Durand Charm is a community -wide, volunteer-driven, non-profit organization that strives to restore beauty, economic prosperity, teamwork and pride to the Village of Durand and the surrounding areas.

Durand Charm was founded in 2014.


The Village of Durand is a friendly, economically stable community that has a unique charm highlighted by its town square. Visitors to Durand are welcomed by its residents and businesses; and return to enjoy a variety of local events and festivals that take advantage of spacious parks, rich history and beautiful rural setting.

The residents of Durand are proud of its top-ranked schools, many social opportunities and a strong belief in volunteerism. Everyone from life-long residents to first-time visitors feel right at home in Durand.


Durand Charm’s purpose, through charitable donations, is to lessen the burden of government, and increase civic awareness through volunteer engagement in the community of Durand and surrounding areas.


Business and Economic Development Committee

Friday Night Frenzy – Goal Completed Fall 2016

  • Held on the Square on the 1st Friday Night of each month.  Friday Night Frenzy which included various themes and entertainment.
  • Goal to encourage dinning/shopping social scene in Durand’s business district on the square.
  • The business district (square) is bustling several nights of the week, particularly Wednesday, Friday and Saturday April – December.

Durand Business District Sign – Goal Completed Spring 2014

  • Durand Business sign installed by the county at Durand and Best Road.

DARTS Revitalization Plan – Goal Completed 2017

  • The Economic Development Committee worked to create a revitalization plan for the DARTS organization. The plan was shared with President Etta Fugate.
  • Darts Implemented the plan in 2018 resulting in the following:
    • Purchased a new computer to keep records, create and maintain website.
    • Offering social networking and education opportunities to businesses and owners.
    • Community Dinner in partnership with Durand Charm. DARTS awarding Business of the Year and Durand Charm awarding the Citizen of the Year will be held on March 2, 2019.
    • April in Durand will be held on April 27, 2019. This event has not been held for many years.  Durand Charm members are serving on the steering committee.

Durand Telepharmacy – Goal Completed 2018

  • Durand Charm founders, Sheila Hoffman and Jody Meissen, presented at the 2016 IIRA Conference in Springfield. At that time, Durand was actively seeking a pharmacy to locate in Durand. Because of their presentation, the information was passed along to the current owner of the Durand Telepharmacy. He opened his business in Durand in 2018, providing a much needed service for the people of Durand.

Durand Streetscape Project – Ongoing Project

  • In the early stages of the grant planning process, Durand Charm was instrumental in gathering community input and suggesting design elements.
  • Helped the Village of Durand write and submit the RBEG grant, which was utilized in December 2018 to purchase lighting and other design elements for streetscape project.
  • Durand Charm partnered with the Village of Durand to submit previous ITEP grant applications.
  • Durand Charm Executive Director, Chris DeSchepper and Economic Development Chair, Sheila Hoffman created a PowerPoint presentation with demographics and reasons why Durand should receive the ITEP grant. Sheila and Chris presented the information at the Reverse Funding Fair held at WIU – QC. Campus. Representatives from IDOT and other government and funding agencies participated in the conference.
  • The Durand Charm Executive Director participated in the follow-up meetings with IDOT re: the ITEP application 2018.
  • Durand Charm collected Letters of Support from local businesses, federal, state and county. representatives for the ITEP application.
  • Durand was awarded the $1.7 million-dollar grant in May 2018.

Available Commercial Property Listing – Ongoing Project

  • Available commercial properties are listed on the Illinois Economic Development site (as allowed by local business owners).  Available commercial properties are also listed on the Durand Charm website (as allowed by local business owners).

Realtor Event – Ongoing Project  

  • First event held November 2018 in partnership with Durand State Bank. This will be an annual event partnering with Durand State Bank.
  • Rockford, Freeport and local realtors were invited to tour the community, school district and hear a short presentation about Durand and Durand State Bank.
  • Members of the committee will give a presentation to the Rockford Area Realtor’s Association re: the benefits of living in Durand.

