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


  • The Community Foundation of Macon County (CFMC) announced Untold Stories, a $120,000 community engagement program to bring to life and share stories of underrepresented people in Macon County. The CFMC is one of only three Illinois foundations who received matching grant funds from The Lumpkin Family Foundation. The Untold Stories program’s vision is to promote a fuller understanding of history as a contribution to conversations about racial equity and social justice. This year-long program will focus on partnering with local historical/genealogical societies, libraries, schools, universities, museums, nonprofits, and churches to acknowledge and uncover untold history, support partnerships and build relationships, and develop understanding through education.
  • Decatur Earthmover Credit Union and the Community Foundation of Macon County partnered for a year-long $1 Million grant campaign called Moving Forward. The campaign includes four discretionary open-call grant programs – Places & Neighborhoods (awarding $100,000), Impact200 ($200,000), Emergency Services Support ($100,000) and CommunityWorks ($400,000). An additional $200,000 in grant funding will benefit Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), emergency services, financial literacy, arts, and summer education programs. As part of this collaboration, CFMC folded two of their annual grant programs, CommunityWorks and Impact100, into Moving Forward, doubling each program’s available grant funding.
  • In February, the Community Foundation celebrated reaching $50 million in grants awarded since 2000. Dan Hardy's $2,500 gift to the Decatur Park District helped push the Foundation past the $50 million mark.
  • Moving Foward's first grant was awarded to the African-American Cultural & Genealogical Society. The $50,000 grant was unrestricted for the museum's general needs.
  • The Community Foundation of Macon County became the Heart of Illinois Community Foundation (HICF) in March. Along with the name change, the Foundation unveiled a new logo. The Foundation's expanded service area now includes Macon, Piatt, Moultrie and DeWitt Counties.
  • Cristin Wright of Monticello joined the HICF team in March as our Philanthropic Advisor for Piatt County.
  • Moving Forward's Places & Neighborhoods grants are awarded totaling $100,000.
  • On April 6, the HICF hosted a one-night live performance of That’s What She Said, showcasing personal stories from women who have shaped the Macon County community. Presented by Hickory Point Bank & Trust, That’s What She Said featured 10 local women who share their personal stories on stage in a bold and vulnerable performance. The show featuredpersonal stories by these amazing local women: Laura Cornille-Cannady, Tina German-Roberts, Amber Hooker, Linda Huck, Jamie Muscato, Dr. Dana Ray, Marie Shaffer, Sheryol Threewit, Katie Warnick, and Stacey Young. Over $17,000 was raised at the TWSS inaugural event for the She Gave Women's Giving Circle.
  • In April, the She Gave Women's Giving Circle awarded $25,000 in grants during their first grant cycle.
  • In May, Moving Forward's EMS grants were awarded totaling $100,000.
  • In June, Moving Forward's Arts/Summer grants were awarded totaling $30,000.


