MORRIS – This spring, the Community Foundation of Grundy County will celebrate its 20th anniversary.
It began life as the Morris Community Foundation, but quickly expanded to support organizations all over Grundy County.
This year, to recognize the milestone of operating for two decades, the organization will be giving out 20 grants of $1,000 to people nominated by the community.
“These grants are different from our regular grant programming,” said Julianne Buck, executive director of the foundation. “We will hand out 20 of those throughout the year.”
People will be able to nominate individuals who do work in the community, Buck said, and then donate to an organization in honor of that individual.
The form to nominate an individual for a 20th anniversary grant is on the foundation’s website at cfgrundycounty.com.
“I want to encourage people to start nominating,” she said.
The anniversary grant program is different from the regular one, Buck said, because those often are granted for specific goals or organizations with specific missions.
“This is more of a celebration of the good things that happen in our community,” Buck said.
Not every nonprofit group is eligible, but the simplest way to find out who qualifies and who doesn’t is to call Buck and ask, she said.
Nominations now are being accepted.
Keeping the farm
The foundation also is expecting to grow in assets this year.
In December, the foundation had about $9 million in assets, but after several large donations, Buck anticipated it would have about $12 million in assets by the end of the first quarter.
One of those donations is the Peg Davis farm near Kinsman. In years’ past, the foundation’s policy when it received real estate donations was to sell the land and put the money toward grants.
With the Davis farm, however, the foundation will keep the land, about 150 acres, and lease it out, with half of the income from the farm going toward grants in Seneca. Buck said she estimated it would be about $25,000 a year, but specifics would depend on the market each year.
“This is the first piece of real estate that we are going to keep,” Buck said.
One reason was to help keep Grundy County farmland locally owned instead of selling it to someone from outside the area.
It’s a policy the foundation will keep going forward, Buck said, but only for farmland that is donated.
Another large donation came from the estate of Mary Ann Sanford. Sanford died in November 2017.
Sanford was a Morris native and taught for years in the Chicago suburbs.
That donation also includes farmland out of state to be sold.
“That is specifically for middle school enrichment programming and teenage youth programming,” Buck said.
The committees to help distribute the fund are convening, she said.
Later in the year, there will be a gala and recognition for people who helped start and grow the foundation.