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DuPage Foundation Celebrates 35 Years of Raising the Quality of Life Throughout DuPage County

Foundation surpasses $125 million in assets and $60 million in cumulative grants

On September 30, 1986, The DuPage Community Foundation was officially introduced as the new charitable conduit for DuPage County, starting out with a $100,000 matching challenge grant as a donor-advised fund of The Chicago Community Trust. Thirty-five years later, DuPage Foundation’s total charitable capital has grown to more than $185 million, of which $60 million has been distributed in cumulative grants in support of the Foundation’s vision to raise the quality of life throughout DuPage County.

Within the last four years, the Foundation doubled its charitable impact, distributing $60 million in cumulative grants, compared to awarding $30 million in cumulative grants as 2017 came to a close. Since its inception in 1986, the Foundation distributed a total of 8,812 grants to 1,493 not-for-profit agencies serving the residents of DuPage County and beyond.

DuPage Foundation’s President & CEO Dave McGowan said, “As the Foundation celebrates its 35th anniversary, we are thrilled to reach a significant milestone regarding our total grant distribution as it speaks to the power of coordinated charitable giving. Through the vision of our founders and the generous contributions of our donors and community partners, the Foundation is proud to be DuPage County’s philanthropic leader.”

During the last decade, the Foundation’s total annual grant distributions have increased from $1.4 million in 2011 to more than $8.9 million today. Through the Community Needs Grant Program, special initiatives, donor-advised grants and designated grants, the Foundation is committed to supporting local not-for-profit organizations in all areas of service to help DuPage residents in need.

In 1987, the fifth grant awarded from the Foundation was for $10,000 to Family Shelter Service (FSS) for a counselor to help victims of domestic violence. FSS is now a program of Metropolitan Family Services DuPage (MFS). During the 2021 spring grant cycle of Community Needs, a $20,000 grant to MFS restricted for FSS is what pushed DuPage Foundation over the $60 million mark. 

Amy Milligan, domestic violence service director for MFS, said grants the organization received from the Foundation funded the shelter program in Downers Grove for several years and expansion into other areas. 

“We appreciate our relationship with the Foundation,” said Milligan. “It’s interesting to think about the length of time we’ve been connected and how much Family Shelter has grown over the years. We added many different programs and shelter locations, which we absolutely couldn’t have accomplished without this support.”

Grant funding from the Foundation has also helped MFS staff shelters and the critical help hotline, which is one of the most essential services they provide to the community.

“Myriad reasons motivate not-for-profit organizations to submit grant applications and the Foundation and our donors are proud to answer the call for assistance,” said Barb Szczepaniak, vice president for programs. “Whether it’s the ability to reach more people in the community, provide improved programming or just stay afloat with basic operations, our grant recipients are grateful to have the support they need to serve our neighbors.”

At the onset of the pandemic in 2020, DuPage Foundation promptly created a COVID-19 Response Fund to receive contributions from those looking to give locally during the global emergency.

“The pandemic only added to the regular struggles some people were already facing,” added Szczepaniak. “We have a great sense of responsibility to respond during times of crisis as the need for help is amplified.”

Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors, the Foundation raised and granted nearly $1.8 million to not-for-profit organizations in DuPage County over six rounds of grantmaking.

What started as a $50,000 permanent endowment from The Chicago Community Trust in 1986 has grown into $125 million in charitable assets under management. With favorable market conditions and gracious donors who want to make a difference in DuPage, the Foundation doubled its assets in the last five years.

“Part of the Foundation’s ongoing strategic plan is to grow our endowment to expand our role as the County’s philanthropic leader,” said McGowan. “With increased capital, the Foundation can broaden the scope of our services, build additional community initiatives and provide greater support to not-for-profit organizations.”

Founders of DuPage Foundation built momentum around the desire to create an environment of community giving and, for 35 years, the Foundation’s vision and mission have remained the same.

“Reflecting on the Foundation’s beginnings is truly inspiring,” added McGowan. “Without knowing its potential, the Foundation was a dream of three local residents who came together and took their passion for helping others to create a vehicle to connect donors to local causes. Combining the charitable goals of our generous donors and the expert advice of our affiliated professional advisors, DuPage Foundation is poised to have an exponential impact on serving the growing needs in our community and beyond.”

DuPage Foundation’s Board of Trustees, committee members, volunteers and staff are proud to celebrate these milestones with our community and advance the efforts of doing a world of good in our own backyard.®

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