Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

IPCF Awards 66 Grants to Local Nonprofits

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.  – Illinois Prairie Community Foundation has awarded $119,173 in three categories of competitive grants to 66 programs in McLean, DeWitt, Livingston and Logan counties. Grant awards ranged from $500 to $5,500. Funding came from donors to the Community Foundation’s annual campaign, the Jerome Mirza Foundation, and several endowments at the Community Foundation.

Receiving 40 General Grants totaling $51,642 for programs in the fields of education, environment, health and wellness and youth were:

  • Allin Township Fire Department – $700 for “Tactical EMS PPE” to purchase a protective vest for Emergency Medical Technicians to wear in incidents where their safety could be compromised.
  • The Baby Fold – $2,500 for “Autism Playground Shade Shelter” to purchase and install a shade shelter allowing students with autism to comfortably learn and play on sensory playground.
  • Back to School Alliance – $1,000 for “Getting Ready for Pre-School” to provide early literacy materials to pre-school backpacks for young children attending Back 2 School Party before 2021-2022 school year.
  • BCAI School of Arts – $1,000 for “BCAI Summer Arts Exposure” to provide materials and supplies for summer arts immersion experience for children (ages 7 and older) which allows them to experience programming in visual, media, business, performance and sustainability arts.
  • Best Buddies Illinois – $500 for “Best Buddies Leadership Program” to develop leadership skills
    in students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through school friendship program and ambassador program.
  • Black Nurses Association of Central Illinois – $500 for “2021 Virtual 5K Walk/Run for Health” to engage community members in a physical activity and celebrate their participation.
  • Bloomington Library – $500 for “Memory Care Collection & Outreach” to support and educate residents, caretakers and professionals on the medical and social aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease and other memory-related conditions.
  • Bloomington-Normal YMCA – $2,000 for “Y Academy @ Camp Sparrow” to provide academic intervention and summer camp opportunities for students adversely affected by COVID-19.
  • B-N Mulberry School – $912 for “Learning Outdoors” to increase opportunities for outdoor, open-air learning and engagement for students through construction of an outdoor shaded learning and arts space.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal – $2,100 for “STEAM Powered Play” to provide STEAM program access to at-risk youth; in partnership with the Children’s Discovery Museum.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Livingston County – $1,000 for “Money Matters” to increase the financial literacy skills of youth, providing them with tools and resources to develop their decision-making skills and put them on a path to financial well-being.
  • Children’s Home + Aid – $2,500 for “Bloomington Crisis Nursery” to prevent the abuse and neglect of infant and young children who are at risk of maltreatment due to crisis situations and to support and strengthen parent’s abilities to function successfully by providing crisis counseling, parenting education and resource referral services.
  • Clinton Community Education Foundation – $1,000 for “Read Across Clinton” to improve the reading achievement of economically disadvantaged children by providing each child a variety of books to take home on last day of the school year.
  • Community Connection Group of Central Illinois – $1,200 for “Building Future Leaders and Entrepreneurs”to help youth in Livingston County bridge the gap between high school and their future though a 4-week summer program.
  • Community Health Care Clinic – $2,000 for “Technology to Support Dental Hygiene Expansion at the CHCC” to increase access to appropriate, affordable dental care for uninsured adults in McLean County by becoming a clinical practice site for Illinois Central College’s dental hygiene program; grant to purchase new laptops and electronic medical record licenses to support this partnership.
  • Dreams Are Possible – $3,500 for “Expanding Your Opportunities” to prepare women for economically sustainable employment, students will attend basic forklift training at Heartland Community College, as well as supplemental enrichment classes.
  • Easterseals Central Illinois – $1,200 for “Timber Pointe Outdoor Challenge Course” to purchase and upgrade equipment for Challenge Course necessary to meet best practices during a pandemic allowing campers to realize the potential in themselves.
  • Fostering Dignity – $500 for “Backpacks for Youth” to purchase backpacks that will be distributed to local DCFS offices for use by staff when removing a child from an abusive or neglectful situation.
  • Girl Scouts of Central Illinois – $1,000 for “Camperships – DeWitt, Livingston, Logan & McLean County Girl Scouts” to fund resident camperships for at-risk girls in 4 counties, ensuring every girl has access to enrichment programming on their journey to reach their full potential.
  • Girls In the Game – $650 for “Girls in the Game After School” to provide a safe, noncompetitive environment for girls at five District 87 schools to learn and stay active in this weekly after-school program.
