SYCAMORE – More donors came together during this year’s Give DeKalb County event to raise more money by early Thursday evening than was raised altogether last year.
By 7 p.m. Thursday, more than $479,000 was raised in online and in-person donations by more than
1,800 donors for more than 90 organizations during this year’s event. Ben Bingle, director of the DeKalb County nonprofit partnership for the DeKalb County Community Foundation, said more than $465,000 was donated to more than 80 organizations last year.
Bingle said more than $106,000 was raised in walk-in donations at the DeKalb County Community Foundation building, 475 DeKalb Ave., by
3 p.m. Thursday. He said that amount by that time for this year’s event exceeded last year’s total in-person contributions of more than $100,000.
Bingle said he thinks the fifth annual event was outpacing last year’s because donors in the county are starting to recognize the annual event and more people were encouraged to get involved, either online or off.
Bingle said the event didn’t always include walk-in donations at the community foundation. But, he said, he’s glad they’re a staple of the event now.
“It allows us to see that generosity in person,” Bingle said.
Michelle Donahoe, executive director for the DeKalb County History Center, was one of the volunteers helping take in-person donations Thursday. She said the annual countywide fundraiser is a phenomenal opportunity for small organizations to raise money without having volunteers commit hours to sell tickets, put together food or set up decor for a traditional fundraiser.
Donahoe said the Sycamore History Museum, which she directed before the museum and the Joiner History Room combined to create the DeKalb County History Center in March, raised about $600 during the first Give DeKalb County event in 2014. By about
3:45 p.m. Thursday, she said, the Sycamore History Museum had more than $8,000 in donations.
Donahoe said she attributes the increase in donations over the years to more exposure for the event year after year.
“So there are very few people in DeKalb County that don’t know what today is,” Donahoe said.
Julie Eggleston, executive director for Kishwaukee Special Recreation Association, said a lot of families who register for events pay half of program fees because recreation isn’t usually a budgeting priority for those families. She said that scholarship funds to help with those registration fees are made up entirely of donations and that Give DeKalb County helps with that significantly.
“So we never have to say there’s not enough money for our families,” Eggleston said.
Bingle said the annual event has raised more than $1.2 million dollars for community nonprofits since the first year of the event. This year’s total can be seen at givedekalbcounty.org.
Sally Stevens of DeKalb, who walked in with donations Thursday, said she has given money to local organizations through the Give DeKalb County event every year since it began. But, she said, she has been an active philanthropist for most of her life.
“This is easy for me to do, and I love doing it,” Stevens said.