$20,000 Untold Stories Grant Awarded to Mt. Zion Foundation for Quality Education, Supports Rich Hansen African American History Class Project

Macon County – On Feb. 13, members of the Macon County Untold Stories grant committee surprised Mt. Zion High School History teacher Rich Hansen with a $20,000 grant.

The Untold Stories grant program promotes a fuller understanding of history as a contribution to conversations about racial equity and social justice. In Macon County, this year-long program will fund $120,000 in programming, partnering with local historical/genealogical societies, libraries, schools, university, museums, nonprofits, and churches to acknowledge and uncover untold history, support partnerships and develop understanding through education.

Untold Stories is a collaborative project with funding provided by The Lumpkin Family Foundation, the CFMC, Decatur Earthmover Credit Union and Healing Illinois. The Macon County Untold Stories advisory committee is chaired by Julia Livingston and includes community members Steve Grohne, Justin Hampton, Shelith Hansbro, Matt Samuels, Bennie Smith, Jr., Mark Sorensen and Stacey Young.

Chairwoman Livingston stated during the grant presentation the funding supports a class project for Mr. Hansen’s African American history class to research, design and build a new exhibit, or exhibits, for community display. “This grant celebrates Black History Month, but it also celebrates bringing history to life every day,” said Livingston. “As a person of color who grew up here in Decatur & Macon County, I am proud to be a part of projects like the Untold Stories program to learn about and acknowledge our community’s history and the lived experiences of many citizens who have not had their stories as widely known. It is always my goal to facilitate learning and interaction that will allow us to move forward together with an understanding about each other that we might not have had before.”

Additional Untold Stories grants and collaborations will be announced throughout 2024. Visit https://www.heartofillinois.org/untold-stories for more information.