Push for the Path: The Power of Community Fundraising

When life throws a tragedy at you, unfortunately there isn’t much you can do about it. But with a little help from friends and family, there’s always something good that can come out of a bad situation.

Darlene McCue, the inspiration for Push for the Path

Darlene McCue, the inspiration for Push for the Path

A friend of mine lost his mother (Darlene McCue) in an accident. She was riding her bike down Kennedy Road (a road in Yorkville, Illinois) with her daughter, when suddenly a driver—who happened to be texting while driving—hit her and took her life. Moments like these are sudden and they make anyone feel powerless. But in light of this accident, McCue’s family and close friends put together a non-profit organization to try to prevent this from happening to anyone else.

Their non-profit organization, Push for the Path, was created to raise funds to build a 2.72 mile multi-use path on Kennedy Road. This is a 1.7 million dollar project! The City of Yorkville was awarded a 1.4 million dollar grant to go toward the project, and other grants were applied as well. Some will be paid for in installments each year until the fiscal year of 2017-2018. But all of this still leaves Push for the Path to raise about $220,000 to complete the project.

Push for the Path hopes to raise $100,000 of that by July 2012. That’s a lot of money to raise in a short time!

Kennedy Road

Kennedy Road

Push for the Path is doing several things to raise the remaining amount of money. They are planning other fundraisers that will be held by the committee, and they are also approaching local businesses to get other donations. It seems as though Wrigley Company, a large local employer, is awarding the Path with a generous grant. They are also planning to approach Nicor, where Darlene McCue was employed.

Yorkville would majorly benefit from having a path along Kennedy Road. People can use the path for a number of activities — going for a run, bike riding, walking a pet, or maybe just to reach a local destination — without fearing that their lives are in danger.

Besides those benefits, the path would facilitate other community uses as well. It would have almost 1800 homes directly connect to it and serve as a link to 12.21 miles of other existing paths of Yorkville. Since it would also connect to the 35 mile long Fox River Trail, it helps the people of Yorkville get to different locations like Grand Reserve and Autumn Creek Elementary Schools (which means it provides a safer walk for children). It connects to Blackberry Oaks Golf Course and Yorkville’s Rec Center, 5 public parks, and would go all the way to downtown Yorkville and commercial areas along Route 34 and Route 47.

We should be thankful that McCue’s family and friends are remembering her by also thinking of everyone else out there. Although many people hold fundraisers for funeral coverages or any other expenses (which, don’t get me wrong, I am not in any way saying that is a bad thing — I have contributed to organizations like that), McCue’s family and friends have also come up with a way to help their hometown and the people living in it. We can appreciate this by contributing in any way we can to Push for the Path!

I don’t know about you, but I put myself in the family’s shoes when I hear stories about things like this. I can’t help but try to come up with any way I can contribute. For anyone who is interested, you can check out Push for the Path’s website or visit their Facebook page. Although this path proposal does not bring back the life of Darlene McCue, your help and support will send the family your condolences and raise awareness to prevent other people from a experiencing a similar tragedy!

What do you think of the Push for the Path organization? Do you have a fundraising story you’d like to share? What else could we do to help out in tragic situations like this?

Image credit to Push for the Path.


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  1. Jen

    This sounds like a great local charity Jaimie! I live in Yorkville right now and take Kennedy road every day to and from work. The road is very dangerous because it has lots of blind curves, making it uneasy to see people on the side of the road. I think this path is a great idea and it could potentially save the live of joggers, bikers and kids walking to school. This is a cool awareness post!

    To spread the word about the path this organization should look into some promotional products to give away with their website information. Water bottles and Frisbees are great because they are inexpensive and a great summer promo people can really use!

    • Jaimie Smith

      That is a great idea, Jen! Right now they have wristbands that say Push for the Path. Frisbees and Water Bottles would be awesome ideas too! 🙂

      And I am glad you like the idea of this path! For us that are on the road often, we realize how good of an idea it really is.



        • Jaimie Smith

          Awww! Thanks for commenting!! I am glad you enjoyed this post!! And I am terribly sorry for your loss! It’s a very hard thing to go through, but I admire all of you guys for putting this all together! Keep up the good work! 🙂

  2. Mandy Kilinskis

    Push for the Path is fantastic! It’s amazing what people can accomplish with some determination and a great cause!

