New nonprofit to raise funds for projects in Champaign County


A Springfield nonprofit that raises funds for scholarships and endowments is developing a similar entity that has started soliciting donations in Champaign County.

The Springfield Foundation was created in 1948 when a group of area business leaders decided Clark County residents needed an organization to help local entities meet philanthropic goals. The foundation collects charitable donations, makes investments and distributes the money through grants and scholarships. The Springfield Foundation handled donations from Champaign County in the past, but recently worked with officials in that county to develop a new entity called the Champaign Foundation, said Ted Vander Roest, executive director of the Springfield Foundation.

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Champaign County offered a similar organization several years ago. But it was mostly run by volunteers and eventually folded, Vander Roest said.

“You really need someone who has a dedicated staff and has time to work on it,” he said.

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The new Champaign Foundation has its own board of directors who will manage the new foundation. Staff at the Springfield Foundation will offer advice and manage most of the day-to-day operations, said Todd Michael, one of the new board members for the Champaign Foundation.

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“It’s an opportunity to put philanthropic people and the needs of the community together,” Michael said.

The groups are working together to boost awareness of the new entity, including passing out T-shirts during harness racing events at the Champaign County Fair.

Entities like the Springfield Foundation collect contributions from donors and invest and administer the funds. Together, the donors contribute to endowments to provide benefits throughout the community. The Champaign Fund recently started its effort to solicit initial donors, Michael said.

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The new foundation has already seen some interest from agencies like Urbana University, the Grimes Flying Lab Foundation and the Champaign Aviation Museum, Vander Roest said.

“We wanted to make sure this was started correctly and managed properly,” Michael said of the new foundation.



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