Foundation Awards 2020 Grants to Local Non-profits

The Springfield Rotary Foundation awards grants to nonprofits for projects that combat hunger, promote literacy, and otherwise serve our communities each year. We reaffirmed needs related to hunger and literacy as high priorities for our communities during our club’s most recent visioning process and in ensuing years. Our Club’s fund raising efforts through the Flag Service Program, Citrus Sales, and John Montgomery Memorial Fishing Tournament raised $35,300 during the 2019-2020 Rotary year. These funds allowed us to award $27,759 in grants at the end of May to help support 14 high-impact projects. Ten of the projects help combat hunger, which is extremely important given food insecurity during the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, our grant to the Central Illinois Foodbank will help support the purchase of 12,000 pounds of nutritious dairy projects including milk (image above) for distribution to central Illinois counties. Four grants will promote literacy in our community. Our grant to Ridgely Elementary School will support the development of an at-home resource kit (image above) for every student at the school. The need for these at-home resources was reinforced during the pandemic when students had to shelter at home.
The monies we raised also allow us to set aside support for annual funding commitments for: 
  • Scholarships for LLCC and UIS students (partially paid for from brag-a-bucks),
  • International service projects,
  • Land of Lincoln Honor Flights, and
  • Reserve funds to provide match for Rotary District grants. 
The majority of our funds support local organizations that work every day to help people in our community in numerous ways. Our grants are especially important this year given the hardships associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. When we are able to meet in person, we will invite the grant recipients to be our guests for dinner at a club meeting so we can thank these organizations for their work in the community and celebrate their grant projects. Click on "Read More" to see the descriptions for all these wonderful projects.
2020 Rotary Foundation Grant Recipients and Projects (listed in alphabetical order)
Autism Support of Central Illinois
ASCI was founded in 2002 for the purpose of improving the lives of the over 400 individuals affected by autism in central Illinois by providing access to resources, educational opportunities, and social activities. Our grant will be used to support a back-to-school give away including backpacks filled with essential school supplies for school-age children.
Beerlahai Roi Women’s Ministries
Beerlahai Roi serves as a haven for homeless pregnant women by providing free shelter, food, clothing, and mentoring. Our grant will be used to purchase healthy foods to ensure good nutrition for these women and their babies. One of the agency’s goals is to have healthy moms with healthy babies, and this grant will help them meet this goal.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Illinois
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Illinois serve about 900 youth each day, providing character-building and healthy activities and academic programs to help young people become responsible citizens in our community, live healthy lives, and achieve success. Our grant helps provide backpacks full of food every Friday this summer for 100 club members and their families to help offset food insecurity during the Covid-19 pandemic. The backpacks will include snacks, meal items, fresh produce, and recipes to make healthful meals.
Central Illinois Foodbank
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 160 food pantries, soup kitchens, and children’s and residential 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 nutritious fresh produce and dairy products, and recently upgraded cargo vans with refrigeration allow for transport of larger amounts of dairy products. The grant from our club will help support the purchase of 12,000 pounds of nutritious dairy products to be distributed by the 160 partner agencies in central Illinois.
Compass for Kids
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 and becomes all the more important during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Rotary grant will help support the backpack feeding program for weekend meals for the summer Camp Compass students. If the camp has to be virtual this summer, then they are planning to implement home delivery.
Contact Ministries
As an important part of Contact Ministries’ efforts in our community, they provide two shelters for 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 the residents of these shelters.
Marinda T. O’Beirne Crisis Nursery
The Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery provides free emergency childcare for newborns to 7 year old children whose families are experiencing a crisis situation. They also provide a basic needs pantry with diapers, wipes, and formula for families in need. Our grant will be used to provide nourishing perishable foods (milk, meat, eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables) for children in the crisis nursery and to purchase baby formula for the pantry.
M.E.R.C.Y. Communities
MERCY Communities is dedicated to addressing the crisis of family homelessness. They provide housing and resources to help homeless and at-risk women with children have a safe place for themselves and their families. Each month MERCY purchases food from the Central Illinois Foodbank for their food pantry program. This food is distributed to clients to assist them in stretching their SNAP benefits and food budgets. This grant will support the purchase of food for the food pantry program.  
Ridgely Elementary School
Ridgely, the Rotary Club of Springfield’s adopted school, serves pre-K through fifth grade students from the north and east sides of Springfield. Our grant will support sustainable at-home learning opportunities for students, including those who may not have access to computers and Internet at home. Our Club is funding the materials needed to develop an at-home resource tote for each of the 330 elementary students. The need for these at-home learning resources was made apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic when students had to shelter at home. Each drawstring bag tote will include a dry erase board and eraser and dry erase markers. These simple kits will allow students to practice handwriting, math, and complete various activities and ongoing class work at home.
St. Patrick Catholic School
St. Patrick’s School serves a primarily minority student population of 61 students in Pre-K through 5th grade. One hundred percent of the families are considered to be low-income. Our grant to St. Patrick School will allow them to purchase an Obie Console to promote technology-based interactive learning that incorporates traditional subjects and physical education. The system projector will be mounted on the ceiling in the gym, and the system is programed to display a large variety of educational activities on the floor. This interactive technology will make learning active and fun for the students and promote learning of letters, math, reading, and physical education. Use of this tool will accommodate different learning styles and will help close the achievement gap.
The Outlet
The Outlet is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping young, fatherless male youth (ages 8-22) develop the ability to make responsible life decisions, explore their gifts, and achieve their dreams. The Mentorship Program includes large and small group programs three days a week that include positive, male role models and provides dinner at each program. Covid-19 relief funds from the Community Foundation are supporting meal deliveries to the homes of these young men and their families through June. Our grant will extend the home meal delivery program for 20 boys targeted as being in greatest need and their families (84 individuals) until August.
Titan Fuel
Titan Fuel, an important partner for our Chatham Satellite Club, provides food assistance and support for children in the Ball-Chatham School District through a back pack food program. Our grant will be used to purchase kid friendly foods that will be packed in bags and sent home with students on weekends and non-school days during the school year.
YMCA of Springfield
The YMCA helps communities learn, grow, and thrive and promotes youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Our grant provides funding for tutoring for homeless children participating in the YMCA’s Mathew Project summer camp. The tutoring sessions during the summer camp help these academically vulnerable homeless children maintain the knowledge and skills gained during the school year over the summer and prepares them for the coming school year.
Youth Service Bureau
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 the client families do not qualify for food assistance programs but are below the poverty level. Hardships and needs are particularly acute because of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated unemployment. This grant will be used to purchase food for some of the families who are in crisis and the older homeless youth population. Funds will also be used to help stock the recently established community food pantry on their property with nonperishable foods for those in need.