2015 – John and Marilyn Freese
John and Marilyn have a long history of service and generosity to the community. Both have held leadership positions in the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and its Guild. John’s board service includes Boys and Girls Club Advisory Council (Co-Chair of its fundraising drive for two years), Advocate BroMenn Governing Council, Community Cancer Center Nominating Committee, McLean County Compact, Prairie State Legal Services Campaign Committee (Co-Chair of its fundraising drive for three years), and Salvation Army (Life Member). He serves on IPCF’s Arts and Culture Grants Committee.
Marilyn is a Founding Member of the Women to Women Giving Circle and serves on IPCF’s Shulman Grants Committee. She volunteers at the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen, the Normal Theater, Crossroads Global Handcrafts, and local public schools. She is a Master Naturalist with the University of Illinois Extension program and serves on its Advisory Council.
The Freeses donate generously to many organizations including Advocate BroMenn, Community Cancer Center, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, McLean County Museum of History, WGLT, and the Illinois State University Foundation where, among other gifts, they established an endowed scholarship.
2014 – John and Jan Wohlwend
John and Jan have held key leadership positions with Illinois Symphony Orchestra and its Guild, including John’s service as President of the Symphony. They have supported American Red Cross’ Evening of Stars since its inception 20 years ago, serving as co-chairs of the event in 2004. Jan is a Founding Member of the Women to Women Giving Circle at Illinois Prairie Community Foundation. John is a Founding and Charter member and past President of Bloomington-Normal Sunrise Rotary Club, has been active in McLean County Chamber of Commerce, and has served as the Director of Organizational Development for Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal.
Other organizations impacted by the Wohlwends’ philanthropy include Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, Illinois Heart and Lung Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, Pratt Music Foundation, the McLean County March of Dimes, the Children’s Discovery Museum and many others.
2013 – Bob and Julie Dobski
Since moving to Bloomington-Normal in 1988, Bob an Julie have been actively involved in leadership in a variety of local organizations and have positively impacted the community. Julie is a Founding Member of the Women to Women Giving Circle at Illinois Prairie Community Foundation and served as board Chairwoman of United Way of McLean County. The couple served as honorary Chairmen of The Baby Fold’s 2013 Festival of Trees and both have served as President of McLean County Chamber of Commerce.
Other organizations with which they have been involved include American Red Cross of the Heartland Evening of Stars, Illinois State University Board of Trustees, ISU Athletics, ISU Red Hot Society, Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, W.D. Boyce Council Boy Scouts of America, Sunrise Rotary Club, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Central Catholic High School, and Holy Trinity Catholic Church.
2012 – Roger and Mary Hunt
Roger and Mary have established wonderful traditions of giving to our community since their arrival in 2001 and have been involved and supported many community organizations. Mary is an active Founding Member of the Women to Women Giving Circle at Illinois Prairie Community Foundation. The couple has served as Chairmen of American Red Cross of the Heartland Evening of Stars. Roger is a past board Chair of Illinois Symphony Orchestra and chaired the Symphony’s Music Director Search Committee.
Other organizations that have benefited from the couple’s leadership and philanthropy include Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Bloomington Kiwanis Club, Illinois State University Community Partners, Mennonite College of Nursing, the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way of McLean County.
2011 – Celebrating Local Philanthropy Luncheon was not held
2010 – Deanna Frautschi and Alan Bedell
Deanna and Alan have given many years of service and philanthropy to a wide range of organizations throughout our community. Deanna’s involvements include Leadership McLean County, United Way of McLean County, McLean County Chamber of Commerce, Community Health Care Clinic, Multicultural Leadership Program, The Baby Fold, Humane Society of Central Illinois and Illinois Prairie Community Foundation. She is a Founding Member of the Women to Women Giving Circle at Illinois Prairie Community Foundation and served on its Steering Committee.
Alan has served the local Cornbelt AMBUCS organization for over 20 years. He is a past Vice President of the Occupational Development Center and past board Chair of LifeCil. He volunteers at Midwest Food Bank. The couple has served as Chairmen of Red Cross Evening of Stars and Miller Park Zoo Do fund raisers.
2009 – Jerry and Carole Ringer
Jerry and Carole have the distinction of being the First Philanthropists of the Year to be honored at the annual Celebrating Local Philanthropy Luncheon in November. The Ringers are life-long philanthropists whose generosity of time, treasure, skill, and enthusiasm touch our community, our state, and our world.
Carole served as the first Executive Director of the Community Foundation of McLean County (the former name of Illinois Prairie Community Foundation). While serving in that role, she was instrumental in applying for and receiving National Standards (national accreditation from the Council on Foundations). Carole remains active at Illinois Prairie Community Foundation as a Founding Member of the Women to Women Giving Circle and member of its Steering Committee and as a member of the Investment Committee. She has served as board Chair of Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Friends of the Arts at Illinois State University.
Jerry has served as board Chair of Illinois Shakespeare Festival Society and Senior Professionals at Illinois State University. He serves on the Development Committee at Illinois Prairie Community Foundation. Jerry served nine three-year terms on Cornell College’s (Iowa) board, including one as its President, and was honored by the college for a lifetime of service and giving. A retired ophthalmologist, Jerry has donated his medical services on several trips to Africa.