Grants to 12 Non-profits and Support for Scholarships, International Projects, and Honor Flights

In May 2021, the Springfield Rotary Foundation awarded grants to local nonprofits for projects that combat hunger and promote literacy in our communities. We reaffirmed these needs as high priorities for our communities during our club’s most recent visioning process and in ensuing years. Our Club’s fundraising efforts through the Flag Service Program, John Montgomery Memorial Citrus Sales, and Club meeting fundraisers totaled $35,800. These funds allowed us to provide grants in support of 12 projects (described below), and to also set aside annual support for: 
  • Scholarships for LLCC and UIS students (supplemented by $2,200 from brag-a-bucks & 50/50),
  • International service projects, and
  • 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. Our grants are especially important this year given the hardships associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, we are inviting some of the larger 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. At our June 7 club meeting, we presented grant checks to Catholic Charities for St. John's Breadline (image above) and to Compass for Kids for food for their Backpack Feeding Program for at-risk children (image below). 
Descriptions of the funded projects are provided below.
 
2021 Foundation Grant Recipients and Projects (listed in alphabetical order)
 
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.
 
Catholic Charities – St. John’s Breadline
The St. John’s Breadline provides a nutritious, balanced meal free to anyone who needs it. Currently, 200 to 300 meals a day are provided to hungry men, women and children. During the pandemic, hot meals are being prepared and placed in a container to be picked up. This change has reduced food options because of the cost of disposable items used for the to-go meals. Our grant will be used to pay for disposables so that more money will be available for the purchase food.
 
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 distribution of foods to encourage healthy diets (protein, dairy, low-sodium vegetables, fruit in real fruit juice, and fresh produce). Additionally, the Foodbank is monitoring hot spots of COVID cases to target the highest needs. The grant from our club will help support these goals.
 
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.  This program is designed to provide nutritious food that is sent home to students each week. Each child is provided with two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and two snacks.
 
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.
 
Girl Scouts of Central Illinois
The Girls Scouts’ mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. This summer there will be a literacy-focused Girl Scout Outreach Program for 400 Springfield area girls. This program partners with area schools to target those identified as under-performing or those who are impacted by economic hardship. Our grant will be used to support this 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 Bulldog Backpacks for targeted students at the school. Every Friday, students will be given a backpack loaded with nutritious food to assist in sustaining the child over the weekend.
 
St. Patrick Catholic School
St. Patrick’s School serves a primarily minority student population of 62 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 a SMART Board for a new classroom. SMART Boards are interactive whiteboards that play a important role in both teaching and the way students learn.
 
Salvation Army
The Salvation Army provides nearly 5,000 food orders for low-income families as well as over 9,000 meals. This program benefits any person in need from infant children to seniors. Those who come to the food pantry are mostly from the east side of Springfield. Our grant will provide food for the food pantry.
 
 
Springfield and Central Illinois African America History Museum
The museum recently acquired the 1908 Race Riot Exhibition from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The exhibition is particularly important because the 1908 Race Riot led directly to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Our grant will be used to purchase pamphlets and scholarly material, which will increase the understanding and appreciation of the exhibition.
 
Titan Fuel
Titan Fuel provides food assistance and support for children in the Ball-Chatham School District through a backpack 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.
 
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.