‘The Vault’ receives grant from Illinois Prairie Community Foundation


BLOOMINGTON — The Vault teen and commuity center was one of 12 area nonprofit programs to receive a total of $37,641 in grants  thanks to the Women-to-Women Giving Circle and Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) at the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation. 

The Women-to-Women Giving Circle seeks to improve the lives of women and children in Central Illinois and focused its grants for 2020 on programs that develop the potential in children from birth to third grade in area communities and their support networks (families, teachers and caregivers). 

In addition, the Women-to-Women grant required applicants to collaborate with another nonprofit organization on a program addressing the focus. 

Youth Engaged in Philanthropy grants were selected by 18 area high school students and focus on youth-oriented programs with priority given to organizations that include youth in the application process. 

Recipient organizations sharing the $37,641 Women to Women awards are:

• Children’s Discovery Museum in collaboration with Children’s Home + Aid’s Scott Early Learning Center – $7,100 for “Growing STEAM Potential Through Play,” a program that aims to engage children, families and educators in playful learning experiences that enhance their excitement, curiosity and interest about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) topics.

• Lexington Elementary School in collaboration with Lexington Park District – $6,150 for “Littlest Learners – ‘Lex’ Go Get Moving,” a program that aims to improve the health and wellness of children under the age of 10 and help them develop a foundation for a healthy lifestyle while supporting their personal networks with resources, guidelines and opportunities to get active and make healthy choices.

• Music Connections Foundation in collaboration with Marcfirst and The Baby Fold – $6,991 for “Kindermusik Class at SPICE for the At-Risk,” a program enabling parents and therapists to learn strategies for incorporating music, movement and literature into their routines and therapy sessions to ease stressful times and times of transition and to foster development in children, while promoting positive parenting and strengthening the parent-child relationship.

• The Baby Fold in collaboration with McLean County Health Department – $3,000 for “Perinatal Mood Disorders Community Education and Outreach,” a program to encourage pregnant women and parents of very young children to seek mental health care and other supportive services as soon as they recognize they may be experiencing anxiety, depression and/or other mood disorders; program seeks to reduce the stigma related to seeking care.

• The Immigration Project in collaboration with McLean County Unit 5 Schools – $4,400 for “Holistic Information Sessions for Immigrant Families,” a program to create more secure and healthier families by providing immigration legal information and advice to immigrant families while also providing useful skills to reduce some of the trauma inherent in the immigrant experience.

Recipient organizations sharing the $10,000 Youth Engaged in Philanthropy awards are:

• Bloomington High School Promise Council – $2,000 for “Lights On at BHS” to provide a year-round safe, inclusive environment for events and activities that will engage students, educate them on the opportunities in the community and empower them to make changes in their lives and the world around them.

• Fostering Dignity – $600 for “Backpacks for Youth,” a program that provides backpacks for Department of Children and Family Services investigators to use when removing children from their homes.

• Muscular Dystrophy Association – $1,195 for “MDA Summer Camp,” a week-long summer camp where children aged 6-17 living with muscle diseases can enjoy a safe outdoor experience with a variety of adaptive activities, allowing them to stretch their comfort zones and become more independent.

• Sunnyside Community Garden & Food Forest – $2,880 for “Growing Up!” to provide teens and pre-teens the opportunity to focus on leadership skills while enhancing their gardening skills; in turn, they will pass on their knowledge of gardening to youth (K-5) from the Boys & Girls Club in the Grow Your Garden program throughout the spring and summer.

• The Forgotten Initiative – $1,200 for “The Joy of Dreaming” to fulfill the wishes of local youth in the foster care system, allowing them to focus on experiences that help them feel normal in an abnormal situation.

• The Vault Community Center, Clinton – $480 for “Letters to My Younger Self” to involve youth at the community center in interviewing and video recording local adults about things they wish they could go back in time and do differently; youth will create a composite film of their interviews; grant will provide funding for equipment on screening night. 

• YWCA of McLean County – $1,645 for “Anti-Bias Education” to educate local school children about racism, sexism, ableism and more with the goal of eliminating bullying and creating a more inclusive environment that understands and celebrates diversity not only at school, but in the community at large.

Since 2011, the Women to Women Giving Circle has awarded $336,459. The mission of the group is to provide education about issues affecting women and to provide grants to projects and programs aimed at improving the dignity of women and children in McLean, DeWitt, Logan and Livingston counties.

Since 2014, Youth Engaged in Philanthropy has awarded $70,000. As a part of our community’s youth, YEP strives to connect those who care about youth with the monetary means necessary to pursue their vision.

Community Foundation offers grants in three catagories

Applications accepted during February 

BLOOMINGTON — Illinois Prairie Community Foundation will accept applications for grants in three categories from February 1-28, 2020. Interested applicants may find information about the grants on IPCF’s website at https://ilprairiecf.org/spring-grants along with links to the online applications once the grant cycle opens. 

The Community Foundation expects to award more than $140,000 during this grant round. These grants provide support to local programs that benefit local residents. General Grants fund programs for education, environment, health and wellness, and youth. Mirza/IPCF Arts Grants fund programs for the performing or visual arts, music education, and/or arts education and enrichment. Shulman Grants focus on Jewish-themed educational, arts and cultural enrichment programs open to all. 

The David and Kay Williams Music Education Grant is in its third year of awarding money. The grant seeks to support programs that use innovative technology to provide creative music experiences for K-12 students, regardless of their music training, using a combination of traditional instruments and music technology. Programs interested in applying for a Williams Music Education Grant will use the Mirza/Arts & Culture Grant online application.

“There are so many nonprofit organizations doing good in our community that need help funding their programs,” said Michele Evans, Grants & Communications Director. Last year, IPCF received 92 applications for these three grant types, with 77 programs receiving a portion of the money available. “The average grant award of $2,000 really can make a difference to nonprofit organizations receiving a grant.” Funding for these grants comes from endowments held at IPCF, designated gifts and donors to the Annual Campaign.

Applicants must represent a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, a local unit of municipal, county, state or federal government, a school or college/university, or a tax-exempt religious organization or place of worship. Programs must be available to residents of McLean, DeWitt, Livingston or Logan counties but do not have to serve all four counties. 

For additional information and questions, grant seekers may contact Michele Evans at mevans@ilprairiecf.org or 309-662-4477. 

About Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, now in its 21st year, encourages and facilitates philanthropy in McLean, DeWitt, Livingston and Logan counties by connecting donors who care with causes that matter to them. The Foundation currently manages assets of more than $18 million in more than 170 funds including endowments and donor advised, fiscal sponsorship and scholarship funds.