Kendall County Board awards federal COVID-19 relief grants to area nonprofits

YORKVILLE – As tough as the COVID-19 pandemic has been for the bottom line of local businesses, it has been even worse for nonprofit organizations.

These groups, offering vital social services, activities and other benefits to residents in Kendall County, have been squeezed at both ends of the financial ledger.

On the one hand, nonprofits saw their revenues dry up when they were unable to host big fundraising events because of the pandemic. On the other, demand for their services only spiked as social isolation placed greater pressures on people.

That’s why members of the Kendall County Board were so eager to approve the first phase of grants to nonprofits from the federal American Rescue Act Fund.

At its Oct. 5 meeting, the board authorized nine federal grants totaling more than $200,000 to organizations serving residents of Kendall County.

Most of the grants were in the amount of $25,000, the maximum allowed.

Those organizations include the Mutual Ground domestic abuse treatment center in Aurora, the Yorkville American Legion Post 489, the Oswego Senior Center and the Kendall County Fair Association.

Others include the Open Door Rehabilitation Center in Sandwich, the Digtown Volleyball Club in Yorkville and Kendall County Senior Service Associates in Yorkville.

Receiving a $21,140 grant was the Two by Two Family Ministry in Yorkville.

And the Knights of Columbus in Yorkville was awarded a $10,153 grant.

Board member Matt Kellogg of rural Yorkville worked on the grant program and read out the awards individually for his colleagues to vote on, one-by-one.

County Board Chairman Scott Gryder of Oswego said the grants were based on 25% of the agency’s 2019 or 2020 revenue, capped at $25,000.

Gryder noted the difficulties faced by the nonprofits, with lower revenues but higher expenses because of the pandemic.

“The cost of helping people has increased,” Gryder said.

County Administrator Scott Koeppel said the nonprofit organizations are free to use the money for payroll, utilities, mortgage payments and other expenses.

Board member Brian DeBolt of Plano said he was particularly pleased to see approval of the grant for the Kendall County Fairgrounds Association.

“I know that they have struggled and that they’ve worked hard to try to raise money,” DeBolt said. “They have a lot of buildings to be maintained.”

The fairgrounds lost revenue because it could not host weddings, parties, auctions and other activities during the worst of the pandemic.

“The county is helping them out and that’s a great thing,” DeBolt said. “That’s money that’s all going back into the community.”