Rochelle Area Community Foundation › About Us

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In 2005, the Rochelle Area Community Foundation was established with a generous gift from the late Leonard Carmichael who was a farmer, businessman, philanthropist and community leader. His vision was that more donors, large and small, would add to his contributions to make it a true community foundation.

The Rochelle Area Community Foundation offers an opportunity for individuals, families, and businesses to leave a legacy for future generations that will sustain the quality of life which we have enjoyed for decades. The Community Foundation is a public, charitable organization designed to attract gifts that will be shared with Rochelle Area non-profit organizations for the benefit of the entire community.

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The Foundation provides a simple and flexible way to invest in the future of Rochelle and neighboring communities. The Foundation allows individual or business donors to contribute to one organization that benefits many, allowing donors may to achieve their charitable goals.

The Foundation Board, with a diverse membership, will manage the funds to achieve the goals of the non-profit community foundation. Gifts to the Foundation will provide a lasting endowment, and the Foundation will provide caretaker services for the funds.


Yes, all gifts are tax-deductible. Gifts are federally exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code.

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Through the endowment process your gift will grow, and the board of directors will determine its use. A small percentage of the funds are distributed annually, while the remainder is wisely invested. As the investment grows, more and more money is returned to the Rochelle Area Community’s needs.


Donors either may be specific about where their gifts are used or may allow the Foundation to assess the needs of the community and fund projects accordingly. The Foundation plans for a broad focus of beneficiaries that include the arts, education, health and community services, and community development. The greatest advantage of the Rochelle Area Community Foundation for donors flexibility. The projects and organizations selected will ensure that the needs of the community are met.

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Here are many ways to support the Foundation. No gift is too small, and all gifts are important to the success of the Foundation.  

A single gift or an annual gift may be given to the Foundation, or your contribution may also be made through a designation in your will.


Call us at 815-561-3600. By email: [email protected]


Q: What is the Rochelle Area Community Foundation?

A: The Foundation was a vision of Leonard Carmichael’s and he gathered a core group of community volunteers in 2004 and 2005 to explore the feasibility of establishing a Community Foundation. The RACF was incorporated in December 2005 and was granted not-for-profit status by the Internal Revenue Service in November 2006. Board members are volunteers and serve a maximum of two, three-year terms.

Q: How is the money invested?

A: Currently the funds are invested with the DeKalb County Community Foundation.

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Q: Why another Foundation?

A: We primarily focus on other not-for-profit organizations, which enable the RACF to serve the charitable interests of the entire community. Gifts are invested in an endowment fund. This differs from a capital or operational fund because it will last forever.

The RACF is a vehicle for philanthropy.

Q: How are gifts awarded?

A: We serve not-for-profit organizations in the Rochelle area and our boundaries mirror the Rochelle Township High School District. Each year agencies and organizations have an opportunity to apply for funds. Grants are generally awarded for programs or needs outside of operational expenses.

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Q: How do I make a gift?

A: We welcome gifts of all amounts. The gifts may be designated or undesignated and are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Our Executive Director, Emily Anaya or any board member may help with your donation.

Q: How can I help?

A: There are many ways that you can help the Foundation and your community. You can advocate for the RACF as you prepare your estate. You may also contribute to the RACF Founding Circle. Finally you may know of someone or another group that would like to hear this message.


Leonard Carmichael was a lifelong farmer and owner of Maplehurst Farms in Rochelle. He fulfilled his longtime dream of giving by establishing the Rochelle Area Community Foundation in 2006. He passed away on December 12, 2009 at his home in Rochelle with his family by his side.


Emily and her husband Nic are graduates of RTHS. They live just outside of Rochelle with their four children; Anya, Kollins, Nicanor and Amelia, and three dogs; Liberty, Dash and Otis. Emily has been in philanthropy for over 17 years, primarily involved in the healthcare sector as a Major Gifts Officer. She has a Bachelors of Science with an Emphasis in Fitness and Nutrition from Illinois State University along with a Certificate of Nonprofit Management from Rockford University. Emily teaches fitness classes at Anytime Fitness Rochelle on the weekends but is most proud of her role as the Executive Director of the Rochelle Area Community Foundation. She is honored to support the community that she grew up in and assist in the growth of services and programs that are of greatest need to the people in our area.

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Trisha Vaughn

Trisha was born & raised in Rochelle, she earned her B.S. at Bradley University followed by a D.V.M. from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and J.D. from Northern Illinois University College of Law. Trisha resides in Rochelle with her husband, John and their three children. Trisha serves on the Board of the Rochelle Elementary School and is an active volunteer.

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Carol Hayenga

Carol was born and raised in the Rochelle area.  She attended the University of Illinois where she earned a degree in Accounting.  She lived in Chicago and worked at Grant Thornton for 3 years before moving back to Rochelle and working at Maplehurst Farms.  She is currently a board member of the Rochelle Township High School, RTHS Alumni Association, Rochelle Christian Food Pantry and Maplehurst Farms.

