Operating on donations from community members, the Springfield Foundation was established in 1948, starting small and currently distributes $5-6 million annually in several areas including arts and culture; civic affairs; education; health; human services; environment conservation; animals; along with a scholarship program.
“The whole idea is this is the community’s foundation,” said Springfield Foundation executive director Susan Carey. “This is a community we’re all proud to be a part of to live our best lives in Clark County.”
The grant process has been competitive, with 122 applications coming through this year, which Carey said is a higher-than-average number. The Foundation has worked with local groups including Springfield Promise, Global Impact STEM Community and Spring Forward, with funds going toward downtown development.
“We have a good pulse of what’s going on in the community and what the needs are,” said Sarah McPherson, Foundation director of development and marketing. “This event will celebrate our past, present and future and community impact.”
The celebration will include recognition of Legacy Society members, individuals who have left planned gifts and bequests. Organizers hope this is an inspiration for others to give back.
The Homer C. Corry Award, which isn’t given annually, honors an individual who has accomplished things based on service to the community and foundation board as a whole. The 14th Corry Award recipient will be Tom Loftis, who served nine years and served on various committees and lent expertise on finance and investment.
A new award, the Catalyst of Change, will go to an individual or group that has embraced showing diversity, equity and diversity in the community. The Springfield Museum of Art was selected as the first honoree as it integrates those principles into several areas.
The event will also have the announcement of the Foundation’s anniversary initiative that Carey said will fill a big need in the community, especially after the effects off COVID-19 and the pandemic.
As for the Foundation’s future, Carey said the organization will be looking at being more inclusive, with a diversity perspective, especially in its board makeup.
McPherson said deferred gifts are especially interesting and can come out of a tragedy to remember someone. An upcoming gift will see $75,000 a year distributed over the next five years.
“We’re planting the seed for gifts now that we may never see,” said McPherson. “We’ll continue to connect people with causes or legacy gifts to honor charitable donations.”
Those interested in attending the celebration should RSVP by Sept. 25. To purchase tickets for the celebration or for more information about the Springfield Foundation, go to SpringfieldFoundation.org.