E Woodstock Street in downtown Crystal Lake.
  • Welcomed Dr. Rocio Del Castillo and Stacy Brown to our Board of Directors.
  • Recognized three emeritus board members – Barb Oughton, Vern Schiller and Susan Schott by donating to Gigi’s Playhouse and Environmental Defenders – the charities of their choice.
  • Created the Philanthropy Center – which will open in 2021 - to engage community members and charitable organizations in Philanthropy.
  • Welcomed Lyndsey Thompson, Director of Program Services to our team to work closely with charitable organizations on the grant process and scholarships.
  • Forged new partnerships and collaborations by awarding three Transformational Grants.
  • Selected Exemplar as our new investment management partner.
  • Started a volunteer program.

While uncertainty will continue over the next several months, we take comfort in knowing that you have our back. We have much work ahead of us and can’t do it without your support. Please consider making a donation to The Foundation so we can continue serving our friends and neighbors in McHenry County. 

Thank you, and Happy 2021!