    Great overview, Jaimie!

    • Jaimie Smith

      Thanks Mandy! I know, i am so glad my friend told me about this! I really hope this works! 🙂

  3. Jenna Markowski

    What happened to Darlene is so sad, but it is so great that her family, friends, and community are coming together to fund this path in her honor! This path sounds like a needed resource for that community, so I hope they reach their goal!

    I was browsing their site and found that they have a “Power of 1” campaign that hopes to recruit 100 people to each raise $1000 by mid-July. It seems like they’re taking on the idea of crowd-sourced funding! They could even benefit from starting a campaign on Crowdrise!

    • Jaimie Smith

      That is a great idea, Jenna!! I’m really glad you were looking at their site. Crowdise could be a big help to them reaching their goal!
      And yes, you are right, it is def a much needed resource, we are lucky to have these people put all this together! 🙂

  4. Alex Brodsky

    Not only is this a great idea, but with such a tremendous upside it’s surprising that it took such a huge tragedy for something to be done by the city. But such is life, I suppose.

    Awesome post, and thank you for making us all more aware, and as with any tragedy, more appreciative of the things we DO have.

    • Jaimie Smith

      Thank you Alex. I am glad you liked it. But yeah, it really sucks that it takes a tragedy to make a difference. I just hope they can raise enough money to make this difference! 🙂

      • Eric

        Right on, Alex.

        Surprising we live in a time where things like this are only demanded from the fallout of a tragedy, and municipal planners don’t have the slightest bit of foresight to even consider the necessity of someplace for recreation not in harm’s way. You wouldn’t build a baseball field in the middle of I-355. Hopefully this is only the first of many space the public can safely have to themselves.

        Great post and a great cause, Jaimie.

  5. Cybernetic SAM

    What a great post! I always love it when community comes together! It is moments like that when I think it brings hope to the hopeless!

    • Jaimie Smith

      Thanks Sam! I am glad you liked this post!
      And yes, I agree, it brings the community together and like what Alex said, makes us all appreciate all the things we do have!

  6. Amy Swanson

    What a wonderful cause, Jaimie! Thanks so much for highlighting it!! I live near Yorkville and I remember reading about the tragedy, but nothing else was ever said about it in my newspaper again. I sincerely hope they’re able to raise the funds before their deadline. Any idea where they’re at right now for funds?

    • Jaimie Smith

      Yeah it was definitely a tragic in Yorkville, and to such a nice family. I hope they raise enough money too! and no I actually do not know where exactly they are at right now, but i could probably find out. 🙂

  7. Jill Tooley

    Thanks for highlighting this cause, Jaimie! I hate hearing about tragedies like this (and because of a person who was texting while driving, no less…GRRR!) but it’s admirable that her family is using this situation to benefit the Yorkville area. I’m with Jenna — I think a Crowdrise account would help Push for the Path quite a bit!!

    • Jaimie Smith

      Yes, the whole texting and driving thing could get another blog alone, but i decided to leave that alone, and focus on the good! 🙂 yes, i am very glad their friends and family are trying to benefit the Yorkville area, it is extremely kind of them. and I agree, we def should give a little shout out to them about Crowdrise and hope that it will help them! 🙂

  8. Rachel

    I echo everyone else in saying: great post, Jaimie! 🙂 Thanks for bringing awareness to this and for showing us an example of how to fundraise for a good cause. I hope they meet their goals soon!

    • Jaimie Smith

      Thanks Rachel! I am glad you guys all like it! i hope I dont bring down anybody’s mood with my posts, since i had this one and the cancer one. I just enjoy the fact that even though there was a teribble tragedy, families are able to pull through together and make a difference.

  9. Cindy

    Jamie what a wonderful job you did on this article.
    The accident was unfortunate, but sometimes things happen for a reason. I don’t ask why, but we all miss her everyday! Working on the project and seeing her pretty smile is very comforting. Danny and Darlene touched so many lives and continue to. The McCue’s are wonderful people.

    • Jaimie Smith

      Thank you so much Cindy! I appreciate you commenting, i love getting feedback!
      And I am truly sorry for your loss! It is very unfortunate to go through something like that, but I can’t even tell you how inspiring it is seeing you guys pull through and build this path for the community. I hope the goals are all reached and I would love to do anything I can to help out. 🙂

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