Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

Community foundation seeks philanthropist nominees

BLOOMINGTON – Illinois Prairie Community Foundation is seeking nominations for its 2019 Philanthropist(s) of the Year. An individual, couple or family will be honored at the Community Foundation’s Celebrating Local Philanthropy Luncheon at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Normal on Nov. 14, 2019. Nominees must reside in McLean, DeWitt, Livingston or Logan counties. 

The criteria are outstanding civic responsibility as demonstrated by contributions of financial resources and voluntary commitment of time, willingness to serve in leadership roles, and providing vision and the ability to involve others in philanthropic activity. Nominations should describe in 250 words or less why the nominee deserves this recognition.

Pride Month Kick-Off Rally and March on June 1

BLOOMINGTON — The Stonewall Democrats of McLean County are holding a Pride kick-off at the McClean County Museum of History on Saturday, June 1. From the Facebook event:
On the 50th Anniversary year of Stonewall, the fight for LGBTQ equality and safety is as important as ever. We are confronting the Trans military service ban, hate crimes against LGBTQ people, especially homicides of Trans women, and attacks on our legal rights. Don we now our gay apparel, bring some noisemakers and kick off Pride month! We will honor the veterans of Stonewall, who stood up and fought back, and pay our respects to those we lost at Pulse Orlando three years ago, by rallying and marching and carrying on the LGBT movement for justice and peace.

Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

IPCF awards 77 grants to nonprofits

BLOOMINGTON — The Illinois Prairie Community Foundation announced Tuesday that it had awarded $140,613 in grants to non-profits in McLean, DeWitt, Livingston and Logan counties. Receiving 42 General Grants totaling $56,756 for programs in the fields of education, environment, health and wellness and youth were:

Best Buddies – $1,000 for “Best Buddies Leadership Program” to develop leadership skills
in students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through school friendship program and ambassador program. Bloomington-Normal Mulberry School – $1,200 for “#MulberryArts: Fine Arts Education” to support and enhance the arts education opportunities for Pre-K through 2nd grade students through field trips and classroom projects. Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal & West Bloomington Active Gardens – $1,000 for “Young Gardeners Internship and Grow Your Garden” to cultivate curiosity and build knowledge about environmental stewardship and healthy eating through hands-on gardening activities. Boys & Girls Club of Livingston County – $1,000 for “Connecting Teens and Building Self-Esteem Through Mentoring” to provide rural youth with opioid/substance use and misuse with support from mentors who are living healthy, drug-free lifestyles.

ISU apologizes for anti-LGBTQ letter to the editor in alumni magazine

BLOOMINGTON — Illinois State University President Larry Dietz and the editor of ISU’s alumni magazine  on Thursday apologized for an anti-LGBTQ letter to the editor that was published this month. 

WGLT-FM reported that the letter was in response to a photo of a lesbian couple with the headline “Redbird Romance.” The NPR station said that the writer was “disgusted” by the photo. “God’s design for marriage is between one man and one woman. Anything else is an abomination to the Lord,” the letter, written by 1985 alum Linda Jackson, said. The radio station said that the magazine also posted a note about ISU’s diversity mission with the letter.

Illinois State to host Lavender Graduation in May

BLOOMINGTON — Illinois State University will have a Lavender Graduation on Wednesday, May 8. The ceremony celebrates the accomplishments and success of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ), and allied students completing their degrees. The event is free and open to all those who support LGBTQ students. From the Facebook event:
Diversity Advocacy invites spring, summer, and fall 2019 graduates to participate in this very special cultural graduate recognition ceremony for LGBTQ+ and ally graduates. This ceremony is a celebration of the accomplishments and successes of our students, which are separate from the traditional commencement ceremonies.

History Out of the Closet on June 28

BLOOMINGTON — The McLean County Museum of History will be hosting a event about the history of the LGBTQ community in McLean County. From the Facebook event:
The Museum is pleased to announce the formation of a partnership with the Prairie Pride Coalition to present a special program and to expand the Museum’s collection of materials associated with the LGBTQ+ community. Coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, on Friday, June 28 at 5:30 p.m. a panel of local individuals will present History out of the Closet — a discussion of experiences of members of the LGBTQ+ community in McLean County. McLean County’s LGBTQ+ community is an integral part of the county’s rich history. But little has been recorded or gathered regarding the experiences of its members because of cultural biases and prejudices.

IWU Pride alumni raising money to meet donation challenge for LGBTQ scholarship

BLOOMINGTON — Illinois Wesleyan University Pride alumni have been challenged to raise for the Pride Alumni Community Endowed Scholarship. IWU Pride Alumni said in a Facebook post that the group had been challenged by Dirk Behrends. If the organization can get $2,500 donated by the end of Thursday, he would donate an additional $2,500 himself. As of 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon, IWU Pride alumni had donated $1,600 of the $2,500. And while the scholarship is for IWU students, anyone is welcome to donate and help them reach their goal.

Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

Trauma informed care in children to be topic of Women’s Spring Forum on April 23

BLOOMINGTON  – A public forum about trauma and its effect on children will be hosted by the Women to Women Giving Circle from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, at the ISU Alumni Center, 1101 N. Main St., Normal. The forum is free and open to the public. Trauma is a deeply distressing life situation. When trauma impacts young children, the long-term effects can be detrimental not only to the person, but to society. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, the vast majority of women in substance abuse treatment and the public mental health system report a history of trauma, with the abuse most commonly having occurred in childhood.

IWU grad publishes LGBTQ young adult novel

BLOOMINGTON — Illinois Wesleyan University alum Sabina Khan has just published a novel for Muslim LGBTQ youth. A press release from IWU said the book, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali, follows the story of Rukhsana Ali, a Muslim American teenager in a secret relationship with her classmate Ariana. Her parents send her to Bangladesh in an effort to distance their daughter from Western influences. But she finds her grandmother’s diary and gets inspiration from it. “There are a hundred different versions of Rukhsana’s story out there and it would still be about a South Asian LGBTQ Muslim,” Khan told NBC in an interview.