Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

IPCF Awards 76 Grants to Local Nonprofits

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.  – Illinois Prairie Community Foundation has awarded nearly $170,000 in three categories of competitive grants to 76 programs in McLean, DeWitt, Livingston and Logan counties. Grant awards ranged from $700 to $7,000. Funding came from donors to the Community Foundation’s annual campaign, the Jerome Mirza Foundation, and several endowments at the Community Foundation.

Receiving 45 General Grants totaling $77,956.13 for programs in the fields of education, environment, health and wellness and youth were:

  • Best Buddies International – $2,000 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.  
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois – $2,500 for “Comprehensive Mentoring Program” to help children improve their relationships with peers and adults, perform better academically and avoid risky behaviors through community- and school-based programs.
  • Bloomington High School Promise Council – $1,250 for “Calculated Success” (ED): To establish a bank of graphing calculators required in upper level math classes that can be loaned to low-income students for use at home.
  • Bloomington-Normal YMCA – $1,500 for “YMCA Youth Programs” to provide a safe, reliable space for children in after-school program and summer camp to be themselves and learn about being caring, honest, respectful, and responsible in order for them to become upstanding members of the community.
  • Boy Scouts of America – $1,000 for “Outdoor Adventure Camp” to help youth, who participate in outdoor camping experiences, to develop new skills and interests, practice sportsmanship and good citizenship, and learn to do their best, not just for themselves, but for their family and community.
  • Children’s Home + Aid – $2,000 for “Scott Early Learning Center Outdoor Learning” to provide new plants for the Center’s butterfly garden and allow children to plant a vegetable garden, enhancing the outdoor learning curriculum that provides experiential learning in nature and supports children’s healthy development and school readiness.
  • City of Pontiac – $2,000 for “Summer Park Program” to provide quality recreation activities for local youth while introducing them to resources available in the community including the parks and the Recreation Center which they can use year-round to stay active and healthy.
  • Clinton Community Educational Foundation – $1,000 for “Read Across Clinton” to improve the reading achievement of economically disadvantaged children (K-5) by letting them select a number of high-interest, low-cost books on the last day of school.
  • Clinton Community YMCA – $1,500 for “Clinton Youth in Action” to develop healthy living, social responsibility and readiness to enter the job market for 12-15 Clinton High School students, while providing labor for other non-profit organizations in Clinton and DeWitt County.
  • Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois – $2,500 for “Dignity Aisle Food Pantry Cooperative” to increase volunteerism while helping families overcome food insecurities and minimize financial impact due to inflation. Food pantry co-op offers members weekly volunteer opportunities giving them a sense of purpose and the option to learn new skills; in exchange, they are eligible to shop each week in a grocery-style setup.
  • Community Connection Group of Central Illinois – $1,000 for “Team Connection and Building Future Leaders” to provide a 4-week summer program in conjunction with Boys & Girls Club of Livingston County offering leadership training for local high school age youth; new program being introduced that educates and works with youth and adults with disabilities.
  • Community Health Care Clinic – $3,070.20 for “Putting One Foot in Front of the Other” to provide consistent podiatry care to patients who suffer from neuropathy, decreased mobility, poor eyesight and those working in environments that cause ingrown toenails and other issues with their feet; grant to purchase instruments for podiatrist who provides services.
  • Dreams Are Possible – $3,500 for “Enrichment and Enhancement Training for Students and Staff” to prepare women to enter non-traditional areas of employment which have previously been dominated by men because these areas provide increased financial opportunities; staff will receive additional training in the area of Trauma Informed Interventions as many students have decades of trauma that become barriers to success.
  • Eversight – $1,000 for “Sight-Saving Recovery Supplies for McLean and Livingston Counties” to underwrite eye recovery supply kits to ensure the recovery of corneal tissues, honoring the wishes of up to 5 McLean and Livingston County residents giving the gift of sight, allowing up to 10 individuals to regain the precious gift of sight through a corneal tissue transplant.
