Invest in your community, and it will invest in you.

For more than 30 years, the Community Foundation of Central Illinois has served the region by building permanent endowments with generous donors who believe in giving back to the place they call home. By connecting passionate people with the causes that matter most to them, we are investing in the future of central Illinois… and helping our community partners leave a legacy.

A Living Legacy
One example of turning passion into progress is the Community Foundation’s Jean M. Brown Scholarship Fund. Jean worked as an industrial nurse at Caterpillar for more than 40 years. Jean’s love for nursing and her desire to give back are reflected in a generous gift of $1.47 million that the Foundation received upon her death.

Jean’s generosity created an annual scholarship for area nursing students based on financial need, professional goals and academic standing. To this day, 366 nursing students have benefitted from her kindness, which lives on as a valuable investment in the future of medicine and education.

Fresh Food Multiplied
Another important investment in our community is the Foundation’s Wholesome Food Fund. In 2012, representatives of the Peoria Riverfront Association, the OSF Dietetic Internship program, and other community members reached out to our team in an effort to maximize food assistance programs throughout central Illinois. The result was an innovative fund that doubles the value of food stamp dollars spent on fresh food at local farmers’ markets.

According to the Illinois Department of Human Services, more than 40,000 Peoria, Woodford and Tazewell County residents are enrolled in the federal food stamp program. The Wholesome Food Fund provides an incentive to shift funding to local farmers’ markets by multiplying the value of their food stamp purchases. Since its establishment, the fund has helped to provide more than $21,000 in fresh fruits and vegetables for area families in need.

For the Family
Speaking of families, a meeting with long-time Peorian and well-known community advocate Pat Barton led to the creation of our For the Family Fund. Pat’s passion for children and family causes was the driving force behind this designated fund, which provides support to service organizations like The Center for Prevention of Abuse and Crittenton Centers. As stated in the fund’s language, the goal is to “assist with family restoration and the elimination of dysfunction in family life.”

Having volunteered on numerous board and committees throughout the region, Pat has firsthand knowledge of the needs facing too many of our children. So far, the For the Family Fund has led to several community grants to help families in need—and we’re just getting started.

“Having the For the Family Fund keeps me tied to the community and helps me feel like I am making a difference,” says Pat, who also established two future Foundation funds as part of her estate plan: one for art exhibition, and the other to benefit women’s issues in central Illinois. “That’s what I like about the Community Foundation. It’s a great place for people to get involved and be impactful. If you invest in your community, it will invest in you!”

Making a Difference
On behalf of the board members, staff and volunteers at the Community Foundation of Central Illinois, we thank our many donors and contributors who are making a difference and enhancing the quality of life throughout our region. It has been our pleasure to serve central Illinois for more than 30 years, and with your help, we look forward to even brighter days ahead. iBi

Mark Roberts is CEO of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois. To learn more about opportunities for collaboration, visit communityfoundationci.org or call (309) 674-8730.