The Lake Land College Foundation will have a new home next year. The announcement was made at the foundation’s annual meeting Oct. 22 at the Mattoon Golf & Country Club.
Beginning in spring 2020, the college will begin construction on a new college advancement center to house foundation and alumni offices. The new center will be located where the Laker Nest Bookstore currently sits on the west side of campus.
With the completion of the Luther Student Center and the Laker Nest Bookstore comfortably taking shape in the student center, the old bookstore will be demolished, leaving ample space on campus near Alumni Park to construct a new college advancement center.
“After months of planning and discussion, the foundation has finalized the plan, design and financing arrangement, and is pleased to announce that in spring 2020 we will break ground on the Lake Land College Foundation and Alumni Center. The total cost of the project is $1.7 million with the college providing zero percent financing to the foundation for $1.5 million of the project, and the college providing the remaining $200,000 of the project. The foundation is grateful to the late Burnham Neal, who included the foundation as one of the beneficiaries of his charitable lead trust, the foundation’s source of revenue for the project,” President of the Lake Land College Foundation Board of Directors Mike Bohannon said.
The Lake Land College Foundation & Alumni Center will welcome alumni and guests of the foundation with the housing of the alumni relations and foundation offices, as well as a large event room that will open onto Alumni Park.
The building is one of three main components of the foundation’s recently approved strategic plan. The foundation also developed a new brand identity to enhance stewardship and communication efforts with a clear message. The board adopted the tagline of “The Foundation Effect. Connect. Inspire. Give.” With enhanced donor stewardship efforts and the implementation of new outreach efforts at the forefront of the foundation, the new brand identity provides clear messaging for current board members as they engage with the community and prospective donors.
“The next step will be to actively involve the foundation board at a deeper level in these efforts,” Rich Hartke, donor relations committee chair, said.
In addition to a new advancement center and stewardship and outreach activities, the Foundation Board of Directors worked with consultants from eAdvancement to conduct an extensive program review of the foundation operations and scholarship administration.
To increase efficiency within the department and grow the donor-focused major gift program, the operation analysis recommended a new organizational structure. With a new structure, the foundation will be able to meet the emerging needs of the college, increasing alumni engagement, growing the foundation and improve scholarship administration.
The foundation welcomed the new Executive Director for College Advancement Christi Donsbach, Teutopolis. She replaces Jackie Joines who will retire from the position at the end of the calendar year.
“I am honored to join the Lake Land College community and connect with faculty and staff. I look forward to partnering with the foundation and alumni board members who have experienced so much success. I am excited to build upon their accomplishments and positively impact our students, college and the entire Lake Land College region well into the future,” Donsbach said.
The board celebrated the creation of five new endowed scholarships within the past year. Fiscal year 2019 saw $629,650 in scholarship awards going to more than 800 students, bringing the total amount of scholarships awarded during the past 31 years to more than $8.6 million and to approximately 11,000 students. Additionally, the fundraising report showed 500 first-time gifts totaling $92,688. Members of the Lake Land College Board of Trustees, Lake Land College Foundation Board and Lake Land College Alumni Association were recognized for reaching 100 percent participation for the second year in a row.
In the past year, the Lake Land College Foundation experienced significant growth as a result of generous gifts. The most significant gift came in the form of a life interest gift to an existing life estate of a 355-acre farm from Wayne and the late Clara Borgic. The farm near Pana will be used for educational purposes with the income benefiting two endowed scholarships in memory of the Borgics’ parents, as well as other needs of the college.
A new campus park created by Willie Podestá Young in memory of her parents, Dr. William L. and Margaret Podestá, was highlighted. The park, featuring a bronze sculpture by artist Stefan Savides, of Klamath Falls, Oregon, is a significant addition to campus beautification.
The foundation additionally created a veterans memorial on campus honoring all past, present and future veterans of Lake Land College from unrestricted gifts given to the foundation. The foundation was also able to increase student support by changing the foundation endowment spending policy that provided for more scholarships to be awarded.
