IPCF Offers Instruments for Philanthropy While You are Living

On November 17, 2022, David Williams was scheduled to speak at Illinois Prairie Community Foundation’s annual Celebrating Local Philanthropy luncheon about the endowed fund he and his wife Kay (both pictured above) established at IPCF. Unfortunately, David was unable to make the luncheon, so Drake Zimmerman read his speech for the audience. View Drake’s presentation of David’s speech.

“My thanks for the invitation to share the work my wife, Kay, and I have done with the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation for our planned giving. Let me start by sharing a brief memory.

When I was 16, my godmother arranged for front row seats for the production of “Hello Dolly” with Carol Channing on Broadway. I vividly remember Dolly Levi running to wrap her arms around Mr. Vandergelder’s cash register and saying “Money is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.” More politely referred to as “fertilizer.” These words are certainly appropriate for McLean and surrounding counties with some of the richest soil in the country. And, the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, is our “co-op,” so to speak, to help promote and manage our local philanthropy to “encourage young ideas for charity to grow.”

Kay and I have used the Community Foundation in various ways since the early days when Carol Ringer was the director. We have had a Donor Advised Fund for supporting local and worldwide charity since its inception. And, with the wonderful guidance and support of Greg Meyer and his staff, we created our Music Education Endowment in 2015 to provide grants for unique, one-time needs for music not only in our schools, but music at large for all ages and all abilities in the community. As of this year, we will have about $200,000 in our endowment to annually fund music grant proposals. A large portion funded by our IRA required minimum distribution donations direct to charity during our retirement years.

Since its inception, we have funded:

  • Orff instruments for the Prairie Central Elementary School in Fairbury
  • Risers for the choral program in Mt. Pulaski
  • Funds to restore old instruments for needy students through the local Share the Music program
  • Music for the Music Connections Foundation in Bloomington
  • Most recently, a commission for a new wind band composition to be performed free to the public by the Bloomington-Normal Community Band

I encourage you, as Kay and I are doing through the Community Foundation, to create instruments for philanthropy when you are living! It gives you the opportunity to, yes, see the rewards. But, more importantly, it gives you the opportunity to make mid-course corrections to ensure the program is meeting your personal goals for the greater good of the community.

To return to our farming metaphor, you might say the importance for “weeding and feeding” endowments during the life of the donors and their designated successors. This contributes to donor retention beyond the initial giving stage—a topic for another day. Greg, Michele and the Community Foundation Board have been especially supportive in our doing just that with the design and criteria for our music education grant program. 

In closing, let me say that I can’t think of a better philanthropy “co-op” for our surrounding community than the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation—a local philanthropy co-op to help manage and promote our local charitable giving. Thank you.”