Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

IPCF Awards $157,347 in Grants to 73 Nonprofits

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.  – Illinois Prairie Community Foundation has awarded $157,347 in three categories of grants to 73 programs in McLean, DeWitt, Livingston and Logan counties. Grants ranged from $500 to $6,750. Funding came from the Jerome Mirza Foundation, donors to the Community Foundation’s annual campaign and several endowments at the Community Foundation.

Receiving 37 General Grants totaling $61,722 for programs in the fields of education, environment, health and wellness and youth were:

  • Back 2 School Alliance – $2,500 for “Getting Ready for High School” to supply 8th grade students with higher-quality backpacks that can be retained and reused in high school to transport required laptops.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois – $1,800 for “Community and School-Based Mentoring” to purchase materials to train school-based mentors for children in their schools who are considered at risk of failure, impacting the child’s attitudes and behaviors about relationships, academics and risky behaviors.
  • Bloomington Area Career Center – $1,000 for “Geometry in Construction” to better prepare students interested in a career in construction by integrating geometry in construction course.
  • Bloomington Library – $500 for “Bingo for Books!” to promote access to books to low-income families at event at Western Avenue Community Center where families can tour the bookmobile, sign up for library cards, check out materials and learn about the library’s offerings.
  • Bloomington-Normal Mulberry School – $1,000 for “#MulberryLearnsOutdoors: Outdoor Classroom Project” to build an outdoor classroom space providing a hands-on learning environment that engages students in STEAM learning experiences.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal – $1,000 for “Integrating Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into Programming” to provide a foundation for safe and positive learning and enhance students’ abilities to succeed in school, careers and life. Grant will support staff training in SEL program.
  • C.H.A.R.M. Inc. – $1,000 for “West Bloomington Neighborhood Block Party” to provide resources, school supplies, educational and nutritional components, as well as legal aid access for low-income families in west Bloomington.
  • Center for Youth and Family Solutions – $2,500 for “Specialized Assessment and Supplemental Funds to provide specialized assessments and condition-appropriate treatment for area children that exhibit mental health struggles beyond what conventional intervention can address.
  • Child Protection Network – $1,500 for “Gas Cards for CASA Volunteers” to purchase gas cards to assist volunteers who travel when providing medical, legal, personal and educational advocacy for children in foster care.
  • Children’s Home + Aid – $2,075 for “Parents Care & Share – Father Engagement Initiative” to increase fatherhood programming by developing 5 Dad Support Groups that provide weekly peer-to-peer groups focused on parenting education and support.
  • Clinton Community Educational Foundation – $1,000 for “Read Across Clinton” to improve reading achievement by providing free books to economically disadvantaged children on the last day of school for summer reading.
  • Community Players Theater – $500 for “Summer Children’s Theater Camp” to engage and educate the youth of the community about live theater, building a lifelong love and passion for theater.
  • Ecology Action Center – $4,610 for “Reducing Barriers for Sustainable Recycling” to supply household recycling carts to low-income households in Normal and to provide permanent receptacles for public access in Downtown Bloomington.
  • Faith in Action of Bloomington-Normal – $2,000 for “Medical Transportation for Seniors” to improve the health of the senior population in cities it serves through increased accessibility to medical and dental appointments by volunteer drivers.
  • Flanagan Public Library District – $600 for “Summer Reading Program – Reading Takes You Everywhere!” to help students retain and enhance their reading skills over the summer by providing fun goals while allowing them to choose that they want to read.
  • Fostering Dignity – $1,000 for “Backpacks for Youth” to purchase backpacks that DCFS can give to children being removed from their homes so that they are not forced to use trash bags to transport their belongings.
  • Girl Scouts of Central Illinois Inc. – $1,000 for “G.I.R.L. Resident Camp at Camp Peairs” to provide financial assistance for camp fees to girls from low-income families, allowing girls to learn critical life skills while discovering nature, trying new things and making new friends.