The foundation shared a video of Steve and Debbie Benefiel of Paris, one of the donors highlighted in the foundation annual report during the evening. The Benefiels have been involved with the Lake Land College Foundation since 1994 when Debbie joined the foundation board. Last year, the Benefiels were honored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals East Central Illinois Chapter for their volunteer efforts in the region. The Benefiels recently created an endowed scholarship with the foundation for Edgar County students attending Lake Land College.
Board members and officers were elected for the upcoming year. Officers elected for a one-year term are Foundation Board President Tom Grunloh, Effingham; Foundation Board Vice President Deacon Patient, Sullivan; and Secretary Lisa Kallis, Charleston.
The board welcomed Larry Blackerby, La Quinta, California, as a new member to fill a vacancy for the remaining year of a three-year term; Renee Huckstead, Mattoon; Linda VonBehren, Martinsville; Meg Steward, Marshall; and Debra Sandercock, Charleston, as new members for three-year terms.
The board gave out philanthropy awards recognizing outstanding contributions to the foundation during the year.
Rich Hartke, Teutopolis, received the Crystal Swan Award which is awarded annually to an outstanding board member. The Crystal Swan Award was created in 1993 as a way to recognize foundation board members who have gone above and beyond in their leadership and service to the Lake Land College Foundation during their tenure.
Willie Podestá Young, received recognition as the Outstanding Philanthropist for the year. Young’s connection to Lake Land dates back to the beginning of the college with a portion of the college sitting on land obtained from the Podestá family. Her parents, the late Dr. William and Margaret Podestá, were recently honored with a park on campus in their name: The Dr. William L. and Margaret Podestá Park.
“The park on Lake Land’s main campus, was the vision of Mrs. Young. She approached the College with an idea that would enhance the campus while creating a lasting legacy that memorialized her parents,” Hartke said. “The Dr. William L. and Margaret Podestá Park is the main focal point as guests exit the new addition and main entrance to the Luther Student Center.”
This award is bestowed upon individuals who have demonstrated significant dedication and commitment to the overall educational experience of Lake Land College students. Past recipients include Gerald Forsythe, Wayne and the late Clara Borgic and Tom Grunloh.
Debbie Kirts Thomason, Lake Land College director of dental hygiene/dental hygiene instructor, received the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award. The award is presented annually to an individual who has given gifts of time and talent in securing private funding on behalf of Lake Land College students.
“Debbie worked tirelessly to facilitate the Heartland Dental Dental Hygiene Lab renovation,” Hartke said. “She is a great volunteer fundraiser as she continues to regularly network with Heartland staff to help build the relationship and the program. Personally, Debbie is a Power Laker with over 10 years of continued giving to the foundation and a member of the Faculty Club giving society for her lifetime giving.”
Past recipients include John Livesay and Dr. Roger Dettro.
The Leona Stanford Vollintine Trust, represented by Roger Hickman, trustee, received the Outstanding Philanthropic Organization Award. This award is bestowed upon corporations, small businesses, industry, community organizations and private foundations that have demonstrated dedication and commitment to the overall educational experience of Lake Land College students.
The Leona Stanford Vollintine Trust, established in 2000, is a charitable trust established by Mrs. Leona Stanford Vollintine. Vollintine was an avid traveler, philanthropist and supporter of education.
“To date, the Leona Stanford Vollintine Trust has awarded over 100 scholarships to Lake Land students totaling $193,000. That is the Foundation Effect in motion!” Hartke said. “Lake Land College is just one of several educational institutions benefiting from Mrs. Vollintine’s generosity that includes public and private colleges and universities in Illinois and Colorado. The trust gives approximately $20,000 annually for scholarships in Mrs. Vollintine’s name at Lake Land College, making the trust a member of the President’s Silver Council Society for lifetime giving.”
Past recipients include Heartland Dental, Farm Credit Illinois, Agri-Fab and Hydro-Gear.