McLean County lost a true leader and community sparkplug with the passing on November 7, 2020 of Barbara Jean Adkins.

Barb served the City of Bloomington for 32 years, beginning as a part-time police dispatcher, completing her career as Deputy City Manager. Following that, she managed The Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitor Center at the McLean County Museum of History. She was 61. 

She was very proud of her Illinois State University degree in Criminal Justice. Barb helped initiate the Not In Our Town movement locally, with the first community forums in December 1995 and the first march in July 1996. She helped sustain that movement and was always ready to stand up for justice and ensure human needs were met during her long career with the City. Barb served on the Bloomington Housing Authority Board, was active with the NAACP and the Central Illinois Chapter of The Links, an international service organization.

As a city employee, Barb was instrumental in supporting the Human Relations Commission, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon and numerous programs to assist city residents and to support human rights. Barb was one of five children who grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois. She was very proud of her Criminal Justice degree at Illinois State University.  

In her honor, a Criminal Justice scholarship is being launched at Illinois State University. $5,000 is necessary to initiate the scholarship; $25,000 will endow it for years to come.

Donations are being gathered at the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation under the name of Barbara J. Adkins Memorial Scholarship. Once the funds are raised, they will be transferred to Illinois State University to establish the scholarship.

Illinois Prairie Community Foundation serves as fiscal sponsor for Barbara J. Adkins Memorial Scholarship. If you would like to support this scholarship, please donate online by clicking on the Donate button below. If you prefer to make a donation in another manner, click here for information.