Twenty one years ago, a group of like-minded community members met to collectively determine how to best meet the unmet (and many yet unknown) needs in our community—for however long needs existed. Their goal was lofty, but the dedicated initial group, consisting of Kim Duchossois, Jim Fitzgerald, David Nelson, Jim Lancaster, Glenn Reed, Norval Stephens, and George Yapp—were determined to making their dream a reality.
It was Stephens who had attended a conference hosted by the Lilly Foundation in Indiana where the playbook for developing community foundations and trusts was presented. He brought back this playbook and the idea that strong communities are built by neighbors helping neighbors meeting the unmet needs of their community. The thought was that these community foundations could provide nourishment through investment capital to allow the nonprofit to flourish and branch out.
“Their bright minds, experience, multifaceted skills, and resources combined left no doubt this effort would succeed,” says Kim Duchossois, one of the original founders of what would become Barrington Area Community Foundation (BACF), serving as a past President and current Director. “An invaluable resource for our community was in the making. I wanted to be a part and would be forever honored.”
“I’m not sure everyone appreciates that there are real unmet needs in the Barrington area,” says current BACF President Young Chung. “Even though we are an affluent well-educated community, because of various hardships that befall families, still one in five students in Barrington School District 220 are in the free and reduced lunch program. And, our community deals with changing economic times and mental health stressors with services that rely upon nonprofits and donor funding to fill the gap from decreasing government funding for these services. The great arts and educational enrichment programs in the community also need sponsorship of nonprofits.”
The group prevailed, BACF was founded, and 2020 marks 20 years of completed grants, and the 21st year of granting awards. Totaling more than $2.6 million dollars, this represents about 400 grant projects to over 125 different Barrington area nonprofits.
“As a result of many of your readers’ donations to BACF and directly to nonprofits,” adds Chung, “together, we are making this a better place to raise our families, enjoy the countryside, and giving a heartfelt boost to our neighbors in need.”
The annual BACF Golf Outing and Fundraising Dinner is the one and only fundraising event hosted by BACF each year, and all proceeds fund the nonprofit’s annual grants. The scramble style outing will take place on June 1 at Barrington Hills Country Club (rotating between BHCC, Biltmore Country Club, and Wynstone Golf Club from year to year). Golfers will enjoy a putting contest and lunch before the golf begins. After the golf commences, golfers as well as non-golfers are invited to enjoy a cocktail reception, high-end raffle, dinner, short program, and live auction.
“Former director Mike Kocmond proposed (and successfully took on) our only signature fundraising event, the BACF Golf Outing,” Duchossois recalls. “It rotates through beautiful and challenging area courses each year and finishes with a lively, fun couples dinner featuring a selected grantee testimonial. The day of community camaraderie brings in half our annual fundraising goal.”
Raising funds is only one aspect of the board’s responsibility each year; the board must decide what nonprofits to awards grants and how much they should receive. This is accomplished through BACF’s grant application process. The well-developed grant evaluation process includes an online application, an interview with one of the Directors on the Grants Committee, and a second stage interview with the entire Grants Committee. The overarching direction of BACF has been to “reach an un-served group of local citizens with a program that does not duplicate other community charities.”
The Grants Committee tries to understand things such as the need that the project will be fulfilling, how it relates to the organization’s current mission, sustainability of the project, and redundancy or the possibility of collaboration with other organizations that are doing something similar. This month, $300,000 in grants will be awarded for 2020.
“In the first 20 years BACF has had a giving preference to provide seed grants which help established nonprofits to start new projects beyond their current operations and brand new nonprofits that needed startup funds,” explains Chung.
Over the 20 years, BACF has built a general fund that supports its grants. Through careful investment modeling, BACF annually grants 5 percent of the average value of the fund for the trailing 20 quarters.
The adult board of BACF also nurtures young adults through its Youth Advisory Council (YAC). The group of Barrington High School Students meets monthly, to learn about leadership and philanthropy, with a director (currently led by Jack Keenan). Last fall, they collected more than 600 bags of groceries, which they donated to the Cuba Township Food Pantry. They hold an annual Turnabout dance (raising more than $14,000 in February), and this spring they will attend a field trip to visit a Chicago area nonprofit to see how it executes its philanthropic goals in keeping with the organization’s vision for the future. Any funds raised by the YAC support local BHS clubs and the BACF general fund.
“We have been laser focused to enable our area nonprofits to better serve and also to develop internal strength and leadership themselves,” sums Duchossois.
BACF truly embodies the ethos of neighbors helping neighbors.
To support BACF, or purchase tickets for the golf outing, visit barringtonareacommunityfoundation.org.
YOUNG CHUNG, President/Director
“My most rewarding time as a board member has been working on the Grants Committee. I’ve met wonderful community leaders and volunteers from the various nonprofits that have applied for grants, who are out there working to make the Barrington area a better place to live. It has been a great privilege to a part of BACF knowing that it will continue to grow and be here in the future.”
KRISTIN FRAZIER, Special Events Chair /Director
“Because of our donors, we are able to continue our vision to maintain the quality of life in the greater Barrington Area, with the Foundation a symbol of true community service, where we are all helping to create a stronger, healthier, and happier place to live and work. It’s a special thing to be a part of something so incredible.”
BOB BEAUBIEN, Vice President/Director
“Alongside the privilege to be amongst the exceptionally bright, diligent, thoughtful, and committed volunteer board, the other immeasurable reward comes from the exposure to and awe of the devoted individuals, our grantees, who endeavor to enrich, enhance, support and serve Barrington in creative and ever meaningful, profound ways every day.”
KAREN LAMBERT, Immediate Past President/Director
“We look for the attributes of sustainability, mission driven, thoughtful, and efficient stewardship of funds and commitment to greater community in the organizations we fund. This is what I see in BACF as an organization, and it’s the reason I am honored to continue to serve.”