Spotlight: Five Organizations Participating in #ILGive 2019

December 3, 2019

Today, over 500 organizations in Illinois are participating in #ILGive. Now in its sixth year, #ILGive—Forefront’s Giving Tuesday campaign in Illinois—builds capacity for nonprofits, grows the State’s giving economy, tears down barriers to giving, and inspires ordinary people to advocate for their communities.

For an inside look at the connections being made throughout Illinois today, we spoke with five nonprofits across the state to learn why they participate in #ILGive, how they engage their donors, and what they’re hoping to achieve by midnight.

To learn more about the hundreds of organizations participating in #ILGive, and take part in the day of giving, visit the #ILGive website. Let’s celebrate community giving together on the most charitable day of the year!

Girls on the Run participants stand at the finish line after a race.

Girls on the Run Central Illinois

Community: Springfield
Girls on the Run Central Illinois’ #ILGive Page

Girls on the Run Central Illinois is a nonprofit athletic program for girls in third through eighth grades. Trained coaches lead small teams through research-based curricula which includes dynamic discussions, activities, and running games. Over the course of the ten-week program, participants work on skills to help them navigate their worlds and establish a lifetime appreciation for health and fitness. The program culminates with girls completing a celebratory 5K event.

Why is Girls on the Run participating in #ILGive?

We love the idea of an international day of charitable giving—not just for our organization, but also to raise awareness for all organizations impacting and caring for our communities.

How will Girls on the Run leverage the funds raised through #ILGive?

Our goal for #ILGive this year is to raise $5,625. With this amount, we’ll be able to provide full scholarships for three teams of fifteen girls! Part of our mission is that every girl should have the opportunity to participate in our program, regardless of her family’s ability to pay the registration fee. Often the families who are not able to afford our program are the ones who need the positive message and community of Girls on the Run the most. We hope to reach out to lower income areas and empower girls in those communities to realize their limitless potential.

How many times has Girls on the Run participated in #ILGive?

We participated in #ILGive in a small way last year, with a few social media posts and setting up a fundraising page. We didn’t get a lot of traction, so now we are giving more attention to our marketing plan and are excited to engage our board, volunteer coaches, and network of supporters. For the last few years, we have created an end-of-year digital campaign for the entire month of December—this year, we plan to use #ILGive to springboard our campaign and get our supporters excited about raising scholarships for the spring season.

What are your hopes for December 3 and this year’s #ILGive?

We truly hope it’s a smashing success for all involved! That’s the great thing about working in nonprofits. No matter whose campaign raises the most funds or spreads the most awareness, the proceeds are going towards organizations that are changing lives in Central Illinois. We are proud to be a part of that and grateful to get to do what we do.

Students tie-dyed shirts at Quincy Art Center this year for the 2019 Art Meets Science event.

Quincy Art Center

Community: Quincy
Quincy Art Center’s #ILGive Page

The Quincy Art Center is a nonprofit art museum that has been celebrating the visual arts since 1923. The Center aims to educate the Quincy community and surrounding areas through exhibits, educational opportunities, and events.

Why are you participating in #ILGive?

We want to give people the opportunity to help create an impact in their community. The Art Center is a nonprofit organization, and our mission is to provide opportunities for growth and appreciation of the visual fine arts though exhibitions and programs throughout our 50-mile radius. That makes for a huge community of diverse, wonderful, and creative people. It is through fundraising that we are able to make our mission become a reality.

How will Quincy Art Center leverage the funds raised through #ILGive?

Donations to The Art Center go towards art education programs, year-round exhibits, and community events. Our art education programs serve students ages 4 and up with classes in all mediums, workshops led by local and visiting artists, after school programs, and more. Our year-round exhibits feature artwork from local artists of all ages, regional artists, and nationally known artists both onsite in our galleries and around the community in our satellite exhibit spaces. We look forward to our annual events, like ArtFest and Beaux Arts, as yearly family traditions where the community can admire, celebrate, and create art together.

How many times has Quincy Art Center participated in #ILGive?

This is the first year The Art Center has participated in #ILGive, and we couldn’t be happier with our experience. This has now become an event and partnership we will look forward to for years to come.

What are your hopes for December 3 and this year’s #ILGive?

On Giving Tuesday, we hope to see the community come together to create a positive impact. When we invest in each other, we create a stronger community: whether its education, health, family, well-being, or a little bit of everything. These organizations are here for everyone, and it takes the support of the community to help keep them going.

Allana and Kylee show off their Big Brothers and Big Sisters shirts.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Knox County

Community: Knox and Warren Counties
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Knox County’s #ILGive Page

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Knox County’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth, primarily through a professionally supported one-to-one relationship with a caring adult, and to assist youth in achieving their highest potential as they grow to become responsible community members.

Why are you participating in #ILGive?

We are interested in the opportunity for exposure to new volunteers and funding sources!

How will Big Brothers Big Sisters of Knox County leverage the funds raised through #ILGive?

The money we raise today will support the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Knox County Youth Mentoring Program, which provides children with professionally supported one-on-one mentoring with a caring adult.

