Springfield Rotary Foundation 2019 Grants and Projects

At the June 24, 2019 meeting of the Rotary Club of Springfield, Harry Mitchell, President of the Springfield Rotary Foundation (second from left in the above image of grant recipients), presented grant checks to representatives from local nonprofits for projects that promote literacy, combat hunger, and otherwise improve our community. This story is taken from his comments for the presentations. Our fund raising efforts through our Flag Service Program, Citrus Sales, and John Montgomery Memorial Fishing Tournament allowed us to support 16 grant-funded projects (described below), and to also set aside annual support for: 
  • Scholarships to LLCC and UIS students
  • Funds for international service projects, and
  • Support for Land of Lincoln Honor Flights 
The majority of our funds support local organizations that work every day to help people in our community in a variety a ways.  We gathered to thank 16 of those organizations for their work in the community and present those who attended the event with their 2019 Rotary grants. The organizations, grant projects, and individuals who attended the event are listed below.

2019 Grants Recipients and Projects
Autism Support of Central Illinois - Mary Pelich-Kelly, Board President
ASCI was founded in 2002 for the purpose of improving the lives of those affected by autism in central Illinois by providing access to resources, educational opportunities, and social activities. Our grant will be used to support the purchase of iPads for children in Central Illinois who cannot afford them.  iPads are used for communication, assistance with the activities of daily living and educational purposes.  They can also assist with emotional regulation and executive functioning skills.
Beerlahai Roi Women’s Ministries - Linda Laun, Executive Director
Beerlahai Roi provides a haven for homeless pregnant women by providing free shelter, food, clothing, and mentoring. Our grant will be used for a nutritional program for these women and their babies.  One of the agency’s goals is to have healthy moms with healthy babies and this grant will provide funding to meet this goal.
Catholic Charities St. John' Breadline - Shawna Harris, Program Supervisor
St. John's Breadline in Springfield serves hot, nutritious meals in a clean, positive environment. The St. John's Breadline serves over 200,000 meals annually to people broken by life's struggles.  The breadline currently operates with a one burner stove that limits the ability to provide variety in these meals.  The grant from our club will help support the purchase of a six burner stove and improve the Breadline’s ability to feed their clients.
Central Illinois Foodbank - Ashley Earnest, Public Relations Manager
Central Illinois Foodbank's mission is to provide food, and develop awareness of and creative solutions for food insecurity.  The Foodbank distributes food and grocery items to over 16 non-profit feeding programs in 21 central and southern Illinois counties, who in turn provide food to those who are seeking food assistance in our communities. The Foodbank is placing greater emphasis on the availability of fresh produce, and recently upgraded refrigeration facilities to allow for storage of larger amounts of produce.  The grant from our club will support the purchase of fresh produce for distribution through Foodbank programs.
Compass for Kids - Vern Lindquist, Board Member
The mission of Compass for Kids is to provide academic and social-emotional support to empower at-risk children and families.  To this end, Compass for Kids has innovative school year and summer programs to support at-risk children in Springfield School District 186.  ​Addressing food insecurity is at the core of supporting these students.  The Rotary grant will support the backpack feeding portion of the summer Camp Compass program.  This program provides the students with nutritional meals for the weekends between the Camp Compass scheduled classroom programs. 
Computer Banc – Bob Pietras, Board President
The mission of the Computer Banc is to provide families, adults, special needs individuals, seniors, and veterans who are At-Risk with computer access at home or school.  Computer Banc has recently begun a disabled veterans’ support program.  Our club’s grant will provide financial support to supply computers for disabled Central Illinois veterans who require a computer for educational purposes.
Contact Ministries - Cindy Drum, Executive Director
As an important part of Contact Ministries’ efforts in our community, they provide two shelters for women and women with children.  Both are open 365 days a year.  The Transitional Shelter serves 3 meals and 2 snacks a day to homeless women and children and is open 24 hours a day.  The Emergency Shelter serves one meal a day to homeless women and women with children who are sheltered there 18 hours a day.  This grant will help provide nutritious meals for each resident of these shelters.
Fishes & Loaves Outreach - Janet Ginger, Director and Barbara Rochelle
For the past 20 years, Fishes and Loaves has administered multiple adult literacy programs—known collectively as The Springfield Literacy Project.  This funding will help offset the annual cost of the online testing curriculum that provides comprehensive diagnostic evaluation of the adult learner’s academic needs.  These evaluations are a key component that tutors use to build appropriate plans for each learner.
Helping Hands - Erica Smith, Executive Director and Yolanda McKinney, shelter manager
Helping Hands of Springfield provides emergency shelter, permanent supported housing, a representative payee program, and day services to people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. As a part of their shelter services, all guests receive an evening meal and breakfast.  The Washington Street shelter welcomes an average of 40 guests each night, 365 days a year.  The 2019 grant will provide two months of breakfast for these emergency shelter clients.
iMagicNation - Donna Brown (pictured above), President and Rick Brown, Willa Barger (accepted the check) 
iMagicNation is focused on improving the reading skills of second grade students at Blackhawk Elementary School.  For the past five years the program has used the Brainstorm reading materials published by Scholastic.  The Rotary grant will pay for these materials for the 2019 – 2020 school year.
M.E.R.C.Y. Communities - Amy Voils, Executive Director
MERCY Communities is dedicated to addressing the crisis of family homelessness. They help homeless and at-risk women with children find the resources they need to provide a safe place for themselves and their families.  Each month MERCY purchases food from the Central Illinois Foodbank.  This food is distributed to clients to assist them in stretching their SNAP benefits and food budgets.  This grant will enable MERCY to continue to provide this service. 
Ridgely Elementary School - Ken Gilmore, Principal
Ridgely is the Rotary Club of Springfield’s adopted school.  Ridgely has requested assistance in the refurbishment of their school library.  The library is plays an important role in the ongoing effort to improve the reading skills of Ridgely students.  The 2019 grant will help the school move forward with this important project.
Rutledge Youth Foundation - Mollie Buchanan, Clinical Director
The primary focus of services is protecting youth and teaching adolescent boys and girls independent living skills so that they become productive members of society.  The Rutledge Youth Foundation annually serves approximately 300 abused/neglected teens between the ages of birth and 21.  The INTACT program is intended to provide parenting skills to parents referred  to Rutledge in an effort to keep at risk families intact.  The Rotary grant will be used to purchase the resources required to deliver this program to the parents.
St. Martin De Porres - Paul John Brahler (unable to attend) 
St. Martin DePorres uses donated funds to purchase food to give to those in need. Anyone may come for food items, and they will be provided.  The Rotary grant will be used to purchase food from a variety of sources.
St. Patrick Catholic School - Jan Williams, Principal
St. Patrick students face an achievement gap for many reasons.  The school will use this grant to implement an assessment tool known as NWEA MAP Testing.  The NWEA website states that “This collection of purpose-built measures from NWEA illuminates every student’s learning needs, helping teachers to target instruction …” Use of this tool will help close the achievement gap.
Youth Service Bureau - Michelle Davis
The Youth Service Bureau is a licensed Child Welfare Agency that has been serving at-risk youth and their families for over 40 years. The agency provides services to young people between 11 and 24 years of age that are abused, neglected, runaways, or otherwise homeless. Their service area includes the counties of Sangamon, Menard, Mason, Logan, and Christian.  Many of their client families do not qualify for food assistance programs but are below the poverty level.  This grant will be used to assist these families.   
For images of recipients, check out the photo album link on the right side of the Home Page.