Emerging Philanthropists Fund

The Emerging Philanthropists Fund is an initiative designed by the Community Foundation of Central Illinois (CFCI) to invigorate emerging community leaders to join together as philanthropists. The group is comprised of a cross section of professionals in the community who like to have fun, but who also want to positively impact the quality of life in central Illinois.

Together, members build the Emerging Philanthropists Fund, an endowment which addresses community needs through grantmaking. The Emerging Philanthropists Fund offers a unique opportunity to its members by providing them with a vehicle for strategic giving, information about the grantmaking process and the ability to learn more about the many nonprofit organizations in central Illinois.

The Fund’s giving circle model allows members to be philanthropic without having to be wealthy. By pooling together yearly membership contributions, as well as additional donations, the Fund grows. Each year, a portion of the fund is granted back into the community through a grantmaking process. Emerging Philanthropists Fund members ultimately vote on which nonprofit organizations receive grants from the Fund.

In addition to grantmaking, members will gain basic philanthropic skills and be connected with established philanthropists in the community. It is a wonderful way to get involved!

Emerging Philanthropists Fund 2022 Grant Recipient-Foster Village Peoria

Foster Village Peoria received $4,000 for their Resource Closet program. The Resource Closet provides welcome bags for foster children when they are placed into or leave foster care. Each bag includes three new sets of clothes, toiletries, a blanket, and a journal or stuffed animal. The Resource Closet also supplies larger items by request, such as car seats and cribs. There are currently no other programs filling this need in the Peoria community. Foster Village Peoria, launched June 2022, is a nonprofit & affiliate location to Foster Village Inc. that fills the gaps in resources for the foster care community. It “Takes a Village.”

Emerging Philanthropists Fund Membership Commitment

  • Individual Membership: Minimum annual contribution of $100.
  • Couple/Family Membership (per household): Minimum annual contribution of $200.
  • Must be committed to working together for the common good of our community.

Emerging Philanthropists Fund Membership Benefits

Invitation Only Events: Learn about community issues, promote grantmaking, forge leadership skills and build camaraderie.
Networking: Meet leading community leaders and philanthropists and learn about their philanthropic strategies.
Enhanced Skills Set: Learn about the grantmaking process and what local nonprofits are doing to meet community needs.
Tax Advantages: All donations qualify for the maximum available deduction for charitable contributions.
Charitable Impact: Members vote on the issue area where they would like to direct the annual grant each year.

How to Become a Member

There are two ways you or your family can become a member:

1. Check: Print and download a membership form and mail with payment to CFCI. Checks can be made payable to “Community Foundation of Central Illinois.”

Mailing address:

Community Foundation of Central Illinois
ATTN: Emerging Philanthropists Fund
3625 North Sheridan Road
Peoria, IL 61604

2. Online: Sign up online by clicking here. You may submit your payment in full, or through quarterly or monthly payments via credit card.

Annual membership is tax-deductible. Checks can be made to “Community Foundation of Central Illinois.” Credit card donations are accepted through Qgiv.


Emerging Philanthropists Advisory Council Members

Audrey Kamm, Chair

Jennifer Weaver, Vice Chair

Monica Ray, Immediate Past Chair

Lynette Fernandes

Yvonne Long

Mark Mason

Maleka Miller

Brent Rynearson

Kelly Schneider

Guari Shevatekar

Clayton Welker

Emerging Philanthropists Fund Grant Guidelines

Each year, as the Emerging Philanthropists Fund grows, a portion of the fund will be regranted into the community. All 501(c)(3) nonprofits are encouraged to submit an application. For the 2023 grant cycle, nonprofits can apply for up to $5,000.

The Emerging Philanthropists Fund Grants Committee will review and narrow down the applications and select up to five finalists. Of the finalists, based on funding available, the Emerging Philanthropists Fund membership will then vote on one or several recipients. Recipients will be notified in August of 2023.

Learn more about the Emerging Philanthropists Fund Grant before submitting an application.

Click here for the 2023 Emerging Philanthropists Fund Grant application. Grant applications are due by 5:00 PM Central on June 14th, 2023.


Please contact CFCI Director of Grants and Community Initiatives, Sarah Fletcher, at 309-674-8730 or sarah@communityfoundationci.org.

Emerging Philanthropists Fund 2021 Grant Recipient-Illinois Ability Sports

llinois Ability Sports is receiving a $5,000 grant from the Emerging Philanthropists Fund for the creation of The Mason County Community Splash Pad. This splash pad will provide low-income children and individuals with disabilities a safe and fun opportunity to enjoy an outdoor activity free of charge. Nothing of this nature currently exists in Mason County to serve these children.