Timeline

The Community Foundation has been characterized by strong growth and unprecedented generosity.

2019

2018

  • Reached $38M in assets
  • Surpassed the $25M mark in grants given
  • Hired Natalie Beck as third President & CEO of The Community Foundation

2017

  • Ended the year with over $36M in funds
  • Launched enhanced donor portal
  • $500,000 bequest from the Norma Augustine estate in 2017, which established the Augustine Scholarship.

“The Foundation was not directly involved with either donation. Rather, this level of generosity indicated that people were thinking of The Community Foundation as an option in their estate plans; it’s become a dependable and desirable tool for philanthropy and estate planning.”

Wegi Stewart, regarding the Augustine Scholarship

2016

  • Hit the $20M mark in grants provided
  • Surpassed 300 funds
  • Erin Reed rejoined the work of the Education Coalition

2014

  • Launched online donor portal
  • Gather. Give. Share (youth philanthropy group) was created
  • Kathy Carter began working as scholarship coordinator
  • Marked 15th birthday by breaking $30M in assets

2013

  • Launched online scholarship application portal
  • Ended the year with over $27.5M in assets
  • Beautify Decatur
  • Vietnam Area Vets

2011

  • Champions for Children

“Decatur’s tradition of generosity stretches back to the Community Chest in the 1930s, which was the precursor to the United Way. Decatur has always been characterized by a strong legacy of corporate leadership and philanthropy. People here give back.”

Lucy Murphy, executive director at The Community Foundation June 2000

2010

  • Grand Victoria Foundation Matching Challenge Grant was completed.
  • The Community Foundation ended 2010 with over $21M in assets.
  • Louise “Wegi” Ferry Stewart became the Foundation’s new President on July 6, 2010.

About Wegi
When Wegi became President of The Community Foundation in 2010, she had been involved in the Decatur community working in the non-profit and government arenas for twenty years. For the three years, she served as executive director of the Richland Community College Foundation where she led the first major gifts campaign in that Foundation’s history. She served as Senior Development Officer for the Decatur Memorial Hospital Foundation from 1999 to 2007, and prior to that was President of the Community Investment Corporation of Decatur, Inc, and Director of the Dove, Inc. Homeward Bound Supportive Housing Program.

She has chaired the boards of directors of the Decatur Family YMCA and Heritage Behavior Health Center, and was president of the Rotary Club of Decatur in 2002. She served on the Decatur Public Building Commission. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Government from Georgetown University. She lives in Decatur with her husband David Stewart and has three grown children.

The Foundation Board of Directors introduced Wegi Stewart and thanked Lucy Murphy for her service at the Foundation’s 10-Year Anniversary Celebration on June 9, 2010 at 4:30 pm at the Decatur Area Arts Council.

2009

  • In response to a final challenge from Grand Victoria, local donor Dr. Charles D. Perkinson made the first $1 million gift from an individual to the Community Foundation. This gift and its Grand Victoria match, along with a significant number of small and large gifts over a three year period more than doubled the size of the Foundation’s permanent endowment. This spring the total assets in the Foundation topped $14,000,000.
  • The Community Foundation of Decatur/Macon County currently manages over 150 charitable funds. Nearly $1 million in grants were awarded to nonprofit organizations and local projects in 2009.
  • The past ten years have been a decade characterized by strong growth and unprecedented generosity.

“I can’t wait to see the Foundation reach the next level. The Foundation’s success will keep building on itself — which is exactly what Decatur deserves.”

Lucy Murphy, 2009 president

2008

The Foundation qualified for a third phase of the Grand Victoria Foundation Communityworks Challenge and received from that organization a $1,000,000 gift to both its Operating Endowment and the Communityworks Fund.

2007

Community Foundation Board member and JL Hubbard Insurance and Bonds President Kevin Breheny spearheaded a Leaders Fund campaign to raise funds that established the Decatur Area Education Coalition — a group of educators and community leaders committed to a systemic, community-wide, and sustained approach to improving academic achievement. Thanks to Breheny’s initiative, fourteen community residents pledged a total of $1 million, which was matched by Archer Daniels Midland. Also in 2007 the Foundation was one of the first in Illinois to receive certification from the Council on Foundations.

2006

The Community Foundation successfully secured $225,000 in gifts through the Communityworks Challenge campaign, which was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Grand Victoria Foundation of Chicago. The Foundation had accumulated $4.4m in permanent assets.

2005

Donors helped direct the Community Foundation’s mission by requesting opportunities for charitable giving that would reap particularly high pay off. Specifically, they targeted early childhood education as an area of community need and, following a study on children in poverty in Decatur, created a source of financial support to address solutions. Their effort launched the highly successful Kindergarten Readiness Program.

2004

Capacity of the Foundation was significantly increased with the addition of Finance Director Missy Batman. “Missy’s background and expertise in finance and investor relations helped make our funds profitable for investors,” Murphy says. “The Foundation now had the resources to distribute earnings through grants, to realize strong investment earnings, and to extend tax benefits to donors who gave appreciated stock.” Missy has become the Foundation’s VP of Operations and Finance. In June of 2004 The Community Foundation became the first occupants of offices in the Madden Arts Center operated by the Decatur Area Arts Council.

2003

The Community Foundation also became one of 18 in Illinois to be accepted into the multi-million dollar Communityworks program of the Grand Victoria Foundation — a multi-year partnership with the opportunity to secure funds for important community initiatives, and to bolster its impact, leverage, and flexibility in serving Decatur.

2002

Community Foundation funds stood at 28 and, after two years that often saw Murphy tackling bookkeeping tasks on Sunday, Marilyn Metzger joined the team as a part-time business manager. “We shared a desk and computer at first,” Murphy recalls, “but it was great to have her help and know-how.” Founding Board Chairman Denny Lohnes retired and Larry Haab took over board leadership. A $1 million challenge grant from Archer Daniels Midland — which was successfully matched by the Community Foundation — propelled the Foundation to seven-figures, provided valuable public relations benefits, and brought the total number of funds to 40 by the end of 2003.

2001

The Community Foundation spearheaded a study to examine the wills of all who died that year in Macon County in order to calculate the total number and percentage of testamentary charitable gifts. Conclusions from this study led to formation of the Legacy Society, a joint effort among the Community Foundation, Millikin University, and Decatur Memorial Hospital. The Legacy Society is now a group of sixty local nonprofit organizations and professional firms in Decatur and Macon County that work together to encourage people from all walks of life to give to charity in their wills or estate plans.


“Our first donation came from Mayor Terry Howley who said that since he wasn’t running for re-election, he’d donate his campaign war chest!”

Lucy Murphy, 2000 president

June 2000

  • After a two-year feasibility study — during which time the fledgling foundation operated within the United Way — the decision was made to form a comprehensive community trust to benefit a range of area agencies, and to establish it as an entity separate from United Way.
  • The first donation was from Mayor Terry Howley. Also stepping up were Dale Arnold of Hickory Point Bank, who pledged to match any deposit; National City Bank, which made a significant gift for endowment; and local philanthropist Darrell Beck, whose support, Murphy says, gave the new Foundation credibility.
  • The Community Foundation originally operated from a rent-free room in the basement of the United Way building at 160 E. Main and, for the first three years of its existence. Four local corporations stepped up to share the Foundation’s remaining expenses — Archer Daniels Midland, Caterpillar, A.E.Staley Mfg., and Firestone.
  • The Community Foundation ended 2000 with seven separate permanent funds and $70,000 in the bank.

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