2017 Nonprofits Workshop & Celebrating Local Philanthropy Luncheon

Illinois Prairie Community Foundation hosted its annual Nonprofit Workshop and Celebrating Local Philanthropy Luncheon on Nov. 15, 2017 at Marriott Bloomington-Normal Hotel & Conference Center. View photos from the workshop and luncheon.

The Workshop focused on “Working Together: Creating a Pathway for Team Success” and provided nonprofit organizations with tips on how to collaborate internally to become a more efficient organization. A table topic discussion group led by experts in their fields concluded the workshop. View notes from the table discussions and table facilitators’ information.

The Luncheon recognized local philanthropic giving and recognized George and Myra Gordon, one couple from Central Illinois who exemplify the effort:

George and Myra Gordon – 2017 Philanthropists of the Year

The Gordons exemplify the spirit of philanthropy through their involvement in, and support of, numerous community organizations during the more than 45 years they have lived in Normal.

Myra helped to found Operation Recycle (the precursor to today’s Ecology Action Center), served as its Executive Director when it became the full-time recycling center for McLean County, and is currently a “board member in perpetuity” of the Ecology Action Center.

Myra’s other past leadership roles have included two terms as Co-President of the McLean County League of Women Voters, board member of the Multicultural Leadership Program, member of the Bloomington/Normal-Asahikawa Sister Cities Committee, and board member and Vice President of the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation board.

At the Community Foundation, Myra volunteered to serve as interim Executive Director in 2007, and fell in love with that role.  She was selected as permanent Executive Director in 2008 and served in that role for more than six years.  Community Foundation achievements during her tenure include the very successful Women to Women Giving Circle, the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy program and increasing Community Foundation grants from $12,000 a year to more than  $200,000 annually.

George is a retired Professor of Politics and Government at Illinois State, where he taught for 38 years.  He has been a member of the McLean County Board for 20 years, chaired its Land Use & Development Committee for 16 of those years, and currently chairs its Justice Committee.  He also has served in a number of community organizations, including the Cedar Ridge Elementary School Promise Council, the Unit 5 Diversity Advisory Committee, the Board of Compassion and Choices, and Moses Montefiore Temple, where he is a Past President, and where he also has served as Choir Director for more than 30 years.

Myra and George are happy that they have been able to make modest gifts in support of a number of worthwhile local organizations. Believing in the power of endowments to create a secure future for central Illinois, they have created two endowment funds:  the George J. Gordon Scholarship in U.S. Public Affairs at ISU and the Gordon Performing Arts Fund at IPCF, which provides annual gifts to Heartland Theatre and to the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.