The Community Foundation of East Central Illinois has awarded $55,500 in Marajen Stevick Foundation Grants to four area nonprofit organizations. The Stevick Foundation Grants offer annual funding for nonprofit organizations that provide services in the three areas of enhancing the lives of seniors, beautification of Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding area, and promoting excellence in reading and writing, as was the wish of Mrs. Stevick-Chinigo.
The Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club in Champaign was awarded $20,000 to help establish the “Summer Brain Gain” program, a structured and research-based curriculum that will provide a strong academic component to its summer day camp. The program aims to provide high-yield learning activities in a fun environment to help kids maintain and gain grade level skills in mathematics and reading over the summer.
Urbana Middle School was also awarded $20,000 to implement three new components to their after-school program, Students Playing and Learning Afterschool Hours (SPLASH). The SPLASH program began in 2005 was recognized by the Illinois Board of Education in 2013 as an Illinois School Spotlight program as an exemplary after-school program. Project Based Learning and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is an enrichment program that will engage students in finding real-world solutions to concrete issues and problems. The Reading and Writing Clinic is an intensive intervention course for students struggling with reading and writing. Academic Recapture will give students who are not progressing in their core classes the opportunity to work in small groups with a certified teacher helping them to complete core-class assignments and master skills.
Generations of Hope in Rantoul was awarded $13,000 for a handicapped-accessible patio and wheelchair-friendly walking path. These features will connect Hope House, a new handicapped-accessible senior housing unit within the Generations of Hope community, to a small pavilion and playground area. Hope House will be home to aging seniors in the Generations of Hope community when they require accessibility accommodations.
The Ebert Sculpture fund received $2,500 toward the construction of a sculpture of Roger Ebert seated in the middle of three theater seats and displaying his signature “thumbs up” gesture. The beautiful bronze sculpture will be permanently installed just east of the marquis of The Virginia Theatre, home to the nationally recognized annual Ebertfest film festival.
The Community Foundation administers the Marajen Stevick Foundation’s granting process, beginning in early February with a call for Letters of Intent (LOIs) from organizations that qualify for the grants. A Community Foundation selection committee reviews the ideas presented and seeks additional information as needed to fully understand the proposed projects. Awards are announced in the spring.