Equity and Inclusion Classroom Grants Awarded to Five Local Educators

Each educator received a $500 grant

Macon County – Five Macon County educators each received a $500 grant from The Community Foundation of Macon County (CFMC) to be used to advance inclusion and equity understanding in their classrooms. The funding was made through an Equity and Inclusion Endowment Fund established at the Foundation last year. The 2021 award recipients and their targeted programs are:

  • Terri Doty, Maroa-Forsyth Grade School, “More Alike Than Different,” teaching tolerance, acceptance and equity with art projects and activities for her school’s approximately 600 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. A Millikin graduate, Doty has more than 20 years of experience teaching elementary art and is in her first year at Maroa-Forsyth Grade School.
  • Rich Hansen, Mt. Zion High School, “Exhibit collaboration between African-American Cultural & Genealogical Museum and Decatur Public Schools,” creating a permanent exhibit at the museum in partnership with the Decatur Justice Initiative. The project’s goal is to create awareness of the issue of mass incarceration within the criminal justice system, its causes and how it affects our local communities. Hansen has taught at Mt. Zion High School for more than 20 years and teaches on topics on African-American history and racism throughout each semester of learning. A graduate of Eastern Illinois University, Hansen is a 2017 recipient of the NAACP Game Changers Award for Education.
  • Aubrey Jump, Montessori Academy of Peace, “This Book is Antiracist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work,” providing each of 90+ middle-school students with their own copy of a discussion book described by Kirkus Reviews as “a guidebook for taking action against racism.” A graduate of Richland Community College and Millikin University, Jump began teaching for Decatur Public Schools in 2007 and taught early childhood for 13 years before transitioning to the middle school level.
  • Sara Kelly, American Dreamer STEM Academy, “Classroom Library Expansion,” developing a more culturally diverse classroom library where all children feel welcome and accepted. Kelly, who teaches kindergarten at the Academy, has more than 10 years of teaching experience. She previously taught fourth grade and was an instructional technology coach. She is currently complete her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.
  • Dr. Amy Zahm, Eisenhower High School, “Operation Calculus,” a program designed to increase the success of African-American students in honors mathematics courses at Eisenhower High School. Now in her seventh year as principal of Eisenhower High School, Zahm previously taught for Pana School District, Lakeland Community College and Springfield Public School District. She earned her master’s degree and doctorate through Saint Louis University. In August, Zahm was recognized by the Illinois Principals Association as High School Principal of the Year for the Abe Lincoln Region.

“At The Community Foundation, we recognize that educators have a unique opportunity to advance inclusion and equity,” says CFMC Director of Strategic Grantmaking Tony Holly. “Equity-minded teaching is essential to a productive learning environment. It contributes to an inclusive classroom environment where all students can thrive.”

This year, any Macon County educator was eligible to apply for a Rapid Response grant from the Equity and Inclusion Endowment Fund, including PreK-12 teachers, homeschool teachers, and college/university instructors and professors. Starting in 2022, five percent of the fund’s total growing assets – currently more than $50,000 – will be awarded in grants within Macon County each December. This year’s grant focus was educational projects and programs, but the review committee has the option to select a new focus each year.

For more information about the grant process or to give to the Equity and Inclusion Endowment Fund, call Holly at 217.429.3000 or email him at tholly@maconcountygives.org.