  • Faith in Action of Bloomington-Normal – $2,688 for “Senior Transportation in McLean County” to provide consistent and increased transportation options for the elderly of McLean County especially for medical appointments and grocery shopping; grant to cover cost of Ride Scheduler software for 12 months.
  • Girl Scouts of Central Illinois – $1,500 for “Direct Assistance – Girl Scouts of DeWitt, Livingston, Logan and McLean Counties” to support every girl in our communities as they grow into their full potential by ensuring girls of all backgrounds have equitable access to high-quality educational enrichment, mentoring, personal development, and social emotional learning; grant to subsidize fees required to participate.
  • Girls on the Run of Central Illinois – $750 for “Power Up With Girls on the Run” to prepare and empower girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living by addressing the need for increased physical activity to build confidence and self-esteem.
  • Great Plains Life Foundation – $2,500 for “Stay 4 Project” to decrease the number of low-income McLean County students that drop out of high school, by engaging them in activities that will encourage them to graduate and continue their education in a post-secondary educational program; grant covers unexpected expenses necessary to continue student’s education.
  • Homes of Hope – $3,205.50 for “Smiling is a Universal Language” to improve the oral healthcare of residents with intellectual disabilities; grant will provide 21 residents with one additional dental cleaning giving them the recommended two cleanings per year, plus purchase water flossers as recommended by residents’ dentists.
  • Illinois Spina Bifida Association – $700 for “Community-Clinic Connection/Hospital Stay Financial Assistance” to provide financial support to reduce family stress and improve financial wellness for Central Illinois residents with spina bifida, allowing caregivers to provide more support to their family members.
  • Illinois Wesleyan University – $750 for “IWU Language School for Kids (LSK) Programming 2022-23” to introduce children to the rich diversity of the human experience by promoting cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity to others through language immersion summer programs and regular LSK offerings.
  • Lincoln Pastoral Counseling Services – $2,500 for “Subsidy Program” to subsidize program offering quality, professional, low-cost counseling services to residents of Logan County regardless of her/his ability to pay full fee for those services.
  • Living Well United – $1,000 for “Program of Intergenerational Education (PIE)” to reduce social isolation in the senior population and bring generations together to share a common project at monthly pie-making workshops.
  • Marcfirst – $1,000 for “Celebrating Our Uniqueness” to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all facets of community life, as well as awareness of the barriers that people with disabilities still sometimes face in connecting to the communities in which they live.
  • McLean County Children’s Advocacy Center – $1,500 for “Prevent 360◦” to teach students and adults how to prevent, recognize, and respond appropriately to child abuse (child sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect), bullying, cyber bullying, and digital dangers; this social-emotional programming will be provided in local schools.
  • Miller Park Zoological Society – $2,500 for “Endangered Species Pollinator Garden Creation Phase Two” (EN): To change and expand the pollinator garden at the Zoo to include native endangered plants, sensory exhibits, better signage and seed/plant exchanges, thereby improving opportunities within the garden for education and improving the environment using thriving pollinators. Funded in part by the Go Green Grant through gifts from Deanna Frautschi and Alan Bedell Donor Advised Fund.
  • Normal Community High School – $961.49 for “A Green Outdoor Classroom at NCHS” to create an outdoor classroom at NCHS designed and built by the STEM Capstone students in the Technology Department partnering with the students in the Student Support Program who will help design, build, plant and water the trees and flowers.
  • Normal Community High School – $2,460.94 for “Maker Space at NCHS” to provide NCHS students the opportunity to use hand and power tools to teach the concepts of technology and engineering; grant will purchase additional tools for the room.
  • Normal Police Department – $1,000 for “Renovation of Normal Police Department Family Room” to provide a space at the Normal Police Department that acknowledges the need for a supportive room for victims and witnesses of crimes to meet with police; project will include updated furnishings, calming decorations and a supply of convenience items.
