On July 11, 2012, Marion Ruthig had an idea for a website that would connect people with the nonprofit agencies who need their support.
What a difference a year makes.
Today, the former accountant is at the helm of I Support Community, an online tool that gives charitable organizations a voice through video storytelling.
"I Support Community is a way that helps them connect; a tool they can use to find causes they want to get involved in," said Ruthig, of Naperville. "Through the video stories, users really make a connection that aligns with what interests them."
Since launching the site in December, it's been Ruthig's mission to make giving -- and giving back -- easy and accessible.
Ruthig said often people who want to get involved with a charitable cause don't know where to start. In turn, nonprofit organizations often have trouble reaching potential donors and volunteers because of tight budgets and small staffs.
That's where I Support Community offers a solution. Today, 10 nonprofits have a video platform, and a host of others will soon join the site.
"My goal is for everyone who sees the videos on our site to help spread awareness about these organizations, donate to them, or get involved somehow," she said. "I Support Community is really an extension of the nonprofits."
Philanthropy has never been easier, according to Lois Szalinski, who is a frequent visitor to the website.
"I believe people all across the nation realize that there is need - real need - all around us," said Szalinski. "The needs, however, are so great and varied, that it becomes difficult to discern where to give and if that organization is legitimately providing the assistance and services it proclaims. This is why I love I Support Community."
Szalinski said she appreciates the wealth of information that's available to peruse from the comfort of her own home.
"I can visit the site and learn about some wonderful organizations and the good works they perform daily," she said. "This site inspires you to get involved, and you can do so with confidence as the research into the group has been done for you."
I Support Community bridges the gap between those who want to support a nonprofit organization, and the agencies who so need that support.
"I Support Community has created wonderful videos featuring our programs, volunteers and clients so it is another way to gain exposure and donors for Naperville CARES," said Janet Derrick, Naperville CARES executive director. "We are always looking to partner with other community agencies that will help us serve our clients."
To celebrate the one year anniversary of the idea that launched I Support Community, Ruthig is hosting "Cause-A-Palooza" in partnership with the Real Housewives of Naperville on July 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Wise Boxer Pour House (formerly Black Finn), 16 W. Jefferson Ave. in Naperville.
The event, featuring live music and appetizers, will benefit I Support Community's mission. Tickets are $20 online, $25 at the door. To learn more, visit www.isupportcommunity.org
If you go:
What: Real Housewives of Naperville and I Support Community present Cause-A-Palooza
When: July 11 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Where: The Wise Boxer Pour House (formerly Black Finn), 16 W. Jefferson Ave. in Naperville
Why: To raise funds and awareness for I Support Community
Tickets: $20 online, $25 at the door and include appetizers and live music. Cash bar available.
Visit www.isupportcommunity.org and click on Cause-A-Palooza.
Can't make it? There are still ways to help! Promote the event on your social media, tell others about I Support Community and make a donation online.