CARTHAGE, Ill. -- Hancock County's future got a little brighter on Friday with word that donors had raised more than $15,000 to receive a $10,000 challenge gift for the Hancock County Endowment.
"We are extremely grateful to the anonymous donor who offered this generous challenge," said David Fox, a Hancock County Fund Council and Community Foundation Board member.
The $10,000 challenge gift was offered last August from an anonymous source working with the Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri. There was a deadline of Dec. 31, and civic leaders quickly spread the word that the Hancock County Endowment had a funding opportunity.
A total of 25 donors contributed to the effort -- 21 of them as first-time donors to the fund. Gifts totalling more than $25,000 now have been pooled and invested to build the fund's grantmaking capacity.
The anonymous donors wrote a note to Hancock County supporters.
"We are elated that the challenge goal has been reached. We hope that this campaign has made more people aware of the Hancock County Endowment Fund. It is a valuable asset for the county, and we hope the fund continues to grow."
Jill Arnold Blickhan, president and CEO of the Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri, said Hancock County is one of five counties that created a charitable endowment in coordination with the Foundation.
"Back in 2012, we told the 12 counties that we serve that if they would raise $15,000 for an endowment, we would match it," Blickhan said.
In addition to Hancock County, the Illinois counties of Brown and Pike and the Missouri counties of Lewis and Marion raised the funds to launch endowments. Other counties where endowments could still be created include Adams County, Ill., and the Missouri counties of Clark, Knox, Shelby, Monroe, Ralls and Pike.
"If any of those counties are interested in creating a fund, we'll be happy to meet with them," Blickhan said.
JR Parn, chairman of the Hancock County Fund Council, said it was invigorating to see Hancock County come together to reach the fundraising goal.
"The best part is that it will allow us to give more back through grants to Hancock County nonprofits," Parn said.
Fox agreed that the growing endowment "will affect those who live or work here long after we are gone."
About 40 individuals, businesses and civic organizations have contributed to the Hancock County Endowment since it was created. The endowment made its first grants in 2016 and will continue to grant to local nonprofit organizations through the Community Foundation's Competitive Grant Program.
Gifts of any amount can be made at any time to continue growing the Hancock County Endowment Fund. Gifts should be made to the Community Foundation, noting that they are for the Hancock County Endowment.
The Community Foundation accepts a variety of gifts, including cash, stocks, grain, livestock, IRA distributions and other assets. Since 1997, the Community Foundation has made more than $5 million in grants within the 12 counties it serves.
More information is available from Parn at 217-242-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the Community Foundation at 217-222-1237, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.