Saturday, November 17, 2007

‘Tis the Season for Giving

I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.

Earlier this week the Downtown Neighborhood Association received an envelope from the Grand Victoria Foundation. And it wasn’t one of those thin, bulk-mailed “we regret to inform you” envelopes. It was a thick, typewriter-addressed “we’ve got good news for you” envelopes.

I tore it open to find the gift that I never knew I had always wanted… DNA had been chosen to receive a $10,000 grant from the Grand Victoria Foundation’s Grantworks Program.

Even my favorite Christmas gift of all time – the Deluxe Easy Bake Oven – couldn’t compete with this.

DNA is now in the company of other local non-profits such as Boys & Girls Club, the Elgin Public Museum and the Literacy Connection who have been able to take some big leaps forward with the help of the Grand Victoria Foundation’s Elgin Grantworks Program. The program offers general operating grants and a variety of tools and learning opportunities to enhance Elgin's nonprofit sector.

“Giving” may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the riverboat. But you may be surprised to learn that the Grand Victoria Casino allocates 20 percent of its annual adjusted net operating income to programs that benefit the community. Of that 20 percent, 12.5 percent is directed to the Grand Victoria Foundation, which manages and administers the funds through grant programs like Elgin Grantworks.

The grant from Grand Victoria Foundation is the first private grant that DNA has received in its almost ten years of existence. I could flatter myself and say that the poignant prose of our grant proposal moved the Foundation directors to tears. But then I’d have to tell myself to get over myself. This victory belongs to the DNA volunteers.

So, in the spirit of the season, I would like to “give thanks” to all the volunteers who have worked so hard over the past ten years to build DNA into an organization that the Grand Victoria Foundation felt was worth investing in. You know who you are. You’ve knocked on doors asking for sponsorships. You’ve called in every favor you had saved up in your lifetime. You’ve stood outside in 100 degree heat at the 4th of July Parade and you were still patriotic when it was all over.

So, on behalf of the DNA Board of Directors and the Staff, thank you volunteers, for all that you have done and continue to do to support downtown revitalization. You are appreciated.
Oh, and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t say we are currently recruiting volunteers for 2008. If you are interested in learning more about how to get involved with DNA, give me a call at (847) 488-1456 or email me at

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