Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

Paul and Sandra Harmon Named 2019 Philanthropists of the Year

To Be Honored at Celebrating Local Philanthropy Luncheon Nov. 14

BLOOMINGTON — Paul and Sandra Harmon of Normal, who have given generously of their time and treasure to many local organizations, have been named the 2019 Philanthropists of the Year by the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation (IPCF). They will be honored at the Celebrating Local Philanthropy Luncheon at noon on Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 8 Traders Circle, Normal.

Paul and Sandra Harmon

“The Harmons exemplify the spirit of philanthropy through their involvement in, and support of, numerous community organizations during the more than five decades they have lived in our community,” said IPCF Executive Director Greg Meyer.

The Harmons moved to Bloomington-Normal in 1968 when Paul began work as an attorney at Illinois Agriculture Association. He retired as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Illinois Agricultural Association (Illinois Farm Bureau) and COUNTRY Financial in 2008. Sandra retired from the Department of History and Women Studies program at Illinois State University in 2004.

Paul has been involved in local government for more than four decades, over the years serving on the Normal Planning Commission, Normal Town Council and then as Mayor, McLean County Regional Planning Commission, Illinois Municipal League Board and Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority Board.

In addition Paul’s community service in includes serving on the boards of the Bloomington/Normal Symphony Society, Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development for the Bloomington/Normal Area, BroMenn Foundation, Illinois Shakespeare Society and the McLean County Arts Center.

Paul served on the board of Illinois Prairie Community Foundation from 2008-17, serving on various committees during that time and as president from 2016-17. He was re-elected to the board to fill a vacant term in August 2018 and again served as president through June 2019. Sandra is a founding member of IPCF’s Women to Women Giving Circle and served on the Arts & Culture Grants Committee.

Sandra’s community service over the years includes serving on the boards of the McLean County Historical Society, ISU’s Senior Professionals, ISU’s Friends of the Arts, Heartland Theatre, Vladimir/Canterbury Sister Cities Association, Illinois Shakespeare Society, League of Women Voters and MARC Center. She also served on the Normal Human Relations Commission and Countering Domestic Violence Fundraising Advisory Committee.

Paul and Sandra’s fundraising experience includes serving on The Baby Fold Cabinet, Normal Theater Restoration Fund and Theater at Ewing Capital Campaign, and currently as volunteers on ISU’s major capital campaign.

Major philanthropic gifts have been made by the couple to The Baby Fold, Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, Community Cancer Center, Illinois State University, First Presbyterian Church and McLean County Museum of History. They have created three endowments: Paul and Sandra Harmon Arts & Culture Fund at IPCF; and Harmon Recruitment Scholarship in history and Paul and Sandra Harmon Shakespeare Endowment, both at ISU.

Paul and Sandra are members of First Presbyterian Church, Normal, and have served on various committees with the church.

As a couple, they were named 2018 History Makers by McLean County Museum of History and 1993 Normal Citizens of the Year. Paul was named 2015 Extraordinary Man of the Year by Collaborative Solutions and received the Illinois Farm Bureau Eagle Award for Excellence and League of Women Voters Award for Civic Service, both in 2007. Sandra was named 2006 Woman of Distinction in Creative Arts and Entertainment by YWCA McLean County and received a 2000 Outstanding University Teacher Award and 1996 League of Women Voters Award.

According to their nominator for the award, “Paul and Sandra Harmon are exemplary role models for civic leadership and philanthropic contributions in our community. Their time and talents dedicated to the community extend over a 40-plus year period and continue today.”

Also being held on Nov. 14 at the Radisson is a morning workshop for staff, board members and volunteers of nonprofits entitled “Cyber Securing Your Nonprofit in the 21st Century.” For more information or to register, visit, or contact Linda Shepherd at [email protected] or 309-662-4477. Reservation deadline is Nov. 7.

About Illinois Prairie Community Foundation
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 $17 million in more than 160 funds including endowments and donor advised, fiscal sponsorship and scholarship funds.

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