How you can help DuPage charities on #GivingTuesday
Everywhere we turn this time of year, we're reminded it's the "season of giving."
Today, the #GivingTuesday movement urges us to extend our charity beyond trading pretty parcels with family and friends. On #GivingTuesday, we can make life better for our neighbors and those who need a hand.
The movement began in 2012 on social media with the idea that people could accomplish a lot for the greater good if charity had an unofficial holiday similar to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For the fourth year, #GivingTuesday designates the Tuesday following Thanksgiving to supporting nonprofit organizations.
Groups throughout DuPage County are joining the movement. Even park districts are participating; the Wheaton Park District, for example, encourages those in the giving spirit to donate to the Cosley Zoo Foundation, the DuPage Historical Museum Foundation and the Play for All Playground and Garden Foundation.
Some nonprofits have special plans for the donations they hope to receive. Glen Ellyn-based Bridge Communities aims to raise $4,550 on #GivingTuesday, enough to provide one night of housing next year for each of the 130 families the organization serves.
Loaves and Fishes Community Services has set a goal of raising $200,000 on #GivingTuesday through individual donations and matching grants of $65,000 from two sources. The money would help the organization provide fresh eggs, milk and other foods for children in DuPage County, as well as help expand the Infant Care Initiative to provide expectant mothers with prenatal vitamins, supplemental nutrition and educational materials.
Like Loaves and Fishes, the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association has secured matching funds from the Coleman Foundation to support its sports, recreation and social programs for people with physical and developmental disabilities. The philanthropy will double all gifts from new donors on Tuesday and likewise will match the amounts previous donors give beyond their contributions last year.
Meanwhile, an association of Illinois nonprofit organizations, philanthropic groups and public agencies is teaming up for #ILGive, an effort to raise $6 million for social impact organizations statewide on #GivingTuesday. Through the ilgive.com website, donors can connect with an extensive list of organizations at work in Illinois.
Those looking for charities and organizations striving to improve life in DuPage County may find their match through Giving DuPage. The county agency pairs nonprofits with donors and volunteers throughout the year and each April organizes the Human Race, a fundraising 5K that benefits more than 60 smaller charities as runners select which nonprofit their money goes to.
To get you started, we offer these groups for your consideration. Some are well-known with a national or international reach. Others are much smaller, run by a few dedicated volunteers committed to solving a problem one person at a time. Each has been featured on our pages in the past year as we've highlighted the impact they've had on DuPage residents.
Mission: To eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research, to provide advanced care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.
Programs: The association offers support for patients and caregivers through a help line, local support groups, online discussions and more.
• The association is the largest funder of Alzheimer's research.
• The association advocates for policies and legislation on behalf of patients and caregivers.
Fundraiser: Walk to End Alzheimer's in September in Naperville
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Mission: To reduce the loss of life by suicide and to support those who have lost someone to suicide.
Programs: The foundation funds scientific research, offers educational programs for professionals, educates the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention, promotes appropriate public policy and legislation, and provides programs for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk.
Location: New York; Illinois chapter based in Highland Park
Fundraiser: Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Community Walk in September in Chicago
Bartlett Learning Center
Mission: To help learning disabled and developmentally disabled youth and adults become self-sufficient and self-directed in the areas of personal growth, education and social and emotional well-being, as well as functional living skills and vocational training
Programs: Clare Woods Academy in Wheaton is a private therapeutic day school for ages 3 to 22. In addition to the education program, services include occupational therapy, speech/language services, and counseling.
• Cupertino Home is a group home for men with developmental challenges.
Location: Based in Wheaton
Reach: Chicago suburbs
Fundraiser: The Human Race in April
#GivingTuesday: Donations will help fund a school bus
Mission: To end homelessness in DuPage County by providing housing coupled with support services and employment.
Programs: Overnight shelters, staffed by volunteers, provide emergency housing every night year round.
• The Client Service Center offers clients help with basic needs, counseling and mentoring, connections to medical services and substance abuse treatment programs, as well as lunch, and laundry and shower facilities.
• At the Employment and Education Center, clients can work with case managers to obtain their GED or improve their literacy or computer skills, develop their job-hunting and workforce skills, seek jobs with PADS' employment partners, and learn money management techniques.
• The Permanent Supportive Housing Program has 76 apartments throughout the county to provide homes for the chronically homeless who have a demonstrated history of mental or physical disability or substance abuse while the clients receive services.
Reach: DuPage County
Fundraisers: Taste of Hope in March; PADS Run/Walk in September; Wake Up Your Spirit breakfast in October
Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago
Mission: To lead the fight to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy.
Programs: The foundation offers counseling, advocacy and educational services to people with epilepsy, their families and the communities in which they live.
Fundraiser: Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago 5K Run/Walk in April in Wheaton
Greater Chicago Fragile X
Mission: To enrich lives through educational and emotional support, promote public and professional awareness, and advance research toward improved treatments and a cure for Fragile X.
Programs: The National Fragile X Foundation, which includes chapters such as Greater Chicago Fragile X, offers support for families, from helping them find a doctor to securing educational resources.
• The national foundation funds research and supports clinical trials of therapies and interventions.
• Greater Chicago Fragile X hosts education seminars as well as awareness, advocacy, fundraising and family events throughout the Chicago area.
Reach: Chicago area
Fundraiser: Supported by participants in the Naperville Half-Marathon in November.