How many times has Big Brothers Big Sisters of Knox County participated in #ILGive?

This is our first year participating in #ILGive. We have participated for several years in United Way’s fundraising campaign, and we apply annually for grants through the United Way and Galesburg Community Foundation. We also hold agency event fundraisers including Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Golf for Kids’ Sake, and Putt N’ Crawl. In conjunction with our #ILGive campaign, our parent agency, Heart of Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters (HOIBBBS), is launching a recurring giving program called ‘Invest BIG.” HOIBBBS will also be sending out a mailer to all our constituents asking for end-of-year donations.

What are your hopes for December 3 and this year’s #ILGive?

We look forward to the opportunity to spread the word about Big Brothers Big Sisters in Knox County and beyond. Our community is very generous, and we hope to recruit new volunteers and donors.

A student at Smyth Elementary harvests collard greens during his class’ program time with Gardeneers.


Community: Chicago
Gardeneers’ #ILGive Page

Gardeneers is a Chicago-based nonprofit providing full-service, customized school garden programs with ongoing support. They work to support student nutrition, help students experience nature, and provide education around sustainable consumption.

Why are you participating in #ILGive?

#ILGive is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Gardeneers on a platform that draws a lot of attention in celebration of Giving Tuesday! We love the idea of dedicating a day to generosity in a season where people are pressured to buy, buy, and buy.

How will Gardeneers leverage the funds raised through #ILGive?

The money raised by Gardeneers during #ILGive is going to go towards funding materials and supplies for Gardeneers 2020 school garden programs. Gardeneers implements hands-on, direct service garden education in 20 schools throughout Chicago, in low-income communities that also lack access to fresh, healthy foods. In 2019, we worked with roughly 2,300 students each week. This campaign will fund the seeds, soil, compost, and garden tools we need to have a successful growing season at our 20 school gardens in 2020.

How many times has Gardeneers participated in #ILGive?

Gardeneers has participated in #ILGive for the past 4 years! We also have had independent fundraising campaigns and many fundraising events. #ILGive fits beautifully into our fundraising strategy by providing us an additional platform where philanthropic people living in Illinois can be introduced to our work and hopefully continue supporting us and get involved in the future. This year, we are working with our Auxiliary Board to spread the word about our #ILGive campaign with young professionals in Chicago.

What are your hopes for December 3 and this year’s #ILGive?

We hope that we’re able to connect with Illinois residents who are supportive of children having access to fresh, healthy foods, nature-based learning, and a healthy lifestyle. We also hope we’re able to connect with folks who may be interested in volunteering in our school gardens.

Students participate in story time at the SciTech Hands On Museum

SciTech Hands On Museum

Community: Fox Valley
SciTech Hands On Museum’s #ILGive Page

An interactive Science Museum located in Aurora, SciTech Hands On Museum provides family-friendly services such as birthday parties, workshops, and field trips, three floors of hands-on exhibits, and a fun approach to introducing children to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) topics.

Why are you participating in #ILGive?

SciTech participates in #ILGive not only to raise funds, but also to raise awareness about the vision, mission, and values of the museum. The #ILGive platform is a fantastic tool to do this. Being part of the greater #ILGive social media campaign allows us to spread brand awareness across the state and country.

How will SciTech leverage the funds raised through #ILGive?

This year the SciTech team has decided to use the funds to help offset the costs of the free public programming we offer, including Museums 4 All, SciTech Story Times (which we do with the Aurora Public Library), Floorshows, and Museums after Hours, which gives the public the opportunity to explore the museum at no cost on select evenings throughout the year.

How many times has SciTech participated in #ILGive?

SciTech has been taking part in #ILGive for four years. Our first year was not a huge success—we made a giving page and hoped for the best. The following year we expanded our Giving Tuesday team and decided to do a special #ILGive event to kick off our 30th anniversary where we stayed open for 30 hours straight. We had a schedule of programs and events that went on throughout the 30 hours, and during the wee hours of the morning, we used social media to show guests hidden gems of the museum and live stream some of our science shows. This event was amazingly successful with raising funds and awareness about the museum.

Last year, we focused more on the peer-to-peer fundraising method. We enlisted the help of our board members and supporters and asked them to create their own #ILGive pages to spread the museum’s message to their friends and families. Although not as financially successful as the previous year, we were still able to spread the word about the mission of the museum.

This year we’re working with eleven nonprofits, all located in downtown Aurora, by creating a short video that showcases all 12 of the organizations. We’re using the hashtag #InDowntownAurora in conjunction with #ILGive to spread the message on Giving Tuesday. Our goal of this collaboration is to show the public all the good things each nonprofit does for our community and help build brand awareness for everybody.

What are your hopes for December 3 and this year’s #ILGive?

We at SciTech hope that all the organizations participating in #ILGive have a successful campaign. The more the public is aware about the services that we all offer, the better life is for everyone!

To learn more about the hundreds of organizations participating in #ILGive, and take part in the day of giving, visit the #ILGive website. Let’s celebrate community giving together on the most charitable day of the year!


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