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posted: 9/14/2012 5:18 PM

Donations help Kane CASA Garden go 'over and beyond'

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  • Work is nearly done on the CASA Kane County Healing Garden in downtown Geneva. The group is hoping to raise $1 million for an endowment fund through the garden. The garden is also a place for court personnel and community members to relax.

       Work is nearly done on the CASA Kane County Healing Garden in downtown Geneva. The group is hoping to raise $1 million for an endowment fund through the garden. The garden is also a place for court personnel and community members to relax.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 

The CASA Kane County "Grow A Healthy Child Garden" on the west side of the Third Street courthouse in Geneva is moving along and could be done in a week, officials said Friday.

CASA will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. Sept. 28 at the 4,100-square-foot garden and there are still chances for people and groups to buy bricks or name a bench.

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The project is part of the group's effort to raise money for a $1.5 million endowment fund.

Gloria Bunce, executive director at CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates (for children), said organizers hope the garden will be a safe, quiet place for people to relax and reflect. She said a lot of groups and businesses provided in-kind donations to make the garden a reality.

"One of the greatest things we do as an organization is being able to work with such giving people in the community who go over and beyond to make this project a reality," Bunce said.

CASA Kane County will mark its 25th year in 2013 and officials hope commemorative bricks and naming benches at the garden will help the group reach the $1 million mark for its endowment.

Hitting seven figures will trigger a $500,000 donation from the Dunham Fund, which has pledged $100,000 and 40 cents for every $1 raised up to $1 million, or an additional $400,000. So far, CASA is at about $700,000.

Even though the court advocates are volunteers, Bunce said the group still needs funding for a limited staff, insurance and intensive training and background checks for each advocate. A difficult financial year for a large donor or a rained-out golf fundraiser can have a large impact on CASA.

"One of the challenges in an organization like CASA is we are 100 percent privately funded," she said.

"What we are trying to do is make sure that we have some financial stability in case of these emergencies."

Construction on the garden began in early July and could wrap up by Sept. 21 or 24, Bunce said.

Bunce said CASA has about 220 Kane County volunteers who are everyday residents appointed by judges to advocate for the safety and well-being of children who have been removed from their homes because of parental abuse or neglect.

"We see 500 kids each year, and the demand isn't going away," Bunce said.

For more information on how to make a tax-deductible donation, buy a brick or name a bench, call Vicki Shaw, CASA manager of Annual Giving. at (630) 444-3100 or 232-4484, or visit casakanecounty.org.

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