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posted: 7/3/2013 11:15 AM

Nonprofit celebrates anniversary with Cause-A-Palooza

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  • Marion Ruthig, left, founder of I Support Community with IdaLynn Wenhold, executive director of KidsMatter in Naperville, one of the charities featured on the I Support Community website.

       Marion Ruthig, left, founder of I Support Community with IdaLynn Wenhold, executive director of KidsMatter in Naperville, one of the charities featured on the I Support Community website.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
By Judy Phillip
For I Support Community
Naperville resident Marion Ruthig had an idea On July 11, 2012 — to start a website that would connect peopl

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," Ruthig said. "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," Ruthig 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 from 6 to 9 p.m. July 11 at The Wise Boxer Pour House (formerly Black Finn), 16 W. Jefferson Ave., 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.

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