CHAMPAIGN — Four nonprofit organizations are sharing in $55,500 of grant funding through the Marajen Stevick Foundation.
The money, awarded by the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois, is given annually to nonprofit organizations that enhance the lives of seniors, beautify Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding area and promote excellence in reading and writing, as was the wish of Mrs. Stevick-Chinigo.
— $20,000 to the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club in Champaign 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.
— $20,000 to Urbana Middle School for implementing three new components to its after-school program that include Students Playing and Learning Afterschool Hours, or SPLASH, Project Based Learning and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and the Reading and Writing Clinic.
— $13,000 to Generations of Hope in Rantoul 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.
— $2,500 to the Ebert Sculpture fund, toward the construction of the recently completed sculpture of Roger Ebert seated in the middle of three theater seats and displaying his signature "thumbs up" gesture. The 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 grant process beginning in early February each year with a call for letters of intent from organizations. A foundation selection committee reviews the ideas presented, and seeks additional information as needed before choosing recipients.
In all, the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois distributes nearly $1 million each year through grants to non-profit organizations and scholarship recipients in its service area, which includes Champaign, Coles, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Moultrie, Piatt and Vermilion counties.