  • Girls on the Run – $500 for “Power Up With Girls on the Run” to help more girls attending McLean County schools recognize their inner strength during after-school program that focuses on building confidence through running, culminating in a 5K race.
  • Great Plains Life Foundation – $2,000 for “Stay 4 Project” to provide support for first-year college or trade school students for rent, food, books or computers.
  • Heartland Community College Foundation – $1,500 for “Student Emergency Fund” to provide temporary, short-term financial assistance to students facing unexpected financial hardship; students work with college success coaches to help them identify their financial challenges while also providing temporary financial relief.
  • Illinois Wesleyan University – $1,000 for “IWU Language School for Kids (LSK) Summer and Fall 2021 Programming” to support the operational costs of running the LSK language program, including the development of teaching materials, such as open-source digital repository of voice recordings with stories in languages other than English.
  • Lincoln Pastoral Counseling Services – $1,000 for “Subsidy Program” to decrease mental health issues within the community by increasing the amount of subsidy funding provided to those unable to pay full fee for counseling services.
  • Living Well United – $650 for “Mix & Fix – Healthy Easting Recipe Card and Sample Program” to make recipe cards for healthy meals using mainly items already provided at the local food pantry.
  • Livingston County Special Services Unit – $2,300 for “LCSSU’s Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES)” to allow special needs students to explore various jobs, while using real tools, and developing proper work behaviors; grant will provide consumable supplies to be used by students in the PAES lab.
  • Midwest Food Bank – $1,500 for “Hope Pack Weekend Feeding for Local Children at Risk for Food Insecurity” to provide supplemental weekend food to children with food insecurity throughout the school year, ensuring students arrive at school on Monday morning ready to learn.
  • Miller Park Zoological Society – $1,000 for “Endangered Species Pollinator Garden Creation” to change and expand the pollinator garden at zoo to consist of native endangered plants, sensory exhibits, better signage, and seed/plant exchanges, thereby improving the environment directly and indirectly through people and thriving pollinators.
  • Regional Alternative School – $1,500 for “RAS Virtual Reality Work Skills Laboratory” to increase the technical skills students have exposure to through experiential virtual reality learning.
  • Salvation Army Lincoln 360 Life Center – $1,500 for “Salvation Army Lincoln Food Pantry and Veterans Shelter” to provide food, hygiene products and bedbug equipment needed at food pantry and veterans homeless shelter.
  • Salvation Army of McLean County – $2,000 for “Salvation Army Bloomington Youth Camp” to bring at-risk children out of their home environment to participate in experiences not found in an urban setting while increasing self-esteem and developing social Skills.
  • Salvation Army Pontiac 360 Life Center – $1,500 for “Salvation Army Pontiac Food Pantry” to provide healthy, nutritious food, and paper and hygiene products to Livingston County residents at no cost.
  • Sunnyside Community Gardens & Food Forest – $930 for “Sunnyside Strawberry Apprenticeship” to create a small strawberry farm that would allow 1-2 youth every season to have a part-time summer job and gain lifelong lessons; grant would purchase plants and materials to create strawberry beds.
  • Tri-Point National Honor Society – $1,200 for “Tree Restoration Project” to create a space behind the school where football field and track field used to be; adding trees will develop an area for students and community to enjoy safely.
  • Vault Community Center – $2,000 for “The Golden Gears Café: Small Business Leadership Program” to educate Clinton are teens in the fields of leadership, business, culinary arts and basic cooking skills, helping to alleviate apathy, low self-esteem and lack of purpose prevalent in local students.
  • Vespasian Warner Public Library District – $800 for “Library of Things at the Vespasian Warner Public Library” to create a unique collection of items such as tools, sports equipment and art supplies that can be borrowed for free with a library card, opening the door to learning new skills without the investment in new equipment.
  • West Bloomington Revitalization Project – $1,000 for “Facilitating DIY Energy Efficiency for West Bloomington Residents” to add a variety energy efficiency tools and supplies to the Tool Library inventory to enable residents (renters and homeowners alike) to implement simple Do-It-Yourself energy efficiency improvements to their residences.
  • Western Avenue Community Center – $500 for “Teen Girls Exploration of Career Tracks” to provides teen girls in the community with the opportunity to explore a variety of future career options.
  • YWCA McLean County – $1,000 for “YWCA Fitness Fliers” to give children aged 5-12 in Youth Development program the chance to utilize larger muscle groups in a safe, monitored environment; grant to purchase equipment such as roller skates, tricycles, scooters and safety equipment.