  • The year 2023 was a record-breaking year of generosity as Foundation donors granted more than $6 million to benefit nonprofit organizations, churches, schools and student scholarships. Also, these generous donors gave more than $10 million in gifts to the CFMC. In total, donors have awarded $48.5 million in grants since the Foundation was established – a testament to the generosity of Macon County donors. At year’s end, the Foundation had $56 million in total assets and managed more than 400 funds.
  • The Community Foundation of Macon County received national recognition with re-accreditation by the nation’s highest standard for philanthropic excellence -- the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations®, which establishes legal, ethical, effective practices for U.S. community foundations. “When people trust CFMC with a charitable bequest, to establish a fund, or set up an annuity, they do it knowing that we have met rigorous standards for donor services, investment management, grantmaking and administration,” said CFMC President and CEO Natalie Beck. The CFMC was first certified with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® in 2006.
  • In September, CFMC launched the She Gave Women’s Giving Circle, an innovative new initiative for Macon County. She Gave’s mission is to promote and encourage women's leadership in philanthropy, increase charitable contributions, and strengthen collective giving. The larger the circle grows, the greater the impact on our community.
  • CFMC announced a $150,000 donor-advised grant to support Decatur Public Schools Prep Academy, a partnership between Decatur Public Schools District #61 and Richland Community College. The Academy offers selected DPS students the opportunity to earn their high school diploma and an associate’s degree from Richland upon completion of the four-year program during high school. Since 2021, CFMC donors have contributed $230,000 to the DPS Prep Academy.
  • Thanks to the generosity of CFMC donors, representatives from 33 nonprofit organizations and schools completed the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy “Principles and Techniques of Fundraising” course for $100 per staff member and without leaving Macon County. Normally, it costs an organization $2,000+ to send a staff member to Indiana University to complete the four-day course.
  • Donors have granted more than $500,000 in wishes on CFMC’s Community Wish List since it was established in 2021.
  • Eighteen new funds were established at CFMC in 2023, including The Dale and Donna Arnold Scholarship for Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science. It was established in memory of Decatur philanthropists Dale and Donna Arnold, both deceased. Dale was a charter member of the CFMC board.
  • Nine local nonprofits received a total of $150,000 in grants from the Impact100 grant fund. The 2023 grants were focused on projects and programs that impact the greatest needs of Macon County’s arts/culture/recreation, social services, conservation/environment, health and youth nonprofit sectors.
  • A $150,000 donor-advised grant was designated to fund a Community Resource Liaison position as an extension of the Macon County Continuum of Care (COC). The individual in this position will be responsible for identifying needs among the homeless population in Macon County and supporting COC member agencies in their work to end homelessness in our community.
  • Twenty-six nonprofits and churches received a total of $149,000 in grants from the Macon County Food Insecurity Fund, a fund established at The Community Foundation of Macon County to help alleviate food insecurity in the community.
  • Nearly $64,000 in CommunityWorks funding was announced by CFMC in March to support Workforce Investment Solutions (WIS) programs in the areas of workforce development and education.
  • Twenty-one Macon County adults were selected to receive a total of nearly $50,000 in educational scholarships for spring semester 2024 through a competitive program coordinated by The Community Foundation of Macon County. The individual awards ranged from $1,000 to $2,500.
  • Fourteen Macon County Legacy nonprofit organizations were awarded a total of $24,000 in Microgrants from CFMC to help fund professional development and training opportunities for Macon County Legacy staff and board members.
  • CFMC awarded $20,000 in CommunityWorks funding to support Student Mental Health Services at Richland Community College and Millikin University.
  • Four local nonprofit organizations received a total of $5,000 in grants from the Young Leaders in Action (YLIA) Youth Impact fund. This year’s grants were targeted to impact the mental health of local students.
  • In collaboration with the Decatur Area Arts Council, the CFMC provided a racial equity grant supporting violinist Chenoa Murphy's lecture-demonstration at Eisenhower High School celebrating the work of Black classical composers and their compositions.
  • The Convention and Visitors Bureau, Community Foundation of Macon County, Decatur Park District, and Decatur's Buildings Trades Unions partnered to bring a popular new “Decatur Illinois” public art attraction to Macon County.
  • Five area residents, one organization and one couple were named recipients of the 2023 Do Something Great awards at an August presentation luncheon.
  • For five days in June, Decatur Memorial Hospital and The Community Foundation of Macon County hosted the Mobile Museum of Tolerance (MMOT) in Macon County for free access by community members of all ages. MMOT is a world-class anti-Semitism, anti-bullying and anti-racism learning experience.
  • In the fall, CFMC staff partnered with Decatur's Country Home 95Q, Macon County Farm Bureau, Scott State Bank and Country Financial to feed 400 community farmers to thank them for all they do to feed our community and the world.
  • CFMC launched a database of potential nonprofit board members composed of individuals who have completed an Introduction to Board Governance class facilitated by Bruce Nims, local businessman and former CFMC board member.
  • Vinnie and Debra Barbee were recipients of the 2023 Robert and Bev Ketenbrink Community Commitment Award for their lifelong commitment to our community.
  • Provided $12,992.94 in grant funding to United Way of Decatur & Mid-Illinois for ongoing support of the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library for Macon County, a literacy program for area children.
  • Rachel Moran, CFMC Director of Communications, has been named a CFRE International Certified Fund Raising Executive. Moran joins a group of only 7,700 professionals around the world who hold the CFRE designation, and only 304 in Illinois.
  • Jill Reedy joined CFMC Board of Trustees.


  • Reached $40 million in distributed grants and scholarships and a total of more than 370 funds managed at CFMC since the foundation's start in 2000.
  • More than $427,000 was distributed in educational scholarships thanks to generous individuals, families, companies and organizations who fund these scholarships.
  • Lindsey Craycraft and Dr. Perry P. Guaglianone joined the CFMC board of trustees.
  • Decatur residents Bob and Lucy Lindsay Smith granted $25,000 through their donor-advised fund at CFMC to spark a $50,000 matching challenge for the Boys & Girls Club of Decatur, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Decatur.
  • Three team members of The Community Foundation of Macon County earned the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) professional designation: Vice President Missy Batman, CEO Natalie Beck and Director of Financial Services Chasity Casey. This national certification designates an advisor or gift planner committed to helping those who want to give wisely and well.
  • In January, the total number of free COVID Care Kits provided to Macon County individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began reached 2,600 with the distribution of 500 more kits. The kits were created and distributed in memory of the late Dani Rubin Kater. Funding for the new kits came from an emergency grant.
  • $200,000 in CommunityWorks Endowed Fund grants awarded to 12 area nonprofits.
  • A combined total of more than $26,000 in grants was awarded to 17 Macon County Legacy nonprofit members to assist staff in obtaining training in strategies and skills to enhance professional and organizational productivity.
  • Rachel Moran joined the staff as director of communications in June.
  • As of June 14, donors have given a total of $306,388 to grant 39 Community Wish List wishes this year for several local nonprofits and to fund a substantial percentage of seven other wishes. Thank you, donors!
  • CFMC earned the Platinum GuideStar Nonprofit Seal of Transparency for providing extensive and meaningful data for donors on its nonprofit profile. Only 15 percent of community foundations reach this level of approval. GuideStar is the world’s largest source of nonprofit information.
  • More than $694,000 was invested in education needs for Macon County.
  • Seven area residents, two organizations and one family were recipients of the 2022 Do Something Great awards luncheon. These annual awards are presented to those who have made a significant impact on Macon County.
  • Twenty-four local residents received a total of $50,000 in Adult Scholarship funding for spring semester 2023. The adult scholarship program invests in workforce development by supporting individuals seeking further education in critical need fields.


