In 1972, John Franklin was a prominent attorney in Champaign-Urbana and one of the few who focused on estate planning as one of his practice areas. John felt strongly that “community giving is community building” and wanted to offer his clients and others a way to “endow” the community.
He called together 25 of his friends and community leaders to discuss the idea of creating a Community Foundation for the benefit of Champaign County. Fifty years later our Community Foundation of East Central Illinois is larger and stronger than ever before.
“Put your money where your heart is” were John’s words to live by in 1972, and they still hold true today. In addition to establishing the Foundation, Franklin also created several endowments that continue to support organizations that were important to him: the Margaret O. Franklin Endowment, the Franklin Prairie Farm Endowment and the Franklin Youth Endowment. These endowments have distributed nearly $1 million dollars to the Champaign Park District Prairie Farms Petting Zoo, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, McKinley YMCA, Prairielands Council, BSA, First United Methodist Church, Champaign, University YMCA – UIUC and our Foundation for our annual Community Commitment Grants distributions.
Under the guiding principles of John Franklin and the founding Board of Trustees, our Community Foundation continues to strengthen our communities and enhance the lives of those living in east central Illinois.