DeKALB – DeKalb County’s nonprofit organizations are hoping there is strength, and financial resources, in numbers.
The DeKalb Public Library unveiled its Philanthropy Center on Tuesday, a resource center aimed at helping nonprofits find grant providers, foundations and other resources to help bolster their finances in light of the struggling economy and dwindling state and federal grants.
The center, located in the Reference Room on the library’s main floor, features print resources, magazines and electronic databases from the Foundation Center, the leading global source of philanthropy information. It is also supported by the Donors Forum, a network that allows Illinois nonprofits to collaborate, share best practices and network.
Jason Nicol, executive director of the Youth Service Bureau, said access to the Foundation Center’s electronic databases and subscriptions to magazines and journals often are out of individual agencies’ budgets. He said costs of those materials can reach close to $5,000.
“We had nowhere near the kind of funds to access these resources, so this brings a huge asset,” Nicol said. “We knew we needed to diversify our funding.”
The library donated space and will provide training sessions on how to use the resources to social service agencies and the public. Much of the funding for the resources was provided by a new collaboration called DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership.
The partnership pulls together resources from DeKalb County nonprofits to reduce the cost of training, seminars and other necessities.
Nicol said early membership fees helped pay for the roughly $3,800 in raw materials and electronic databases for the Philanthropy Center.
Debbie Madeley, marketing director at the Kishwaukee Family YMCA, was one of about 30 people who attended a demonstration on how to use the databases Tuesday.
Madeley said finding foundations to support programs is difficult and time-consuming, so it is helpful to have access to a tool that shows regional and national options.
“It’s a huge endeavor,” Madeley said of finding funding. “Now, we can come here and probably cut that workload in half.”
Sally DeFauw, a reference department assistant manager at the library, said individuals would also have access to the publications and databases because some grants and foundations offer awards to individuals.
She said the library would hold at least two workshops each year to teach the public how to use the tools.
Tuesday’s turnout showed there is a need for the service in the area.
“We have so many nonprofits that could certainly use the help,” she said. “Hopefully they can find new places they haven’t tapped for funding.”