  • Young Leaders In Action (YLIA) named winner of state-wide Governor’s Cup.
  • Reached $53 million in assets.
  • More than $5.3 million awarded in scholarships and grants in 2021; this meant more than $38 million total was awarded since CFMC was founded in 2000.
  • In December alone, donor giving and the power of endowment allowed CFMC to grant a total of $926,514.07 to 158 organizations.
  • CFMC was one of only 13 community foundations nationwide selected to participate in the ABFE and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation national racial equity training.
  • $234,000 in CommunityWorks Endowed Fund grants awarded to nine area nonprofits.
  • Provided $24,000 in grant funding to United Way of Decatur & Mid-Illinois to establish Dolly Parton's Imagination Library for Macon County, a literacy program for area children.
  • $131,500 awarded in higher education scholarships.
  • $100,000 awarded in Impact100 grants.
  • Racial Equity Fund surpasses $30,000 in awarded grants.
  • More than $12,000 in total Microgrants awarded to 11 Macon County Legacy member organizations.
  • Fourteen new charitable funds established.
  • Established Michael T. Carrigan Solidarity Scholarship.
  • First 14 Adult Scholarship program recipients announced; five for fall semester 2021 and nine for spring semester 2022. Total of $24,000 awarded.
  • Donors fulfilled 36 community wish list items requested by Macon County Legacy nonprofit members -- from books to a bus and more!
  • First-ever Rapid Response grants from the Equity and Inclusion Endowed Fund awarded to five Macon County educators to support classroom inclusion and equity. Total awarded $2,500; $500 each.
  • Recognized 13 area residents and a local healthcare center with 2021 Do Something Great Awards.
  • Received the Mission Impact Award from Richland Community College Foundation.
  • Kara Demirjian named CFMC board chair in July.
  • Temethia Joyner named YLIA facilitator.


  • Provided more than $389,000 in COVID-19 emergency response funding to Macon County front-line service and advocacy organizations
  • Provided food for hundreds of local families during COVID-19 pandemic by partnering on three Community Food Box Days with United Way, Neuhoff Media, United Way of Decatur & Mid-Illinois, Crossing Healthcare and Central Illinois Foodbank

  • $150,000 in CommunityWorks grants awarded to benefit almost 15 community programs

  • Announced the Dani Rubin Kater Memorial Fund to provide free COVID Care Kits to Macon County individuals who tested positive for COVID-19

  • Launched Adult Scholarship program

  • $100,000 in total Impact100 grants awarded to 8 local organizations

  • To celebrate our community and to mark the Foundation’s 20th anniversary, gifted an interactive butterfly mural display at the Decatur Civic Center through partnership with the Center, Decatur Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and Decatur Area Arts Council.

  • Reached $42 million in assets

  • Launched new, updated website designed by Jones + Thomas.

  • Presented 2020 Do Something Great Awards


  • Launched Impact100 and awarded grants to 11 organizations from a total of $100K
  • Received bequest of more than $786,600 from the estate of Robert and Bev Ketenbrink.
  • Moved office to fourth floor of One Main Place
  • Launched Young Leaders in Action
  • Hired Chasity Casey as donor services associate


  • Reached $38 million in assets
  • Surpassed $25 million in grants given
  • Natalie Beck named third CEO of The Community Foundation


  • Ended year with more than $36 million in assets
  • Launched an enhanced donor portal
  • Received $500,000 bequest from the Norma Augustine estate to establish the Lynn D. Augustine Memorial 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


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


  • Launched online donor portal
  • Gather. Give. Share (youth philanthropy group) was created
  • Kathy Carter named scholarship coordinator
  • Marked 15th anniversary of CFMC by breaking $30M in assets


  • Launched online scholarship application portal
  • Ended the year with more than $27.5 million in assets
  • Beautify Decatur
  • Vietnam Area Vets


  • 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


  • Grand Victoria Foundation Matching Challenge Grant was completed.
  • The Community Foundation ended 2010 with over $21M in assets.
  • Louise “Wegi” Ferry Stewart named 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 nonprofit and government arenas for 20 years. For 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.

Wegi 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 bachelor's 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 held June 9, 2010, at the Decatur Area Arts Council.


  • 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 10 years were 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


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


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, 14 community residents pledged a total of $1 million, which was matched by Archer Daniels Midland Co. Also in 2007, the Foundation was one of the first in Illinois to receive certification from the Council on Foundations.


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.


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.


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 occupant of offices in the Madden Arts Center operated by the Decatur Area Arts Council.


The Community Foundation became one of only 18 Illinois foundations 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 the Foundation's impact, leverage and flexibility in serving Decatur.


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.


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 60 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 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 its first year with seven separate permanent funds and $70,000 in the bank.

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