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McHenry County charity honors local philanthropists

McHenry County Community Foundation awards $19,000 in grants to area nonprofits

Russ and Sara Foszcz of Richmond were honored Wednesday as the McHenry County Community Foundation’s 2017 Philanthropists of the Year. They are pictured with Amanda Harmer of Woodstock North High School. As Philanthropists of the Year, they have the opportunity to direct a grant of $1,500 to the organization of their choice. They chose the high school's Miguel Rodriguez Scholarship to be the recipient of the funds.
Russ and Sara Foszcz of Richmond were honored Wednesday as the McHenry County Community Foundation’s 2017 Philanthropists of the Year. They are pictured with Amanda Harmer of Woodstock North High School. As Philanthropists of the Year, they have the opportunity to direct a grant of $1,500 to the organization of their choice. They chose the high school's Miguel Rodriguez Scholarship to be the recipient of the funds.

LAKE IN THE HILLS – The McHenry County Community Foundation awarded thousands of dollars to county nonprofits and named two residents philanthropists of the year.

The McHenry County charity hosted its annual GIVE360 Reception on Wednesday at the Boulder Ridge Country Club in Lake in the Hills, naming Russ and Sara Foszcz Philanthropists of the Year and awarding $19,000 in grants, according to a news release from the foundation.

“As we look ahead to the giving season, it’s an appropriate time to express our gratitude to Russ and Sara’s years of service to the county, as well as to the many GIVE360 philanthropists who have confidence that their donations to the McHenry County Community Foundation will support causes that are meaningful to them,” executive director Robin Doeden said in a statement.

The Foszczes have spent decades volunteering and pursuing philanthropy in McHenry County. Sara founded Main Stay Therapeutic Farm in 1987 to serve clients with physical, developmental, cognitive or emotional needs through therapeutic horseback riding.

Russ has held leadership roles with numerous nonprofit agencies. He also is the founder of MC NPO Technical Support Inc., which provides affordable technology service and consulting to nonprofit agencies.

“We are honored and humbled by this award from the McHenry County Community Foundation,” Russ said.

The two also give to the Family Health Partnership Clinic, The Land Conservancy of McHenry County, Mental Health Resource League for McHenry County, Food Shed Co-op, Turning Point of McHenry County and countless other organizations.

“Volunteering and supporting the people who work on behalf of those in need gives Russ and me great fulfillment and a deeper connection to our county,” Sara said. “While it’s wonderful to receive this recognition, giving back brings us a lot of joy and is something we absolutely love to do.”

In addition to announcing philanthropists of the year, the foundation hosted members of the 2017 GIVE360 Circle and announced the eight McHenry County nonprofits to benefit from the yearlong giving campaign.

GIVE360 is a unique membership model that directs donors’ gifts evenly into two distinct areas: a giving pool and an endowment, according to the release. It allows emerging philanthropists to have a collective effect on McHenry County.

The 2017 GIVE360 giving pool allows for nonprofit grants totaling $19,000 and $18,500 distributed to the GIVE360 Endowment Fund for a total of $37,000 in contributions. In its three years of existence, the GIVE360 Endowment Fund has grown to nearly $60,000.

“The GIVE360 campaign is an easy and flexible way for individuals to donate funds and to have a local impact and help fellow county residents in need,” Doeden said.

Main Stay Therapeutic Farm, TLS Veterans, CASA of McHenry County, Family Health Partnership Clinic, Crystal Lake Food Pantry, Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County, Harvard Rotary Club and The Land Conservancy all received grants.

“Many local residents lack the means to make $19,000 in gifts annually, yet through the GIVE360 program, that is exactly what they are doing,” Doeden said. “Together, members of GIVE360 decide which nonprofits will receive grants each year, and collectively, they each sign the checks that are distributed. GIVE360 is a simple solution to making a huge impact in the county they love.”

GIVE360 also is designed to nurture a new generation of McHenry County philanthropists who can give small amounts on a regular basis to make a sustainable fund for giving to county nonprofits.

“The Give 360 program is a very good entry-level philanthropy tool,” said Scott McClain, McHenry County Community Foundation Board chairman. “It introduces people to more county nonprofits than they may be aware of.”

For information about the foundation, call 815-338-4483 or visit www.mccfdn.org.

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