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Article updated: 12/9/2012 4:45 PM

CASA Kane County nears end of $1M endowment quest

By Harry Hitzeman

CASA Kane County is going right to the wire in its mission to raise $1 million for an endowment, and in the process secure $500,000 from a St. Charles grant.

CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, still needs about $240,000 to hit its goal, Executive Director Gloria Bunce said.

"We're going to give it the old college try until the end of the year," she said.

In the attempt to hit $1 million, CASA has held numerous fundraisers, the largest of which was a community garden on the west side of the Third Street Courthouse in downtown Geneva. The garden was completed last summer using mostly in-kind donations. Bricks, pavers, and benches are available for purchase and naming.

Expenditures are tax deductible. More information is available at casakanecounty.org or by calling (630) 232-4484.

The Dunham Fund gave CASA a $100,000 grant and said it would match 40 cents for every dollar CASA raised up to $1 million for an additional $400,000. If CASA doesn't hit $1 million, however, it doesn't mean the group will get nothing. Dunham will still award the grant money proportionally. If CASA raises $800,000, for example, it would receive $320,000 out of the possible $400,000.

"I have an amazing team," Bunce said. "It has been an overwhelming success. I am so proud of the people who helped make this possible. I think we can all sleep well at night with what we did, especially in this economic environment."

CASA is a volunteer organization that doesn't receive state or government funding. It provides specially trained people to act as advocates for children who are abused and neglected in their homes.

Rotary Clubs in Batavia, Carpentersville and Elgin recently donated $4,250 for CASA's suitcase initiative, which is an ongoing effort to buy suitcases and other items for children who must move out of their homes and into foster homes.

Many of the children and teens are moved from one temporary housing unit to another, and are sometimes forced to carry their few belongings in a plastic trash bag.

Watch out for scams: The St. Charles police are warning residents to be wary of scams designed to rip off people either by mail or computer.

The first scam, police said, occurred within the last two weeks when a resident got a check declaring him the "winner" of a United Kingdom and North American Shoppers Sweepstakes. The notice claimed that $3,750 was taken out of the man's winnings and mailed to him to help pay for taxes and processing fees. He was told to cash the check and wire the money back to receive a check for the remaining amount of $150,000. The man recognized it was a scam and reported it.

The second involved a woman who applied for a loan online. After she applied, she starting getting phone calls from other "payday loan" companies, police said. One company called Rapid Cash in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., told the woman they could approve her loan easier and quicker.

She did as told and lost $753.

hhitzeman@dailyherald.com

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