Each year at its Celebrating Local Philanthropy event, Illinois Prairie Community Foundation awards its Philanthropist(s) of the Year award. In 2020, IPCF will award 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). This year's event will be held virtually on Nov. 19.

Philanthropy is about generosity in all its many forms, commonly referred to as gifts of “time, talent and treasure.”

2020 Philanthropists of the Year winners:

Arthur and Camille Taylor

The Taylors of Bloomington have done so much for our local community over many years working tirelessly as community leaders.

Arthur and Camille Taylor of Bloomington

Both have been instrumental in fighting racism in the Twin Cities. Arthur has been actively working to increase communication and transparency between the community and the police through his work as immediate past chair and current member of the Public Safety and Community Relations Board, a civilian review board established by Bloomington’s City Council. Camille has a nearly 20-year involvement with Not in Our Town, whose mission is to stop hate, address bullying and make a safe, more inclusive community. The organization has worked within the communities of Bloomington and Normal to foster an appreciation of all marginalized groups, raise awareness and work for social justice. Camille is Co-Chair of the NIOT Steering Committee and Not in Our Schools, which she helped launch in 2015.

Both Taylors have worked tirelessly on improving race relations locally, leading trainings, serving on panels, attending workshops and presenting on the topic to various social groups. Arthur has been called a “social justice warrior”; Camille has a passion for equality and celebrating diversity.

Arthur retired in 2017 from State Farm Insurance Cos., where he worked in various positions as an Auto Claims Representative, Staff Assistant in Subrogation, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Claims Services, and as a manager over employees in 16 states. Prior to working at State Farm, Arthur had worked for 22 years at national retail chains including Sears, Target, Best Buy and Circuit City in sales and managerial capacities.

Camille retired in 2012 after 35 years with Normal Unit 5 School District, where she taught in the elementary and junior high levels as a self-contained and itinerant special education teacher, Positive Life Skills Teacher and an At-Risk Interventionist. Camille was a counselor during her last 12 years at Normal Community High School. While with Unit 5, she was president of the Unit 5 Education Association and chief negotiator for UFEA. She taught evening classes as an ISU non-tenured track faculty member in the Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction Departments.

Both are members, elders and past Deacons of First Christian Church in Bloomington, where Arthur was past congregation president and was named Honored Servant. Camille serves as greeter and works with children’s programs. They both are volunteers for the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. She also served as a consultant with the development of Illinois Prairie Community Foundation’s Youth Engaged in Philanthropy program.

Arthur served on the selection committee for the recently retired Bloomington Police Chief. He is the recipient of the Alpha Omicron Pi Outstanding Community Service Award. Camille is an active member of the McLean County League of Women Voters and has served on its board, as well as the board of The Baby Fold. She is a past board member of the YWCA, and chairs its Foundation Board and the WINGS Award program. Camille was named 2001 YWCA Woman of Distinction for Education and was inducted into the Illinois State University Division of Student Affairs Steve and Sandi Adams Legacy Hall of Fame. She received the ISU College of Education Distinguished Alumni Award, League of Women Voters Diversity and Inclusion Award, and City of Bloomington’s Martin Luther King Jr. Award.

Susan Hoblit

Hoblit of Atlanta demonstrates the traits of being a philanthropist, deeply benefiting her hometown of Atlanta, Logan County and all of Central Illinois.

Susan Hoblit

She helped create and has been actively involved in the Endow Atlanta Fund at IPCF, which has provided thousands of dollars for local projects in Atlanta for the last 10 years. This fund has been a model for other rural development endowments and Hoblit has served as a willing spokesperson for how to revitalize rural small communities.

Hoblit currently serves as Chair of the Board of Lincoln College and has served as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for children since 1998. She helped found the Baby Fold’s Festival of Trees and co-chaired the event from 1994-99. She served on the Baby Fold Board of Directors from 2000-08 and IPCF Board of Directors from 2010-2018, serving as President of the Board her last two years.

She was instrumental in re-starting the Atlanta Community Band and has continued to play in it for 29 years. Hoblit also started a flower planting group, The Flower Buds, which maintains 40 containers of flowers in downtown Atlanta each summer. She has given generously to Endow Atlanta and has created two endowed scholarships at Illinois State University and one at Lincoln College.

Hoblit comes from a long line of philanthropists. Her ancestors arrived in America in 1746 and came west to Illinois as pioneers, homesteading on a land grant in what would later become Logan County. Once Atlanta was established in 1853, the Hoblits served as bankers, farmers, carpenters and public service volunteers. In the 1940s, the Hoblit family established the Hoblit Seed Company, which served local farmers for more than 50 years. “It is my privilege to be the seventh generation of my family to live in and serve Atlanta,” she said.

Additional information 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.

Download a nomination form and view list of past recipients of the award.