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Manny Lopez

Manny Lopez is a licensed insurance agent with Americana Financial Group and has a degree in Criminal Justice. He has been a part of the Rochelle community since 2000. Manny is married to Emily Lopez and together they have 5 boys. Manny and his wife support our community by coaching youth sports.

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Jeff Fiegenschuh

Jeff Fiegenschuh has served as the City Manager for the City of Rochelle since 2017.   Prior to his time in Rochelle, Jeff served the Village of Rantoul and the City of Princeton in the same capacity.  He has over 17 years of experience in local government management and looks forward to brining his skillset to the Rochelle Area Community Foundation Board. Jeff is active in both the ICMA and the ILCMA.  He has three children, Courtney, Abbey and Carter and spends his spare time exercising, spending time with family and friends and watching baseball.

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Dennis Berg

Dennis graduated from RTHS and went on to attend WIU. Retired from a thirty three year career with Contel/GTE/Verizon. Dennis served ten years on the Rochelle City Council and is married to Avis, his wife of 43 years.

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Kara Kettleson

Kara Kettleson was born and raised in Rochelle and now raises her 4 children with her husband Tony, in Rochelle. She received her bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University in Visual Communications. She has worked locally for many years at Holcomb State Bank, the Rochelle Chamber of Commerce, and News Media Corporation.

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Kathy Hollonbeck

Kathy has been actively involved in the community since moving here with her five children in 1972. In the process of retiring from her real estate investment business, KGH Investments, she hopes to have more time for family and her many hobbies.

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Stephanie Williams

Stephanie is a local business woman, wife & mother of two. Raised in Rochelle, she went on to earn her degree from Eastern Illinois University where she met her husband, Danny. The two own and operate Lifeworks Photography Studio. Stephanie has served on the Boards of the Rochelle Child Care Center and the Rochelle Chamber of Commerce.

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Greg Folmar

Greg Folmar is an Investment Advisor with Holcomb Bank. An active member of the Rochelle Rotary Club, Greg also brings together a volunteer corp to work on community projects as the need arises. 

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Jacob Becker

Jacob is the Marketing & Technology Manager for Crum-Halsted Insurance & Risk Management as well as a marketing consultant.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Bradley University and is on the Rochelle Planning & Zoning Commission and the Retail Advisory Board.  Jacob is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys traveling, spending time with his family, and reading a good book.

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Ashley Jackson

Ashley holds a degree in Business Management from NIU, and has been employed as a Financial Consultant with Central Bank’s Investment Division for 17 years. Ashley, her husband Paul, their two daughters Rylee and Taylor along with Maggie the dog reside in Chana. Ashley formerly served as a member of the Board of the Rochelle Child Care Center and is a member of the Rochelle Rotary Club.

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Terry Dickow

Terry is a retired teacher.  His family moved to Rochelle in 1971.  Daughters, Julia and Emily attended school in this community.  He started at the Rochelle News Leader in 1969 but in 1981 he went back to school for a teaching certificate.  He has been active in VCCT and at one time served on the park board and library board.  He is currently on the museum board and involved with the history walk of the downtown area during the summer.

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Tony Doyle

Originally from Ashton, Tony graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a degree in Education followed by a Masters Degree from National-Louis University in Wheaton.  Tony joined the Rochelle Elementary School District as a building Principal in 2006, and is honored to serve as Assistant Superintendent for both the Elementary and High School Districts in Rochelle. Tony lives in Rochelle with his wife, Krista and daughter Riley. He enjoys spending his spare time with family and friends.

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Kwami Gati

Kwami is a Commercial Merchandiser and Logistics Specialist for CHS Ethanol in Rochelle. Originally from West Africa, he earned a Master of Science in Agronomy for University of Lome’-Togo West Africa and later a Master of Arts Economics from Western Illinois University in Macomb. Kwami Lives in Rochelle with his family and is a member of the Rochelle Rotary Club.

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Doug Forsberg

Doug grew up near Cleveland, OH and remains a diehard Browns and Indians fan.  He graduated from Westminster College in 1994 and married his wife, Amy, in 1997.  After graduating from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2002, Doug served churches in Newport, RI and Wrightstown , PA. He moved to Rochelle with his family in 2013 to serve as the Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church.


Covid Respond Fund

Jacobs giving back with new fund

Area non-profit groups urged to apply for foundation grant

Giving Continues

RACF Kicks off annual campaign

Carrying on Carmichael's Legacy

O'Rorke Honored by Red Cross

School Receives Grant

Tornado Anniversary Event

Hormel Continues Hunger Fight

Community Grant Applications Accepted in February

Cedar Siding Donation

RACF Adds Board Members

Fifth Round of Grants Released

Foundation Receives McCormick Grant

Allstate Supports Tornado Recovery

Making Families Whole Again

Swedish American Donates to RACF to Aid Tornado Victims

RACF Long-Term Recovery Project

Foundation Looks to Distribute Donations

Total Grant Funds to be awarded grows by $10,000

Bank Donates to RACF

Foundation Kicks Off Annual Campaign

RACF Hunger Challenge


Kim Montgomery named Executive Director of Foundation

It Starts with an Idea and a Gift

Twenty agencies receive grants in foundation's first year