DeKALB – With the help of grants and donations, DeKalb Area Women’s Center is ready to begin its preservation efforts at its home in the former Finnish Hall. DeKalb Area Women’s Center was incorporated in 1993 to advocate for women, and sponsors an art gallery and a wide range of events at 1021 State St. in DeKalb.
In March, the organization was awarded $1,000 from Landmarks Illinois’ Heritage Fund. The Heritage Fund provides financial assistance to preserve significant structures within the state of Illinois. That grant, plus a $6,000 Community Needs Grant from the DeKalb County Community Foundation, will make possible the first step of necessary stabilization and repair work for the building.
The May 6 Give Local DeKalb County event co-sponsored by the DeKalb County Community Foundation and the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership raised another $3,000, through individual donations and a large contribution by the Finnish-American Society of the Midwest. Local contractors R. W. Keys and Son, experienced in historic restoration, will perform the stabilization and repairs.
“The generosity of these funding organizations and donors has been crucial to get this preservation project started,” said Diane Rodgers, who was responsible for writing the grants.
Anna Marie Coveny, director of the DeKalb Area Women’s Center, has long championed the need for preservation and the historical value of the building. With the help of Rodgers and several Northern Illinois University students, the building received local landmark status in 2013.