PEORIA — The Acorn Equality Fund (AEF) held their annual breakfast awarding scholarships virtual this past weekend.
The Acorn Equality Fund is a grassroots nonprofit organization that provides financial support for the advancement of education, health, and civil rights of LGBTQ people and allies. The give out money as community grants and scholarships to LGBTQ students.
About 85 people attended the breakfast online through Zoom and a YouTube livestream. Board chair Greg Haines emceed the event.
Haines spoke about AEF’s new partnership with Central Illinois Friends for a new scholarship this year and working with Equality Illinois to distribute $115,000 in direct grants to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the speakers were Equality Illinois CEO Brian Johnson, Central Illinois Friends Deric Kimmler and Natalie Thompson, vice-president of diversity, equity and inclusion Washington, D.C.’s Capital Pride Alliance.
The AEF awarded scholarships to several central Illinois high school and college students:
- Luke Scholarship
– Dylan Alcorn, Tuscola High School, Tuscola, Ill., $2,000
– Elizabeth Bocock, Mt. Vernon Township High, Mount Vernon, Ill., $1,000
– Tyler Gadbury, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign from Tulono, Ill. $1,000
– Grace Rensing, Carlyle High School, Carlyle, Ill., $1,000
– Emmalyin Mueller, Columbia College Chicago from Cordova, Ill., $3,000. This was her third year receiving the scholarship.
– S. Ridings, Sandoval Senior High, Sandoval, Ill., $2,000
– Brooke Wilson, Lake Land College from Mattoon, Ill., $2.000
- Korty Morton Scholarship
Martin Maloney, Peoria High School, Peoria, Ill., $2,000
August Munoz, Illinois State University, Normal, Ill., $2,000
Mykenna Patterson, Robinson High School, Robinson, Ill., $4,000
Kassi Scott, Polo Community High School, Polo, Ill., $2,000
- McKeon Scholarship
– Mark Maddock, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign from St. Joseph, Ill., $3,000
- Central Illinois Friends Scholarship
– Len Meyer, graduate student at Walden University, Bloomington, Ill., adjunct professor at Lincoln College, $4,000
- Acorn Scholarship
– Raymundo Gomez, graduate student at Illinois State University, Normal, Ill., $3,000
– Maliyah Martin, Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg, Ill., $2,000
AEF also reached their fundraising goal of $35,000 during the breakfast. Prairie Pride won the table captain fundraising competition.