2023 From the Heart calendars now on sale

2023 From the Heart cash calendars were recently printed and are now on sale for $20, From the Heart President and Founder Dave Eckhardt said last week.

Not for profit is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year

ROCHELLE — 2023 From the Heart cash calendars were recently printed and are now on sale for $20, From the Heart President and Founder Dave Eckhardt said last week. 

The calendars contain over $20 worth of coupons and are available at various businesses in town including First State Bank, Stillman Bank, Hope Chest and the Rochelle News-Leader. 

Prize money is given away to a buyer of a calendar each day of the year. $25 is given away per day and $50 on Sundays. On special occasions, the prize is more than that. $1,000 is given away on New Year’s Day, $250 on Valentine’s Day, $250 on the day of the From the Heart gala, $250 on St. Patrick’s Day, $300 on Easter, $500 on Mother’s Day, $1,000 on Memorial Day, $500 on Father’s Day, $1,000 on July 4, $1,000 on Labor Day, $250 on Columbus Day, $250 on Halloween, $250 on Veterans Day, $500 on Thanksgiving and $1,000 on Christmas.

“The cash calendar has turned into a big bonanza for From the Heart,” Eckhardt said. “It started around 10 years ago. It took the place of a raffle we used to do to get money for the From the Heart gala. We did it with Rotary and wanted to produce as much money as we did from the raffle, and it has every year. Last year was our best year ever for calendars, we sold over 4,500.”

From the Heart raises money through the calendars and its annual gala in February that is given equally to eight area nonprofits including HOPE of Ogle County, Shining Star Children’s Advocacy Center, CASA, Focus House, the Rochelle Area Community Foundation, Pegasus Special Riders, the Rochelle Christian Food Pantry and the Hub City Senior Center. 

“You’re essentially making a donation of $20,” Eckhardt said. “It helps eight local nonprofits. All of those organizations make a major impact locally.”

Eckhardt said the calendar program has grown to be successful because of the support of the community.  Recently the City of Rochelle has gotten involved by selling calendars through its staff members and encouraging businesses to take part, which has “helped a lot,” Eckhardt said. Corporations in town have bought calendars in bulk for their employees. 

From the Heart will be celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. Its annual gala will be held on Saturday, Feb. 5 at Flight Deck Bar & Grill at 6 p.m. Over 14 years between calendars and the gala, From the Heart has raised over $630,000. 

“Getting to the 15th anniversary is kind of unreal for us,” Eckhardt said. “When we started we never dreamed we’d get this far and it would be its own not for profit. It’s been nothing short of spectacular. The support from the community has been amazing. Every year we wonder if it will work again and it gets better every year.”

In From the Heart’s early years, it gave each of its groups $10,000. But it only had two beneficiary organizations then. Eckhardt said his hope is to present $10,000 checks to all eight nonprofits in 2023 with a total goal of $80,000. 

“It’s incredible how much it’s grown,” Eckhardt said. “It speaks volumes about Rochelle. Every dollar we raise goes to these organizations. For a lot of these nonprofits, this money is a huge deal. They’ve all struggled, especially recently. They can’t raise prices when labor costs go up. They need donations like these to continue providing their services to those in need. Even during COVID-19 when times were tough, we raised money online and still set a record. It’s been totally incredible year after year.”