BLOOMINGTON — George and Myra Gordon of Normal, who have given generously of their time and treasure to many local organizations, have been named the 2017 Philanthropists of the Year by the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation (IPCF). They will be honored at the Celebrating Local Philanthropy Luncheon at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Normal.
The Gordons exemplify the spirit of philanthropy through their involvement in, and support of, numerous community organizations during the more than 45 years they have lived in Normal.
Myra helped to found Operation Recycle (the precursor to today’s Ecology Action Center), served as its Executive Director when it became the full-time recycling center for McLean County, and is currently a “board member in perpetuity” of the Ecology Action Center.
Myra’s other past leadership roles have included two terms as Co-President of the McLean County League of Women Voters, board member of the Multicultural Leadership Program, member of the Bloomington/Normal-Asahikawa Sister Cities Committee, and board member and Vice President of the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation board.
At the Community Foundation, Myra volunteered to serve as interim Executive Director in 2007, and fell in love with that role. She was selected as permanent Executive Director in 2008 and served in that role for more than six years. Community Foundation achievements during her tenure include the very successful Women to Women Giving Circle, the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy program and increasing Community Foundation grants from $12,000 a year to more than $200,000 annually.
George is a retired Professor of Politics and Government at Illinois State, where he taught for 38 years. He has been a member of the McLean County Board for 20 years, chaired its Land Use & Development Committee for 16 of those years, and currently chairs its Justice Committee. He also has served in a number of community organizations, including the Cedar Ridge Elementary School Promise Council, the Unit 5 Diversity Advisory Committee, the Board of Compassion and Choices, and Moses Montefiore Temple, where he is a Past President, and where he also has served as Choir Director for more than 30 years.
Myra and George are happy that they have been able to make modest gifts in support of a number of worthwhile local organizations. Believing in the power of endowments to create a secure future for central Illinois, they have created two endowment funds: the George J. Gordon Scholarship in U.S. Public Affairs at ISU and the Gordon Performing Arts Fund at IPCF, which provides annual gifts to Heartland Theatre and to the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.
Also being held on Nov. 15 at the Marriott is a morning workshop for staff, board members and volunteers of nonprofits entitled “Working Together: Creating a Pathway for Team Success.” For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.ilprairiecf.org, or contact Linda Shepherd at [email protected] or 309-662-4477. Reservation deadline is Nov. 8.
Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, now in its 21st year, encourages and facilitates philanthropy in McLean, DeWitt, Livingston and Logan counties by connecting donors who care with causes that matter to them. The Foundation currently manages assets of more than $15 million in 150 funds including endowments and donor advised, fiscal sponsorship and scholarship funds.