Spring and Fall Plant Sale – Ongoing Fundraiser

  • Held on the Square in the Spring and Fall.
  • Flowers sold on consignment from Ahren’s Acres.
  • Spring sale held in conjunction with Adopt-a-Pot fundraiser sponsored by Beautification and Parks.
  • In the fall of 2018, Durand Charm partnered with the Durand HS AG program to sell pumpkins, gourds and cornstalks. Durand HS AG kept 100% of the profits from the sale of their items.

Durand Charm/Durand CUSD #322 Brochures – Ongoing Project

  • The committee worked with Durand CUSD #322 to develop a brochure to promote the benefits of a small school education.
  • Durand Charm developed a brochure to promote Durand Charm and the Village of Durand.
  • Both brochures are available at the Village Hall, to prospective buyers and realtors.

Beautification and Parks Committee

Welcome/Thank You for Visiting Durand Sign – Goal Completed 2016

  • A solar powered sign located on HWY 70 (Shell Station) that welcomes people and thanks them for visiting Durand.

Adopt-A-Pot – Ongoing Fundraiser

  • Adopt-A-Pot has expanded from 12 – 16 pots located on the Square to 36 – 38 pots located in front of businesses throughout the village and surrounding areas.
  • Businesses have the option to purchase plants from Durand Charm during the Spring Plant Sale or they can purchase plants on their own.
  • Pots are available from May until early October.
  • Businesses and individuals receive recognition for purchasing and maintaining the pot via a sign placed in the pot.

Center Park/Square/Gazebo Beautification – Ongoing Project

  • The committee decorates the Gazebo in the Center Street Park for each season and holiday. This year they added seasonal flags that are displayed when the Gazebo is not decorated for a specific holiday.
  • The committee decorated the square with Candy Canes this Christmas season to support and promote the Candy Cane Lane Craft Show held in November.

Lawn of the Month – Ongoing Project

  • June – September the committee selects a property that has curb appeal. The property is awarded with the Lawn of the Month sign placed in their yard for 30 days.

Merry and Bright Lighting Contest – Ongoing Project

  • During the month of December community members are encouraged to decorate their homes for the holiday season. Three winners are selected; one from the Eastside, one from the Westside and one from Otter Creek. The winners receive a $25 Pacemaker gift certificate and a plate of Christmas cookies.

Art in the Park – in Partnership with Durand Elementary School – Ongoing Project

  • A new incentive introduced in 2018. Art in Park is a project that brings students and adults together to add fall themed chalk drawings to the walking path in Saelens Park.
  • This event is held the same day as the Harvest Hayride. In 2019, this event will be held in conjunction with the Harvest Hayride.

Attractions Committee

Sound Garden – Goal Completed 2016

  • Durand applied for and received a grant in the amount of $15,815 to purchase and install the Sound Garden in Saelens Park.
  • The Sound Garden allows children to create and experience music outside of the classroom setting.

Disc Golf – in Partnership with Attractions Committee & Village of Durand – Goal Completed 2018

  • Durand Charm began the process of bringing a Disc Golf Course to Saelens Park in the spring of 2018.
  • Durand Charm and Village officials met with members of Rockford Disc Golf Club to discuss the feasibility and design of the course.
  • The proposed design was presented to the Village of Durand and approved.
  • Brian and Lisette Steelglove donated the funds to purchase the poles and baskets. Durand Charm donated $100 to purchase the concrete.
  • The course was installed in November and is open for play 365 days a year.
  • The Durand Disc Golf Club was formed to maintain and promote the course. They plan to hold several tournaments a year. The tournaments will bring visitors to Durand.

Movie Night – Ongoing Project

  • June – August Durand Charm hosts an outdoor family friendly movie on the first Friday of each month.
  • Movie night has been held on the Square, Saelens Park and is currently held on the basketball court at Durand Elementary School. The school location works well as we can move the movie inside the building in case of inclement weather.

