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DuPage County Historical Museum Receives $15,000 COVID-19 Response Fund Grant and $10,000 Unrestricted Grant from DuPage Foundation

DuPage County Historical Museum was one of 24 DuPage County not-for-profit organizations with a program related to the arts to receive a grant through DuPage Foundation’s most recent COVID-19 Response Fund grant program. The $15,000 grant is intended to help the Museum with essential expenses including utilities and full time staff payroll from the onset of COVID-19 to the end of the year. The grant was made possible by advocacy from Arts DuPage, DuPage Foundation's initiative for all things art in DuPage County.

The DuPage County Historical Museum is operated as a facility of Wheaton Park District, owned by the County of DuPage by resolution of the County Board pursuant to state statute. Its principal purposes are to educate the general public through the collection, preservation, interpretation, and exhibition of materials which document the history of DuPage County and its relationship to Illinois and the nation, and to provide local history services for historical organizations and for scholarly endeavors.

With help from Arts DuPage Advisory Committee member Sheila Rutledge, who is also a DuPage County Board member, the Foundation was able to secure and grant $300,000 in Federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds from DuPage County. Through a speedy, but thorough, grant process, a small working group of DuPage Foundation volunteers evaluated 27 grant applications based on specific criteria required for CARES Act Funds to meet the deadline. “This grant helped fund three full time staff members’ salaries and many utilities since the onset of COVID-19.” Said Michelle Podkowa, Museum Manager. “2020 was a difficult year, as we brace for another difficult fiscal year in 2021, we are fortunate and grateful to have such a wonderful, community-centric organization supporting us.”

From the start of the pandemic through the end of 2020, DuPage Foundation awarded $1.7 million on behalf of donors and the community to area not-for-profits from it's COVID-19 Response Fund which was developed and funded over the course of 2020.

A $10,000 donation from the History of DuPage Fund of DuPage Foundation was also awarded to the Museum in December. This unrestricted grant helped to balance the Museum's 2020 budget and start 2021 off with some much-needed funding. "We are grateful for the History DuPage Fund and DuPage Foundation for its continued support of our Museum during such difficult times." said Michelle Podkowa, Museum Manager. "Without DuPage Foundation, the Museum would not have balanced their budget in 2020."

The Museum offers a variety of virtual and in-person programming and new exhibits including Celebrating 100 Years: Wheaton Park District Centennial opening in May, Together We Win: DuPage in World War II in July and Ghost Towns of DuPage County opening in September. The Museum functions as the only institution dedicated to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of the material culture documenting the county of DuPage, Illinois. The Museum is FREE to visit but donations are greatly appreciated. The Museum relies on revenue through donations, special events, and programming. It is open Tuesday – Friday 10:30A to 4P and Saturday 12 to 4P. More information can be found at dupagemuseum.org.


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