  • Normal Public Library – $1,320 for “Computational Thinking Programs for Families at Normal Public Library” to improve computational thinking skills for children (aged 8-12) and their families in McLean County through monthly programs; grant to purchase Root Robots.
  • Normal Township Activity & Recreation  Center (ARC) – $2,500 for “Green Space Project: Therapeutic Garden” to overcome barriers by providing outdoor space that is fully accessible with diverse programming from partners like U of I Extension that will motivate seniors to engage with nature and each other in the fresh air.
  • Regional Alternative School – $1,000 for “Representation in Literacy Project” to create a culturally responsive library to engage students in robust and relevant conversations and encourage literacy, resulting in less disruption to the academic environment and more student engagement and learning.
  • Second Presbyterian Church of Bloomington – $1,500 for “Church Garden Redesign” to provide an urban pollinator garden as a place of beauty, respite, meditation, and education for use by the downtown community including visitors to the Free Pantry, visiting groups to the church, church staff and congregation.
  • Sugar Grove Nature Center – $1,500 for “Leave No Trace” to educate visitors of all ages to the importance of the principles of Leave No Trace, thereby avoiding costly restoration programs or restricting access to protected the land.
  • Sunnyside Community Garden and Food Forest – $1,000 for “Bees and Pollinators for Sunnyside” to increase pollination of fruit trees at the garden, bee hives and colonies will be purchased from a local source.
  • The Baby Fold – $1,000 for “Autism Playground Safety Items and Shade Shelter Completion” to give the children with autism a more enjoyable outdoor experience and allow for more time on the playground; grant would install sun shade shelter at playground.
  • The Salvation Army Lincoln – $2,500 for “Salvation Army Lincoln Food Pantry and Veterans Shelter” to provide food and hygiene products to clients of the food pantry and bedbug equipment to clients of veterans shelter.
  • The Salvation Army of McLean County – $2,000 for “Personal Hygiene Referral Program” to  provide hygiene products to families and individuals in McLean County once every 90 days with a referral from a partner agency.
  • The Salvation Army Pontiac – $2,200 for “Salvation Army Pontiac Food Pantry Basics for Families and Students” to provide specialty items that are higher in cost and not available to clients via state or federal feeding programs, including gluten-free items needed for children with food allergies, diets that require low-sodium or sugar-free products, plus provide basic cleaning and personal hygiene supplies.
  • United Way of Decatur & Mid-Illinois – $2,500 for “Dolly Parton Imagination Library in DeWitt County” to provide a high-quality, age-appropriate book monthly to registered childrenin DeWitt County from birth until their 5th birthday at no cost to the child’s family; program seeks to improve kindergarten readiness.
  • United Way of Logan County – $1,500 for “Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Logan County” to provide age-appropriate books directly to the homes of all preschoolers on a monthly basis for five years, fostering a love for learning and reading; program gives children a head start to kindergarten..
  • Vault Community Center – $3,000 for “The Golden Gears Café Small Business Leadership Program” to educate teens in the areas of leadership, business, culinary arts and basic cooking skills, helping to alleviate the apathy, low self-esteem, and lack of purpose that is prevalent in many students.
  • Vespasian Warner Public Library District – $1,000 for “Extending Access: Laptop Computers at the VWPL” to purchase laptop computer that visitors can use at the library, encouraging learning through opportunities for collaboration and personal development.
  • West Bloomington Revitalization Project – $1,300 for “Adopt-A-Pot” to make the city’s west side a more welcoming and safe place to live and visit, while introducing children and community members to gardening and spark excitement for beautifying their community. Funded in part by the Go Green Grant through gifts from Deanna Frautschi and Alan Bedell Donor Advised Fund.
  • YWCA McLean County – $1,300 for “YWCA Young Wonders Youth Development” to provide a safe and developmentally appropriate environment for children that further supports their social, communication, recreational, and self-regulation skills to help them be successful in life; grant will purchase various recreational equipment for program.

