At last July’s Warren County Fair in Roseville, Illinois, local residents noticed something somehow different about the festivities. The sounds over the speakers, from the livestock auctioneer ferreting out the highest bidder to the cover band belting classic rock, were crystal clear.
“Wow, I could hear so much better!” people kept telling Carol Shaw and the other members of the Roseville Community Fund advisory board, which funded the new fairground PA system. And if attendees didn’t hear a difference over the speakers, they got the message during Thursday evening’s cookout, where the fund announced more grants to support the community and drive awareness of what residents of Roseville and its far-flung supporters could achieve.
Celebration was certainly in order. Not long before the fair, the Roseville Community Fund had reached its initial fundraising goal of $70,000, matched dollar for dollar through the Warren County Community Fund Initiative, a partnership among Galesburg Community Foundation, the Twomey Foundation, and United Way of Warren County.
“Especially after the setbacks of the pandemic, we were thrilled to see Roseville cross the line and double the Community Fund’s assets through the match,” said Joshua D. Gibb, president of the Community Foundation. “Even better, the fund is already making an impact in the community.”
“People are seeing the results,” said Shaw. Two years ago, the fund granted $500 to the Helping Hands Food Pantry at the Roseville Community Center for holiday hams and turkeys. “We had so many nice thank yous that this past Christmas, we doubled the amount we gave.”
Another organization that calls the community center home is the Roseville Kids Place daycare center, which has received Roseville Community Fund grants for new benches as well as educational programs about recycling. The fund also partnered with the community center and a local family who made a memorial to the center to install handicap-accessible bathrooms on the premises.
Back at the fairgrounds this winter, the fund provided Cub Scout Pack 336 with supplies for its annual Christmas light display. “That’s a huge draw for people from all over,” Shaw said. “Now more than ever, people are starting to see, hey, this fund is a good thing.”
That’s not to say supporters didn’t believe in the value of the fund as they made the contributions that built it up to its match goal. “No matter what the individual in our community’s budget was—a few dollars, a hundred, or even several thousand—they could be part of this,” said Shaw. So could former residents and out-of-town supporters, too. In fact, half of all donations came from outside the Roseville zip code, representing 12 states. “And every penny stayed right here in the Roseville community.”
In reaching the fund’s match goal, Shaw cites the Community Foundation as a key partner. “We had ideas, but we didn’t always know how to move forward with them, and they helped us to be successful,” she said. “I’ve had people say to me, ‘Okay, so you have a passion for this, but what happens when you’re no longer involved?’ I tell them: whether I’m on the advisory board or not, the Roseville Community Fund will be successful because of the support from the Galesburg Community Foundation.”
Today, Shaw is confident that with each new project—downtown beautification and a collaboration with the parks association are just two on a long list of ideas—the community’s enthusiasm for the fund will only grow.
She hopes the Roseville Community Fund’s success will ring loud and clear to other communities, too. Her message for those who are considering grassroots efforts to build resources for their future health and sustainability? “Everybody can give back to their community, and not just to solidify it as it is now but to make it even better for future generations,” Shaw said. “And you don’t have to start out with a big project. Believe me, people notice the little things, and that makes all the difference.”
The Roseville Community Fund is a fund of the Galesburg Community Foundation. To learn about starting a fund for your community, give us a call at 309.344.8898.