Rubber Ducky Race – Ongoing Fundraiser

  • During the 4th of July celebration, participants who have purchased a raffle ticket cheer on the duck that corresponds with the number on their raffle ticket.
  • The ducks are poured into Otter Creek from the bridge on HWY 70 and they race down the creek into the center of Saelen’s park and across the finish line.
  • The first three ducks to cross the finish line win a cash prize as does Lazy Duck, the last duck to cross the line.

Geocaching – Ongoing Project

  • Geocaching is the world’s largest treasure hunt. Using a mobile app, clues and coordinates, Geocachers hunt for hidden objects usually near landmarks. Each Geocache container has small items that relate to geocaching site. Geocachers log the location and treasure they locate in the app.
  • Durand Charm placed 11 geocaches in 2014. Seven locations remain active.
  • Attractions Committee members maintain the geocache containers annually, replacing broken containers and “treasure items”.

Harvest Hayride – Ongoing Project

  • The Harvest Hayride began as the Haunted Hayride, a collaboration with Durand High School. The hayride was a fundraiser for Durand Charm. Unfortunately, due to conflicting schedules and activities, students were unable to volunteer as “spooks” for the hayride.
  • The scope of the project was changed to a family friendly format. Participants load hayracks in the Saelens Park and are given a 20-minute ride around the village. Durand Charm charges participants $1.00/per person for a ride.
  • Luminaries line the walk way of the park and fall themed cartoons play on the outdoor movie screen.
  • Popcorn, drinks and Candy Apples were offered to participants this year, thru a partnership with the Durand High School Cheerleaders and a private vendor.
  • The Durand HS AG Club sold pumpkins, gourds and cornstalks at the event.

Scarecrow Contest – Ongoing Project

  • Each October businesses participate in a village wide scarecrow decorating contest.
  • Winners are selected based on Best Use of Theme, People’s Choice and Most Creative. The public votes for the People’s Choice by liking the photo of the Scarecrow they like on Facebook. This helps promote the Durand Charm Facebook page, building an audience for our page. It also gives people the opportunity to participate in the contest and see what is happening in the community.
  • Winners receive an award that (which) they can display in their business.

Halloween on the Square – Ongoing Project

  • On the Saturday prior to Halloween, Durand Charm invites children from Durand and the surrounding community to dress up in their Halloween costume and parade around the square. Awards for the Cutest, Funniest and Best Group are provided.  The event is held on the Square or in the HS gym if there is inclement weather.
  • The community is invited to participate in Trunk or Treat. Trunk or Treat allows members to use their creativity, decorating their trunks and handing out candy to children.
  • After Trunk or Treat, children are encouraged to Trick or Treat at local businesses. The participating businesses display a sign welcoming Trick or Treaters. Businesses throughout the village are encouraged to participate in the event.

Candy Cane Lane Craft Show – Ongoing Fundraiser

  • In 2016, Durand Charm took over the Peppermint Swirl Craft Show, held the Sunday before Thanksgiving in the dome at Hononegah High School.
  • The event has grown to over 100 crafters and over 1000 attendees.
  • The event includes a raffle, silent auction and concession stand. The proceeds from the concession stand goes to the Durand HS Cheerleading program.
  • Organizing for the event begins in the spring with work continuing thru late November. Over 1000 volunteer hours are dedicated to the event.

Education Committee

Bulldog Sign – in partnership with Durand CUSD #322 – Goal Completed 2018

  • Durand Charm helped to obtain donations for a dimensional sign that would be used to promote the achievement and activities of Durand students using exchangeable photo boards.
  • The sign was installed on school property, along Center Street in the summer of 2017.
  • The two-sided sign can display separate photos of students. Mr. Leskowich, Durand Principal, determines which school groups and activities will be displayed on the sign from August – May. During the summer months, local organizations are invited to use the sign to promote their activities.

