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October 22, 2021

2021 Heather Began Memorial Education Fund Awards 3 Grants

The Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation is pleased to announce that the Heather Began Memorial Education Fund awarded three grants for the 2021-22 school year.

Tara Beard, a second grade teacher at Altamont Grade School (Altamont, IL), received $500 to make a monthly book order for each child in her classroom to have books in their hands. Elaine Kopplin, a third grade teacher at Altamont Lutheran Interparish School (Altamont, IL), received $500 to purchase books for her class to read together. Chantelle Ottens, a 6th grade science teacher at Estrella Vista STEM Academy (Avondale, AZ), received $500 to begin a “Share and Care Closet”at the school.

Robert and Julie Began, along with their daughter, Hannah, established the Heather Began Memorial Education Fund in memory of their daughter, Heather, (pictured here) who passed away in October 2019. The fund will award grants to K-4 educators in Altamont, Illinois, and her former school in Avondale, Arizona.

Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation manages more than 180 funds for the immediate and long-term benefit of communities in southeastern Illinois. For more information, contact Amanda Lessley, President/CEO of Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation, at 217.342.4988 or

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