  • Homes of Hope, Inc. – $4,000 for “Smiling is a Universal Language” to ensure that residents with disabilities will have access to adequate restorative and preventative dental care as a part of established Heart Health Hero Program.
  • Lincoln College – $1,200 for “Lincoln College Jazz Playformance” to offer reduced tuition for after-school program that invites children to play and create in a world of musical games wrapped in rhythm, melody, word-play and story.
  • Max’s Miles Foundation – $4,979 for “The Harmony Park Project” to develop an inclusive park in Bloomington that is safe and accessible for children and adults of all abilities. Grant will purchase the Merry-Go-All, an adapted piece of equipment that brings the joy of the merry-go-round to children of all abilities.
  • McLean County Center for Human Services – $1,000 for “Youth Outreach Services” to help children and youth lead productive, healthy lives through individual and family counseling, advocacy and case management.
  • McLean County Extension Service Foundation – $1,000 for “Trades 4-H SPIN Club to provide skill-based education and training for youth interested in the electrical trades in collaboration with Bloomington-Normal Join Apprenticeship Training Committee.
  • Multicultural Leadership Institute, Inc. – $1,440 for “Raising Awareness of Poverty Throughout McLean County” to increase local awareness of poverty by training volunteers in use of Poverty Simulation kit so they may offer simulations to local community groups.
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association – $2,000 for “Central Illinois Summer Camp” to allow children aged 8-17 who have a muscle disease to attend week-long summer camp where they will learn independence and engage in typical camp activities.
  • Odell Public Library District – $1,000 for “Reading Takes You Everywhere” to help children maintain and strengthen their reading skills over the summer break from school.
  • Pontiac Township High School – $1,200 for “Fresh Food For All” to engage students in the production of food by utilizing Tower Garden hydroponic growing systems to produce fresh vegetables for the cafeteria and culinary program.
  • Project Oz – $2,173 for “Livingston County Youth Intervention Program (YIP)” to provide a safe, stable living option for youth in Livingston County, up to age 18, who are separated from their families.
  • Recycling Furniture for Families – $2,500 for “Providing Furniture for Families in Need” to repair and restore donated furniture so that it is safe, hygienic and available free of charge to families living at or below the federal poverty level.
  • Salem Children’s Home – $907 for “Bees Helping Boys – Queen Rearing Initiative” to enhance the Bees Helping Boys program by starting a Queen Raising Initiative where students will learn to raise queens, helping them gain confidence by learning a new skill.
  • SBL Peace Meal – $1,500 for “Emergency Meal Distribution” to provide food security to seniors who live alone by delivering 4 shelf-stable meals that can be stored and eaten when winter weather prohibits volunteers from reaching their homes.
  • The Salvation Army – $1,000 for “Youth Night” to provide low-income youth in McLean County a safe place to meet weekly to develop character-building skills such as leadership, self-awareness and arts and crafts. A nutritious meal is provide at Wednesday Youth Nights.
  • Vespasian Warner Public Library District – $1,888 for “For Little DeWitt and Victory! – DeWitt County and the Civil War” to digitize three handwritten books that show the contributions of DeWitt County men who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.
  • West Bloomington Active Garden – $1,250 for “Young Gardeners Internship and Grow Your Garden” to launch a new Young Gardeners internship program for two junior or senior high school students at Sunnyside Garden and provide access to fresh produce through Grow Your Garden summer program.
  • Western Avenue Community Center – $1,000 for “Broadening Horizons to Increase Resiliency” to level the playing field in terms of experiences for low-income children by offering additional learning and enrichment experiences beyond the after-school program.
  • Write Stuff for Kids Inc. – $2,000 for “Summer Lunch Program” to provide DeWitt County youth with a safe, supervised place to go during the summer months to receive a free nutritious lunch and engage in positive activities.
  • YouthBuild McLean County Inc. – $1,500 for “Health and Wellness for Youth by Youth” to decrease number of McLean County youth affected by obesity and self-harming behaviors while increasing nutrition and fitness habits for youth by training older YBMC youth to teach their younger peers.
  • YWCA McLean County – $2,600 for “Young Wonders Healthy Kids,” to improve children’s physical, social and emotional health by ensuring they receive the recommended amount of physical exercise for their age by utilizing age-appropriate equipment.