Receiving 22 Arts and Culture Grants totaling $54,031 were:

  • Children’s Discovery Museum – $1,000 for “Art Around You: Exploring Contemporary Art in the Community” to provide children in 2nd to 5th grades an opportunity to view, discuss and create contemporary art; partnership with Illinois State University Galleries.
  • Further Jazz – $1,700 for “Jazz Film Series at the Normal Theatre” to produce a series of films and concerts that will focus on jazz films and jazz-influenced films; each film will be followed by a concert featuring the music of the artist featured in the film.
  • Heartland Jazz Orchestra Foundation – $1,500 for “Community Jazz Concerts” to help community learn to appreciate the jazz genre through free “pop-up” neighborhood jazz concerts within ICPF’s 4-county geographic area.
  • Holiday Spectacular Inc. – $2,000 for “Free Tickets for Low-Income Community Members 2021” to underwrite the cost of free tickets to weekend afternoon performances of 2021 Holiday Spectacular; Western Avenue Community Center and Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church of Bloomington will target families to receive tickets.
  • Illinois Art Station – $3,000 for “Art Perspectives” to help children (K-5) explore different artists from a variety of backgrounds using a wide range of techniques and mediums; children will develop their own creative voice and learn how to visually express themselves; grant to purchase art materials and supplies.
  • Illinois State University – $3,500 for “2021 Concerts on the Quad” to provide free summer concert series that focuses on interesting and accessible music of the highest quality.
  • Illinois State University – $4,000 for “Bard in a Box” to engage elementary, middle school and high school students with Shakespeare’s plays and demonstrate that Shakespeare’s works are still accessible and entertaining; grant to help increase the number of Bard in a Box performances in McLean, DeWitt, Livingston and Logan counties.
  • Illinois State University – $2,500 for “ISU Community School for the Arts Outreach” to support three programs: Traditional Music Lessons taught by ISU music students; Redbird Road Concerts where free performances are given in area venues; and MusicScores! instruction on the violin at one area Head Start location.
  • Illinois State University – $1,700 for “Teen Arts Group at University Galleries” to provide 15 Bloomington High School students with free opportunities to engage with contemporary art, interact with arts professionals and gain professional gallery experience.
  • Illinois Symphony Orchestra – $3,922 for “Concert for Kids” to create a highly interactive and engaging concert experience that will introduce, engage and inspire students in grades K-5 through live orchestral performance in Bloomington.
  • Illinois Voices Theatre, ECHOES – $500 for “ECHOES Theatre Pilot Internship Program” to create a fieldwork internship for a student pursuing a career in theatrical design by offering a design and creation opportunity with the 2021 Evergreen Cemetery Walk, which ECHOES produces for the McLean County Museum of History.
  • Illinois Wesleyan University – $2,100 for “47th Annual Jazz Festival at Illinois Wesleyan” to provide professional training for young musicians, increasing their knowledge and skills while also helping local music educators who lead jazz groups by providing clinics and workshops in skills needed by educators.
  • Illinois Wesleyan University – $3,600 for “IWU School of Music Summer Music Program” to provide intensive and professional training for young musicians, increasing their knowledge and skills, while providing a free public concert series in the Bloomington- Normal community.
  • Inside Out Accessible Art Cooperative – $2,500 for “IOAA Art Education” to develop a lifelong pursuit of the arts by providing a variety of art classes at reduced cost to youth, seniors, adults and individuals with disabilities.
  • McLean County Historical Society – $5,000 for “2021 Evergreen 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 develop English language skills in parents and children; to educate parents on how to interact actively with their children through music; and to promote positive parenting behaviors to foster optimal child development at home.
  • Poco a Poco Inc. – $2,000 for “Poco a Poco 2021 Summer Music Fest” to produce a summer music festival in Streator, including intensive and interactive music training and live concerts.
  • Prairie Fire Theatre – $2,500 for “An Evening of Opera Favorites Under the Stars” to provide a quality, free and professional operatic performance for the community the Connie Link Auditorium in Normal.
  • Salem4Youth – $1,500 for “Music is Good for the Soul” to provide boys in program with the chance to channel a portion of their angst into an instrument, primarily guitar or percussion instrument; boys will learn sound design and build or restore guitars.
  • Share the Music – $1,809 for “Instrument Lending Program” to enable participation in music programs at schools, by making instruments available to those who cannot afford them; program is funded by the David and Kay Williams Music Education Grant.
  • Sound of Illinois, SFPEBQSA – $2,200 for “2021 Central Illinois Youth in Harmony” to draw singers from area high schools for a full day of choral instruction, small group coaching and performances.
  • Threshold to Hope Inc. – $1,500 for “Art Instruction and Exploration for Low-Income Artists” to increase low-income artists’ skills, allowing them to experience emotional benefits of painting and assist them in creating paintings that have the potential to be sold for their financial benefit.

Receiving 4 Sol Shulman Jewish Life and Education Grants totaling $13,500 were:

  • Illinois Symphony Orchestra Inc. – $2,500 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 a free concert in fall 2021 or spring 2022 at the Temple.
  • Moses Montefiore Temple – $3,000 for “Music Enrichment/Songleader” to provide a structured and ongoing program of music enrichment and education to all who attend services and to families and children enrolled in the Religious School.
  • Moses Montefiore Temple – $5,000 for “Tech in the Temple” to connect to Temple members, bringing them religious, social and education opportunities and expand religious reach outside the walls of the synagogue through the purchase of a permanent video, streaming and sound equipment at the temple.
  • Regional Office of Education 17 – $3,000 for “Mobile Museum of Tolerance” to engage educators in experiencing the Mobile Museum of Tolerance as a workshop in human behavior where they will witness personal testimonies, engage in facilitated discussions and receive curricular materials developed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Local educators will collaboratively share and plan to bring these resources to middle and high school students in ROE 17.

Along with $40,532 awarded by the Foundation’s Women to Women Giving Circle and $11,680 from the Foundation’s Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) cohort, IPCF has awarded $171,385 in competitive grants in fiscal year 2021.

About Illinois Prairie Community Foundation
Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, now in its 23rd 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 $22 million in more than 175 funds including endowments and donor advised, fiscal sponsorship and scholarship funds. More information is available at

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