Receiving 27 Arts and Culture Grants totaling $70,000 were:

  • BCAI School of Arts – $2,200 for “Summer Arts Exposure 2022” to provide materials and supplies for summer arts immersion experience for children (ages 7 and older) allowing them to experience programming in visual, media, business, performance and sustainability arts.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Livingston County – $1,500 for “Fashion Forward” to encourage individuality and creativity, while educating youth about resource sustainability; participants will gain valuable planning and problem-solving skills as well as the ability to sew and mend.
  • Brass Band of Central Illinois – $2,000 for “2023 Spring Concert” to enhance music and cultural arts opportunities throughout Central Illinois by increasing public awareness of, and creating further appreciation for, traditional brass band instrumental music.
  • Children’s Discovery Museum – $1,500 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.
  • City of Pontiac – $3,600 for “Rockin’ at the River Summer Concert Series” to expose the citizens of Livingston County to a broad range of musical styles and genres while providing free, family friendly entertainment.
  • Community Concert Band – $4,000 for “New Music for the People” to bring a new, original piece of concert band music to as many people as possible, including both musicians and audience members. Funded entirely by the David and Kay Williams Music Education Fund.
  • Cultural Festival – $2,000 for “Variety Saturday – A Diverse Showcase of Talent & Culture” to showcase different genres of entertainment/talent to foster diversity and understanding by using entertainment to educate and expose individuals to something that may be culturally new to them.
  • Further Jazz – $2,500 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 – $2,500 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.
  • Heartland Productions – $1,500 for “The Play’s the Thing” to assist playwrights in improving their work while at the same time helping Central Illinois audiences become better responders to original and new plays.
  • Holiday Spectacular Inc. – $2,000 for “Free Tickets for Low-Income Community Members 2022” to underwrite the cost of free tickets to weekend afternoon performances of 2022 Holiday Spectacular; Western Avenue Community Center and Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church of Bloomington will target families to receive tickets.
  • Holiday Spectacular Inc. – $2,000 for “Time to Celebrate America Again” to bring together diverse segments of our community in a festive holiday environment to share a free public performance featuring the common values of love of music, family and country.
  • Illinois Art Station – $3,000 for “Empowerment Through Art: A Visual Arts Day Camp for At-Risk Youth” to capitalize on the transformative impact of the visual arts to empower traumatized youth, by strengthening their capacity to recognize, understand, and adaptively regulate their emotions so they can successfully learn, engage in personally satisfying skill-building, and grow in self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Illinois State University – $3,000 for “2022 Concerts on the Quad” to provide free summer concert series that focuses on interesting and accessible music of the highest quality.
  • Illinois State University – $2,500 for “Illinois Shakespeare Festival Courtyard Music Series” to support live music performances in the Ewing Cultural Center courtyard in conjunction with performances produced by the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.
  • Illinois State University – $4,000 for “ISU String Project” to provide a quality string education to students who have no access to a public school program and support existing public string programs, while providing practical teacher training for ISU string majors.
  • Illinois State University – $2,000 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 – $4,000 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 Wesleyan University – $2,100 for “48th 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 – $3,500 for “Illinois Chamber Music Festival 2022” 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 – $2,000 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 Arts Center – $2,000 for “Sugar Creek Arts Festival” to present an opportunity for artists to support their business practice, musicians to perform and be paid, the public to gather socially, and area businesses to have increased foot traffic.
  • McLean County Historical Society – $4,400 for “2022 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 – $4,200 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.
  • Prairie Fire Theatre – $3,000 for “Prairie Fire Theatre – “The Man of La Mancha – The Musical” to bring a professional great classic musical theater production to the community employing area musicians, artists, and technicians – the way show music was meant to be heard.
  • Share the Music – $1,500 for “Instrument Lending Program” to enable participation in music programs at schools, by making instruments available to those who cannot afford them.
  • 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 selling paintings for their financial benefit.

Receiving 4 Sol Shulman Jewish Life and Education Grants totaling $20,600 were:

  • Illinois Symphony Orchestra Inc. – $4,000 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 a free concert in fall 2022 or spring 2023 at the Temple.
  • Moses Montefiore Temple – $6,600 for “Jewish Life and Culture Fest” to increase engagement, education and awareness of the MMT Jewish Community within Bloomington-Normal and surrounding areas.
  • 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 – $7,000 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.

Along with $47,372 awarded by the Foundation’s Women to Women Giving Circle and $10,000 from the Foundation’s Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) cohort, IPCF has awarded more than $225,000 in competitive grants in fiscal year 2022.

About Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, now in its 24th 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 $23 million in more than 180 funds including endowments and donor advised, fiscal sponsorship and scholarship funds. More information is available at


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