Receiving 31 Arts and Culture Grants totaling $75,000 were:

  • Atlanta Public Library District-Atlanta Library – $5,000 for “Community Arts & Culture Programs” to inspire creativity and experimentation with arts and cultural programs for children and adults, including Arts Discovery Camps for K-8th grade children, library’s summer reading and STEM programs, arts & crafts programs, and This Golden Age for community seniors.
  • Atlanta Public Library District-Atlanta Library – $2,000 for “Museums on Main Street: Changes in America” to host the Smithsonian Museums on Main Street exhibition from Feb. 1-March 16, 2019.
  • Bloomington-Normal Community Bells – $1,255 for “Two Octave Set of Choirchimes” to complete the necessary instruments for a complement of four octaves of hand bells and three octaves of choirchimes necessary for optimum performance of compositions.
  • Brass Band of Central Illinois – $1,000 for “Spring 2019 Concert” to help offset costs associated with concert that is free and open to the public.
  • Children’s Discovery Museum Foundation – $2,500 for “Art Around You: Exploring Contemporary Art in the Community” to provide an opportunity for children in 2nd-5th grades to view, discuss and create contemporary art in collaboration with ISU University Galleries.
  • Corpus Christi Catholic School – $1,600 for “PreK-8th Grade General Music Program” to increase knowledge of rhythmic playing through the purchase of world drums and student guitars.
  • Cultural Festival Inc. – $2,000 for “Arts Voices Matter (Workshop & Jazz Concert)” to provide opportunity for musicians to gain valuable insight, advice and knowledge about pursuing a career in the music field through workshop facilitated by Kenya M. Johnson.
  • Further Jazz Inc. – $1,750 for “Jazz Films Series at the Normal Theater” to educate the community about jazz musicians through films on their lives followed by live concerts featuring the artist’s music at the Normal Theater.
  • Heartland Head Start Inc. – $2,630 for “Enhancing Art & Culture at Heartland Head Start” to enhance awareness and knowledge of the arts and cultural activities for children and families at HHS through a theater experience for preschoolers, poetry books in each classroom and a lending library of books about culture and the arts.
  • Heartland Jazz Orchestra Foundation – $2,000 for “History of Jazz Concert for Young People” to spark K-12 students’ appreciation of jazz music by experiencing high-level performances while encouraging students to learn a musical instrument.
  • Heartland Productions Inc. – $2,000 for “Play Reading Program – New Plays from the Heartland” to encourage playwrights through the Mike Dobbins Memorial “New Plays from the Heartland,” a one-act play competition for short plays.
  • Heyworth and Randolph Township Arts Council (HeART) – $3,000 for “Expanding Arts Programming for Heyworth and Randolph Township” to improve the cultural life in greater Heyworth area through Heyworth Youth Summer Art Camp and creation of community artwork to be displayed publicly.
  • Illinois State University – $3,300 for “2018 Concerts on the Quad” to fund performance fees for two free concerts – Ashley Lewis and Creole Stomp. Concerts provide audiences with a wide range of musical genres, broadening their musical horizons.
  • Illinois State University – $4,000 for “CPA Lighting Enhancement” to enhance lighting at ISU’s Center for Performing Arts, a new indoor venue for one of Illinois Shakespeare Festival’s plays in 2018.
  • Illinois State University – $3,500 for “ISU Community School for the Arts” to promote the arts in the community through various music programs and improve children’s attitudes towards the study of music.
  • Illinois State University – $2,900 for “ISU String Project” to provide quality string education to students in McLean and Livingston counties who have no access to a public school program and to provide practical teacher training for ISU string majors.
  • Illinois State University – $3,000 for “MIOperatunities Presents ‘Pirates of Penzance’ ” to educate the community about opera by funding Midwest Institute of Opera’s performance of “Pirates of Penance.”
  • Illinois State University – $1,865 for “Teen Arts Council at University Galleries of ISU” to increase high school students’ access to visual arts-based opportunities. This pilot program will provide 15 students with curator-led tours of exhibits, allow them to make their own art projects and learn about professional development and career planning.
  • Illinois Symphony Orchestra Inc. – $5,000 for “Illinois Symphony Orchestra’s Concerts for Kids – Peter and the Wolf with the Magic Circle Mime Company” to provide more than 800 free tickets to Concert for Kids to McLean County elementary students from low-income neighborhoods. (Grant partially funded by the David & Kay Williams Music Education Endowment)
  • Illinois Voices Theatre – $1,500 for “All You Need is Love – Seedling’s Summer Lovin’ Theatre Camp” to deliver a two-week summer theater camp where adults with disabilities will develop, rehearse and perform a theatrical showcase of scenes featuring the theme of love.
  • Illinois Voices Theatre – $1,000 for “Seedling Encore, Fall 2018 and Spring 2019” to provide an opportunity for all adults with disabilities to enjoy and learn more about the process of performing theater through two sessions culminating in theater productions.
  • Illinois Wesleyan University – $1,200 for “44th Annual Illinois Wesleyan Jazz Festival” to expand jazz festival from a 1 day event to a 2-day event for middle and high school students. The festival will support 800 students and 50-100 adults.
  • Illinois Wesleyan University – $3,800 for “IWU School of Music Summer Music Program” to provide intensive, professional training for young string and chamber music musicians and a free public concert series in Bloomington-Normal.
  • Inside Out Accessible Art – $1,500 for “IOAA Art Education” to provide “building block” art experiences to the community that are accessible to all while integrating all ages, abilities and levels of artists in order to recognize the potential of individual expression through art.
  • Lincoln’s Festival in Bloomington – $2,000 for “Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66” to host and promote existing and new programs celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s connections to the Route 66 corridor while exploring the influence of Shakespeare’s literature on Lincoln’s life.
  • McLean County Arts Center – $2,000 for “Sugar Creek Arts Festival” to showcase the artist to residents of Central Illinois by providing a venue for working artists, craftspeople and musicians in a variety of disciplines, in addition to providing children’s art activities and live music on two stages.
  • McLean County Historical Society – $2,500 for “2018 Evergreen Memorial Cemetery Walk” to enable schoolchildren to experience live theater while teaching them about their community’s history and the importance of respecting cemeteries.
  • Music Connections Foundation – $4,000 for “Niños y Música” to help Spanish-speaking parents and children develop English language skills, to educate parents on how to interact actively with their children through music and to promote positive parenting behaviors to foster optimal child development.
  • Prairie Fire Theatre – $3,000 for “Free Children’s Tickets to The Secret Garden Performance” to provide free tickets to children (age 12 and younger) to attend two matinee performances of the musical “The Secret Garden” by Lucy Simon.
  • Share the Music – $1,500 for “Share the Music Instrument Lending Program” to collect quality, serviceable musical instruments through an instrument recycling program and loan them at low (or no) cost to music education students in elementary school through high school who cannot afford instrument rentals.
  • Sheridan School – $700 for “Bum-Bah, Bum-Bah, Bum, Bum, Bum … Drumming Resources for Rhythmic Competency” to purchase supplies for 30 can drum kits for classroom and resources for teaching the rhythm material to students. (Grant fully funded by the David & Kay Williams Music Education Endowment)

