PHILANTHROPISTS OF THE YEAR AWARD
Each year at its Celebrating Local Philanthropy event, Illinois Prairie Community Foundation awards its Philanthropist(s) of the Year award. In 2020, IPCF began awarding two Philanthropist of the Year awards – one for Bloomington-Normal and the other for outside the Twin Cities (other parts of McLean County, plus all of DeWitt, Livingston and Logan counties).
Philanthropy is about generosity in all its many forms, commonly referred to as gifts of “time, talent and treasure.”
About the award:
Criteria for nomination – an individual, couple or family residing in McLean, DeWitt, Livingston or Logan County who demonstrates:
- Impact of philanthropic efforts
- Willingness to serve in leadership roles, providing vision and the ability to involve others in philanthropic activity
- Outstanding civic responsibility through voluntary commitment of time and contributions of financial resources
The nomination period is open each June and July, with nomination forms due by July 31.
A relationship with the Community Foundation is desirable but not required. Current IPCF Board members and staff are not eligible for nomination.
Top two nominees not selected in the previous year will automatically be considered for the current year.
2022 Philanthropists of the Year
Jan Meadows of Bloomington and Kevin Jones of Mackinaw, both of whom have given generously of their time and talents to many local organizations, have been named the 2022 Philanthropists of the Year by Illinois Prairie Community Foundation (IPCF). They will be honored during the Philanthropy Celebration at noon on Thursday, Nov. 17, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 10 Brickyard Drive, Bloomington.
Janice (Jan) Meadows - Bloomington-Normal Recipient
Jan Meadows of Bloomington exemplifies the spirt of philanthropy through her leadership and involvement in numerous community programs and organizations supporting students, families and educators in Bloomington-Normal. She will receive the 2022 IPCF Philanthropist of the Year –Bloomington-Normal award.
For the past 11 years, Jan has chaired the Back 2 School Alliance, which is a coalition of groups that annually provides more than 4,000 backpacks with school supplies to low-income families in Unit 5 and District 87 school districts. She coordinates the year-round collection of funds and school supplies, culminating in the Back 2 School Party where the backpacks are distributed and where local agencies are present to provide information and assistance to local families. Jan’s efforts with Back 2 School Alliance also provide opportunities for the high school students in Eugene Field School.
Jan retired in 2011 from Unit 5 Schools, after 35 years in the district – 20 years as a behavior specialist at Colene Hoose Elementary School and 15 years as a first-grade teacher at Glenn Elementary School. For 20 years, she also taught night courses at Illinois State University, retiring in 2021. Jan continues to mentor student teachers and honors students from ISU.
For the last 10 years, Jan has also been involved with the Promise Council, an independent school support program, which develops a sustainable network of caring adults to connect and engage community resources that remove barriers to learning so all children can achieve success through education. She currently serves a chair for two Promise Councils and is on the board of two other councils. In addition, she created Promise Shoes, a shoe bank of new and gently used shoes for students at Unit 5 and District 87 schools.
She created a 10-week course called WOW to develop leadership skills and confidence in elementary school aged girls. Jan wrote the curriculum, orientation and training sessions, recruits leaders to work with the girls and wrote a grant to cover the costs. She also serves on the Jill Hartke Better to Give Than to Receive Holiday Program, which provides clothing, toys, household items to 150 Unit 5 families in need.
After serving on the executive committee of the Unit 5 Education Association for many years, Jan continues to serve as vice president for the IEA Retired Teachers. She collaborated with Camille Taylor to bring Not In Our School programming to Unit 5 students, volunteers at McLean County Museum of History’s Cemetery Walk, and is a member of the philanthropic group 100 Women for Good. She taught pre-school religion classes at St. Patrick Church of Merna and Holy Trinity Church, both of Bloomington.
In all her volunteer work, Jan uses a network of community helpers who are willing to donate, volunteer or do whatever necessary to fill immediate and long-term needs of students.
She is married to Joe Luber, who is her support system in all her endeavors. They have three children – Sarah Imhof, Mark Meadows and Elizabeth Heidemann – and five grandchildren.
Kevin Jones of Mackinaw - Outside Twin Cities Recipient
Kevin Jones of Mackinaw exemplifies the spirt of philanthropy through his leadership and involvement in providing forums throughout Central Illinois and beyond for people to express their feelings and truly hear one another. He will receive the 2022 IPCF Philanthropist of the Year – Outside Twin Cities award.
Jones has facilitated Listening Circles, a restorative justice practice, to provide people an opportunity to speak and listen to each other in an atmosphere of safety, respect and equality. He facilitates Listening Circles in communities, workplaces, schools, nonprofit organizations, neighborhoods, universities and families. Since 2015, he has done more than 2,500 trainings, most recently after George Floyd’s murder, after the 2020 presidential election and attacks on the Asian American Pacific Islander community related to the pandemic.
Jones’ work with restorative justice is a culmination of his 35-year career serving children and families through such agencies such as The Baby Fold, the Children’s Foundation, the Department of Children and Family Services and the Regional Office of Education.
Training, coaching and educating schools, agencies and businesses across the country in restorative practices is Jones’ passion. He has facilitated several restorative practices trainings for Illinois State University, Bloomington Police Department, Carle BroMenn Medical Center, Western Avenue Community Center, Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal and several churches in McLean County.
He earned a master’s degree in Restorative Practices through the International Institute of Restorative Practices in 2017. Jones serves on the executive board for Project Oz.
According to his nominator, “Kevin understands that if people can have a positive way to heal from whatever issues they have, he can ultimately contribute to having a more peaceful world and making it a better place. His vision and ability to get others involved is a true philanthropist.”