Michael Trench, CFWC Executive Director, and
Br. James Gaffney, FSC, CFWC Board Chairman, present a grant to Hester Bury of the Northern Illinois Food Bank to help build capacity of food pantries located in Bolingbrook, University Park, Il.

Will County, IL (October 2014) – At our fall reception, the Foundation awarded and presented $38,050 in grants to local nonprofit organizations working in the Foundation’s priority areas of health, human services and education. “This is the second year we were able to include the arts with a $5,000 grant from the Wadsworth Family –Will County Community Cultural Arts Endowment Fund.” noted Grant Committee Chairman, Larry Lorimor. The grants which ranged in value from $3,500-$13,500 totaled $43,050 in all.

Nonprofit organizations from around Will County apply for grants through The Community Foundation of Will County’s annual competitive grant program. In 2014, with more than $207,000 of funding requests received from 20 organizations, the Board of Directors had difficult decisions to make.

Community Leaders, Foundation donors, Trustees and other friends joined representatives from the recipient organizations at the reception on Wednesday, October 8th to celebrate the distribution of the grants and learn more about how they will be used to support the projects and initiatives of the various recipient organizations. Lewis University and Br. James Gaffney, FSC, CFWC Board Chairman and President of Lewis University, graciously sponsored and hosted the event.

The following is a list of the 2014 grant recipients and projects they will be implementing:

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet – Ensuring Optimal Meal Services to Daybreak Center Clients through Capital Improvements – $3,700 to replace Shepard’s Table dining room industrial dishwasher that is more than 25 years old and requires constant repairs. This dishwasher helps volunteers and staff provide meals for 200 people a day. Center for Correctional Concerns – Computers to support new requirements for GED – $13,500 to provide updated computers to be used to teach testing skills for online GED test. In 2013 CCC received a Community Foundation of Will County grant to implement a computer testing lab which enabled CCC to continue offering the GED test to detainees when the paper test was eliminated. Inside the Will County Adult Detention Center, classrooms are located within the “pods” where detainees live. Because detainees cannot be moved outside of their pod for classes, classrooms within 16 pods need to be supported with updated computers to prepare detainees for the new online GED test.

Easter Seals Joliet Region, Inc. –Will County Inclusion Health – $10,000 to implement two identified areas to promote inclusive health for people with disabilities in Will County. 1) training of frontline health care workers (nursing students at University of St. Francis, Lewis University, and Joliet Junior College). 2) implementation of media messaging and photo voice toolkit. Easter Seals is acting as the lead partner in the Inclusion Health Coalition for the Will County area. The CORE partners for the coalition include: YMCA, Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living, Presence St. Joseph Medical Center, Will County Health Department MAPP, and Easter Seals Joliet Region. This project is being implemented by the Inclusion Health Coalition.

Heart Haven Outreach – Snack Track and Tutor Tablets – $3,500 to provide tablets to be used in new “Snack Attack and Tutor” program as well as new “Mentoring” program allowing the tutors and mentors flexibility while working with the high school student in Bolingbrook and Romeoville to advance their math and reading skills.

Northern Illinois Food Bank – Capacity Building for Network Partners – $7,350 to purchase various refrigeration and equipment to increase capacity and distribution of more nutritious food to Will County resident through the following network partners: New Song-Seed of Hope Food Pantry (Bolingbrook), Pilgrimage Protestant Food Pantry (University Park), Plainfield Area Interfaith Food Pantry (Plainfield).

Will-Joliet Bicentennial Park, Inc.- Will-Joliet Bicentennial Park Youth Drama Programs – $5,000 –to provide support for Youth Drama Classes that are designed to give every child a chance to succeed, including children with special needs. This grant was funded by the Wadsworth Family – Will County Community Cultural Arts Endowment Fund.

Since its inception, the Foundation has built its assets to over $2.5 million and awarded more than $900,000 in grants through the competitive grant program. In addition, $350,000 in grants have been made by donors who have established Funds with us, bringing the total distributions into the community to over $1.2 million in grants to nonprofit agencies serving the residents of Will County and beyond.