Summer Reading Program – in Partnership with Village of Durand – Ongoing Project

  • Durand Charm helps to support the Summer Reading Program for children K -3. The librarian’s salary is paid thru a grant from the Village of Durand.
  • Durand Charm provides money for books and prizes for the children participating in the program.

Dolly Parton Imagination Library – in partnership with the State Bank of Davis – Ongoing Program

  • Durand Charm received a $2,500 grant from the State Bank of Davis to partner with the Dolly Parton Foundation. The foundation sends enrolled children one book a month from birth to age five to promote literacy. The project began in 2017.
  • All children born with the 61024 zip code are eligible to enroll in the program.

Nature’s Classroom – in partnership with Durand CUSD #322 – Ongoing Program

  • In the spring of 2018 Durand Charm and Durand CUSD #322 proposed the idea of an outdoor classroom to the Durand School Board. The classroom will contain native plants and trees, along with a teaching station, seating for students and a walking path. The outdoor classroom will be a one of a kind educational space in Winnebago County and surrounding counties.
  • Durand Charm has worked to secure monetary donors, donations of vegetation and benches.
  • The anticipated completion date is Fall 2019.

Support of CUSD #322 activities – Ongoing Program

  • Durand Charm provides volunteers and monetary support for district programs and activities. Durand Charm has given dollars to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities for Elementary and Jr High School students.
  • Volunteered for Santa Workshop and Drive for Your School.  
  • Durand Charm has also donated proceeds from Candy Cane Lane Craft Show to the Durand Music program.

Career Day – in partnership with Durand High School – Ongoing Program

  • Durand Charm worked with Durand High School to help create an annual Career Day. Local professionals, alumni and others are invited to speak with students regarding their career, schooling involved, etc. This allows the students to explore careers they might be interested in.
  • Durand Charm supplies snacks and drinks for the event when asked by CUSD #322

Community Education – Ongoing Programs

  • Over the years Durand Charm has offered community education and seminars free of charge to the public.
  • Following is an example of program offerings:
    • Tax Preparation Workshops
    • Community Computer Classes
    • Community Interest Seminars i.e. Prairie Grass and Native Plantings
  • Durand Charm and Durand High School are currently working with Rock Valley College and Highland Community College to bring certificate producing classes in Microsoft Programs and Welding to Durand. Once approved, the classes will be held at Durand High School.

YMCA Programs – in partnership with the Rock River Valley YMCA and Durand CUSD #322 – Ongoing Program

  • Durand Charm has been working with YMCA and Durand CUSD #322 to bring summer childcare options to Durand. The YMCA would like to utilize Saelens Park and Durand School for an all-day summer camp program that will be a fee-based camp open to Durand and surrounding residents.
  • The camp would need a minimum enrollment of 25 children a week to host the camp. The YMCA and Durand Schools have attempted to host Christmas and Spring Break Camps in 2018, unfortunately enrollment has fallen short. Emphasis will be placed on promoting a summer camp opportunity for summer 2019.

Other Activities

Consignment Auction – Ongoing Fundraiser

  • Durand Charm organized and hosted the Inaugural Consignment Auction in September 2018. The new annual fundraiser was held at the Durand American Legion Post. Over 125 bidder and 75 consigners participated in the auction.
  • The auction will be held on June 9, 2019 at the Durand American Legion.

Meet the Candidate Night – Ongoing Program

  • Durand Charm hosted two very successful Meet the Candidate Nights. This civic activity is intended to give candidates an opportunity to present their platform and ideas to constituents prior to municipal and state elections.
  • The first event was held in Spring 2017. Municipal and school board candidates were invited to speak for five minutes each, addressing what their ideas and vision were for the office they were seeking. Approximately 50 people attended the event.
  • The second event was held in the Spring 2018 prior to the Illinois Primary. Candidates seeking federal, state and county offices were invited to present their platform for five minutes. Over 100 people attended the event.
  • Durand Charm is currently in the process of organizing a Meet the Candidate Night prior to 2019 Consolidated Election April 2, 2019. Candidates running for the Village Trustee and School Board elections will be invited to participate in the event.

