History of Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

In 1996, a small group of individuals envisioned a community foundation for McLean County. Today, we owe much to the late Carol Reitan, Alan Sender and Drake Zimmerman for doing considerable research on existing foundations and for taking their message to many community leaders. They persisted and gained enough support to turn their dream into a reality by successfully establishing a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization two years later. Mayor Judy Markowitz of Bloomington, Mayor Kent Karraker of Normal and McLean County Board Chairperson Gary Riss agreed to serve as the first incorporating board. The Community Foundation of McLean County was officially established on November 6, 1998.

Important components of the early planning were communications with the United Way of McLean County’s Board of Directors and staff. The United Way’s Director of Planned Giving and Development was previously employed with the United Way State Office in Michigan, a state in which the United Way organizations work closely with community foundations. This individual was an enthusiastic supporter of the new Community Foundation of McLean County. The Chairman of the United Way Board of Directors held the fourth ex-officio seat on the Community Foundation board.

In April 2004, the name was changed to Illinois Prairie Community Foundation to reflect an expansion to include Livingston, Logan, DeWitt, and parts of several other counties. From the initial gifts totaling $296,900 in Donor Advised Funds, the assets have grown to over $16.6 million as of 1/31/2017. There are 160 funds, which include Donor Advised Funds, Fiscal Sponsorship Funds, Endowments, and Scholarship Funds. The Community Foundation connects people who care with causes that matter by offering local philanthropic leadership, organization, and grant-making for the long-term enrichment of our communities.

Illinois Prairie Community Foundation is a member of the Council on Foundations which has awarded IPCF with the National Standards recognition for Excellence, Accountability, Impact and Distinction. Community foundations use National Standards to distinguish themselves from entities that provide similar services. This distinction ensures fund holders and the public at large that IPCF has met benchmarks for quality in operations and service. IPCF is also a member of the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, a consortium of 23 community foundations throughout the state. The Alliance’s objectives are to educate the public on the role and purpose of community foundations, provide a forum for sharing best practices in grantmaking, stewardship, and donor services, encourage adherence to National Standards prescribed by the Council on Foundations, and develop a link between Alliance members, legislative and government officials, and the citizens of Illinois to inspire charitable giving.

The current Board President is Tim Leighton. Past Presidents are David Anderson, Barbara Nathan, Barry Weer, Darrell Hartweg, Richard Stroyan, Steve Timmermann, Paul Harmon and Susan Hoblit. The current Executive Director is Greg Meyer. Past Executive Directors are Carole Ringer, Myra Gordon and Ruth Ann Fraker (interim).