Mission: To provide classical Christian education to home-schooled students.
Programs: Students in elementary through high school attend classes at The Greenhouse one day a week to give structure and support to their home-school education. The lessons build from mastery of facts to learning through inquiry to expressing thoughts and ideas. The classes reflect a Judeo-Christian world view and seek to instill moral virtue in students.
Reach: Western suburbs Fundraiser: The Human Race in April
Huntington's Disease Society of America
Mission: To improve the lives of everyone affected by Huntington's disease.
Programs: The society funds research into answering questions related to the biology of Huntington's disease in an effort to find treatments and a cure.
• Through community services, education and advocacy, the society offers support and resources to patients and caregivers.
Location: New York
Fundraiser: Team Hope Walk in May in Naperville
Little Giraffe Foundation
Mission: To fund neonatal research and support patients and parents of neonatal intensive care units.
Programs: In 2015, the foundation awarded $42,000 in grants to 15 hospitals, universities and medical centers nationwide to fund research into medical treatments and to improve neonatal care.
• Around holidays, the foundation gives donated books and other items to families with babies in local neonatal intensive care units to let the parents know they're supported and to give them another way to spend time with their baby.
Fundraiser: The Human Race in April; teams in Chicago running events
Loaves and Fishes Community Services
Mission: To provide food and leadership in the community by uniting and mobilizing resources to empower people to be self-sufficient.
Programs: The Community Food and Nutrition Program allows qualifying clients in need to "shop" the pantry for groceries that suit their tastes and dietary needs.
• Pathways to Empowerment helps clients navigate public benefit assistance and income tax preparation and offers direction for job searches, English language classes, financial tutoring and assistance for veterans.
Reach: DuPage County
Fundraisers: The Human Race in April, benefitted from St. Margaret Mary Church's Neighbors Helping Neighbors Walk in May
#GivingTuesday: Two sources will match up to $65,000 donated on Tuesday.
Mission: To help families in financial crisis meet immediate essential needs.
Services: Naperville CARES provides emergency financial assistance to cover rent, utilities, car payments, insurance or other essential expenses.
• CARES will help clients find additional resources such as ongoing financial assistance, counseling and health services.
• CARES' car program refurbishes donated vehicles and gives them to clients who need reliable transportation to get to work.
• The rental deposit program helps clients pay the security deposit that can keep some from being able to sign a lease.
Fundraisers: Cuisine for a Cause is each April; Toasting for a Cause is each November.
National Alopecia Areata Foundation
Mission: To find a cure or acceptable treatment for alopecia areata, support those with the disease, and educate the public about alopecia areata.
Programs: In-person support groups are supplemented with online message boards and the Pen Pal Program to help those with alopecia areata find a sense of community.
• The Legislative Liaison Program encourages people to reach out to their legislators to urge them to keep the needs and interests of those with alopecia areata in mind.
• The Treatment Development Program helps bring together scientists, doctors, patients, government agencies and industry to work toward effective treatments and cures.
Location: San Rafael, California
Fundraiser: Supported by a runner in the Naperville Half Marathon in November
Mission: To improve the lives of children, adults and families affected by neurofibromatosis through research, education and support.
Programs: Partnerships with nine clinics in the region help identify doctors and facilities familiar with treating neurofibromatosis.
• Advocacy for funding of research into treatments and potential cures for neurofibromatosis.
• Support for newly diagnosed patients and families; social and networking events.
Location: St. Charles
Reach: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Iowa, eastern Missouri
Fundraisers: Great Steps for NF in June in Naperville
#GivingTuesday: An anonymous donor is matching donations with $2 for every $1 given on Tuesday.
People's Resource Center
Mission: To respond to basic human needs, promote dignity and justice, and create a future of hope and opportunity for the residents of DuPage County by connecting people with local resources.
Programs: Food pantry; emergency rent and mortgage assistance; Clothes Closet for all ages; emergency financial assistance; job referrals and job search mentoring; computer training, refurbished computers and computer repair; adult learning and literacy classes; art classes for all ages; and additional resources.
Location: Wheaton and Westmont locations
Reach: DuPage County
Fundraiser: The Human Race in April
SHARE Program at Edward Hospital
Mission: To support parents who have lost a baby during or soon after pregnancy.
Programs: SHARE provides support groups for parents who have lost babies through miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death. A separate group meets to support parents who have lost a baby but are expecting again.
• Memorial programs help parents preserve memories of the baby they may spend only a few minutes with.
• The Wings of Hope Angel Garden at Edward Hospital allows families to memorialize their babies and provides a place for thought and reflection.
Reach: Families that use Edward Hospital in Naperville
Fundraisers: A Walk to Remember in October
Mission: To reconnect individuals with brain injuries or stroke with their life, the community and the workplace through productive activities in community-based programs that maximize rehabilitation and strengthen individuals' ability to adapt and compensate.
Programs: At The Clubhouse, those with brain injuries can practice skills by contributing to the operation of the organization -- answering the phone, writing letters, preparing food for the snack bar, organizing member outings.
• One-day boot camps give families and caregivers the tools to care for someone with a brain injury while taking care of themselves.
Reach: Chicago suburbs
Fundraiser: The Human Race in April; Stroke for Stroke Golf Outing in June in Schaumburg; Harvest Moon Gala in September in Wheaton