Live Nativity – in partnership with Durand Ecumenical Council – Ongoing Program

  • Durand Charm provides the AV Equipment and technical support the Live Nativity presented by DEC in December.

RSVP – Ongoing Program

  • Durand Charm began a partnership with RSVP, a retired Service Volunteer Program for Boone and Winnebago County in 2017. To date over 1000 hours have been logged by Durand volunteers.
  • RSVP Volunteers log their community service hours and submit them to RSVP monthly. RSVP receives funds federal funds which they direct back to senior and community programs in both counties.
  • Information for enrollment is located on the Durand Charm Website.

Lifescape – in partnership with Trinity Lutheran Church – Ongoing Program

  • Durand Charm began a partnership with Lifescape in 2017. Sharon Beksel, of Trinity Lutheran Church serves as the coordinator for Lifescape programs and events.
  • They host a yearly program re: services offered to Durand residents, including help with gas and electric bills.
  • Trinity Lutheran Church host bi-weekly card games and a fellowship for seniors.
  • Lifescape holds a balance class bi-annually at Trinity Lutheran Church. The intention of the class is strengthening seniors and preventing injuries from falls.

Community Foundation of Northern Illinois – Ongoing Fundraiser

  • Durand Charm has an endowment fund with the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. The fund is intended as a way for donors to give a gift to Durand Charm. The endowment allows Durand Charm to accept monetary gifts, property, machinery, monthly donations and planned giving gifts.
  • Durand Charm will host two planned giving seminars in 2019.

Peace Corp Fellow – Completed

  • Durand Charm decided to host a Peace Corp Fellow to work in high priority community development projects in January 2014. Matt Wolf remained with the project thru 2015, receiving a grant from IIRA for the first year’s salary and worked to obtain a grant from the Village of Durand to support the Executive Director’s Salary.

Spring Fling – On Hold

  • In May of 2017, Durand Charm hosted a Spring Fling in Saelens Park. The intention of the project was to promote Durand Charm, the Village of Durand and encourage outside partnerships.
  • This semi-annual event included children’s activities, concessions and speakers. County Board Chairman, Frank Haney, Transform Rockford Executive Director Mike Schablaske and Village President Bob Corwin spoke at the event.
  • Due to DARTS hosting April in Durand on April 27, 2019, Durand Charm will not host the Spring Fling promotional event this year. Durand Charm will participate in the April in Durand event, having a booth to promote Durand Charm and our programs.

Mural Project – Completed

  • Although the Durand mural project was not a Durand Charm initiative, members of Durand Charm assisted with the design, fundraising and installation of the mural located on the square on the side of the former Yale Building.
  • The mural adds interest and draws in visitors, who learn about the history of Durand thru the art medium.


  • Serves as a promotion pipeline with the Lake Summerset Community, utilizing Next Door and the Lake Summerset News.
  • Frequent articles in The Volunteer, Neighbors and Brodhead Free Press promoting activities in Durand
  • Durand Charm has redesigned website that provides information, resources and marketing of activities in and around Durand.
  • Durand Charm has an active social media presence with over 1.4K people who like the Facebook page and 245 followers on Instagram and growing.
  • Created the social media campaign #meetmeinDurand for social media posts
  • Attend ribbon cuttings and business openings in around the village

Strategic Partnerships

  • Village of Durand
  • Durand CUSD #322
  • Durand State Bank
  • Monroe Clinic *President and ED serve on the Advisory Board
  • Durand Ecumenical Council
  • Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Durand Business Owners
  • Lake Summerset
  • State Bank of Davis
  • Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs
  • Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence *ED obtained Certificate in Non-Profit Management from NICNE and Rockford University in 2017
  • Community Foundation of Northern Illinois
  • Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Rock River Valley YMCA
  • Lifescape
  • RSVP of Winnebago and Boone County