Receiving 5 Sol Shulman Jewish Life and Education Grants totaling $20,625 were:

  • Illinois Symphony Orchestra Inc. – $3,000 for “Orchestra Around the Town Free Concert Series” to celebrate the legacy of Sol Shulman by partnering with Moses Montefiore Temple to increase awareness of Jewish composers through 2 free concerts (in fall 2018 and in spring 2019) at the Temple.
  • Moses Montefiore Temple – $3,525 for “Consultation on Conscience with the Religious Action Center” to enhance social justice in our world and our community by sending Rabbi and delegates to Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s Consultation on Conscience in May 2019.
  • Moses Montefiore Temple – $3,150 for “Jewish Film Festival” to provide cultural enrichment to the local community by viewing contemporary Jewish films at the Normal Theatre.
  • Moses Montefiore Temple – $4,200 for “Jewish Music Enrichment” to provide music leadership to the Temple through a Cantorial soloist and a Religious School song leader.
  • Moses Montefiore Temple – $6,750 for “National Federation of Temple Youth 2019 National Convention” to provide delegation of Jewish teens leadership training through attendance at the NFTY Convention, creating effective leaders in local Jewish community.

Applications for grants from the Foundation’s Women to Women Giving Circle and Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) will be available in September.

About Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, now in its 20th 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 $16.6 million in 160 funds including endowments and donor advised, fiscal sponsorship and scholarship funds.


Michele Evans, Grants & Communications Director, 309-662-4477