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Grants awarded to 16 local nonprofit programs

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BLOOMINGTON – Sixteen local nonprofit programs have been awarded a total of $52,212 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 2021 on programs that support resiliency for children from birth to third grade and their support networks (families, teachers, caregivers). In addition, the Women to Women grant required applicants to collaborate with another nonprofit organization on a program addressing the focus.

YEP grants were selected by 13 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 $40,532 Women to Women awards are:

  • Back to School Alliance in collaboration with Unit 5 Schools and District 87 Schools – $5,000 for “Back to School Party” provides school supplies to families while also building job skills among students enrolled in Unit 5’s Vocational Transition Assistance Program.
  • Children’s Discovery Museum in collaboration with Children’s Home + Aid’s Scott Early Learning Center – $7,150 for “Growing STEAM Potential Through Play” engages children, families and educators in playful learning experiences that enhance their excitement, curiosity and interest about STEAM topics helping them gain confidence in their own ability to learn more about these topics in the future.
  • Children’s Home + Aid in collaboration with Mid Central Community Action – $10,000 for “Butterfly Project” aims to strengthen the parent-child bond and minimize the impact of early trauma on the child’s mental health and development.
  • Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center in collaboration with the Salvation Army of Lincoln and United Way of Logan County – $5,000 for “HOPE Program” aims to encourage, empower and equip women and families as they pursue and embrace their parenthood journeys.
  • Livingston County Commission on Children and Youth in collaboration with Boys & Girls Club of Livingston County – $6,212 for “The Plato Program” provides supplemental educational services to those students who are struggling or need some additional motivation outside the typical classroom.
  • YWCA McLean County in collaboration with Marcfirst – $7,170 for “Young Wonders Learning League” provides children the opportunity to engage in an intensive social/emotional program to increase their resiliency so they can stay on track developmentally. Families/caregivers will gain knowledge and skills in assisting their child(ren) in developing their resiliency at home.

Recipient organizations sharing the $11,680 YEP awards are:

  • Bloomington Junior High School – $2,750 for “BJHS Student Services Health Clinic” to provide access to the required vaccines and physical exams for disadvantaged students transitioning from virtual learning to face-to-face education.
  • Fostering Dignity – $246.31 for “Backpacks for Youth” to provide backpacks for Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigators to give children being removed from their homes so they can carry their belongings, eliminating the use of a garbage bag.
  • Friends of Constitution Trail – $1,500 for “McBloNo Kids Bike” to purchase bicycle helmets to support Safe Routes to School bicycle education program for elementary and middle school students in McLean County.
  • Illinois Art Station – $1,200 for “smARTS Lab,” a STEAM-based program for youth ages 11-14 that provides youth an opportunity to explore a variety of art-making techniques and mediums. IAS art educators will design and facilitate the experiences and learning, but the art projects, materials and specific themes will be determined by the youth participants themselves.
  • Jump 4 Joy Squad – $346.69 for “Flooring for Jump 4 Joy Squad Team and Community Classes” to purchase removable flooring, allowing the squad to use any location with the best results for jump rope, as well as providing for the physical health and safety of participants.
  • McLean County Children’s Advocacy Center – $450 for “Telehealth Therapy Boxes” to be utilized when children and adolescents are participating in virtual therapy sessions. Clients will receive a box of age-appropriate supplies specifically to be used during therapy, which could include a journal, writing and coloring supplies, positive affirmation cards, meditation exercise cards, stress balls, Play-Doh and bubbles to practice deep breathing.
  • Normal West Promise Council – $1,000 for “Promise Council Needs Room,” a safe space at Normal West Community High School where any of student can go to obtain food and supplies to meet physical needs that would otherwise go unmet. Grant would provide money to restock room.
  • Regional Alternative School – $2,000 for “RAS Trade Skills Integration” to provide students with a Trade Skills introduction program in which students will expand their vocational knowledge in basic construction and woodworking skills. Students will learn through hands-on experience using tools and techniques used in a professional trade setting.
  • Vespasian Warner Public Library – $1,012 for “Kindles for Kids” to purchase 4 Kindle devices for youth programs to bridge the local digital divide and allow all youth to experience the excitement of reading on a digital platform.
  • West Bloomington Revitalization Project – $1,175 for “Seeds for Change” which will enlist the help of community youth to start seeds for the Westside Bloomington Community Garden. This program will teach youth about food insecurity, starting plants from seed and caring for others.

About Illinois Prairie Community Foundation
Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, now in its 23rd 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 $20 million in more than 175 funds including endowments and donor advised, fiscal sponsorship and scholarship funds. More information is available at www.ilprairiecf.org.

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