The Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce Ralph and June Kidwell as posthumous recipients of the 2020 Richard C. Siemer Outstanding Philanthropist Award. Click the video at the bottom to view the award presentation.
Throughout their lives, Ralph and June Kidwell have lived in Crawford, Jasper, and Effingham counties, and wanted to leave a portion of their estate to support the region they called home. In 2011, they made arrangements with their attorney to make a bequest gift to Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation to create an unrestricted endowment to generate support for Effingham County organizations forever. Ralph passed away in 2015, and June followed in 2018. In 2019, the Community Foundation received a portion of the Kidwell Estate and established the Ralph and June Kidwell Endowment.
Because the gift from Mr. and Mrs. Kidwell is unrestricted and permanent, it can adapt to the greatest needs in a community forever. The use of funding from the Kidwell Endowment to support the Community Foundation’s COVID-19 relief efforts in 2020 demonstrates this flexibility.
When Ralph and June made their estate plans in 2011, they could not have predicted the catastrophic events of 2020, resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak and pandemic. However, the forethought of their unrestricted gift allowed the Community Foundation to deploy funds from the Ralph and June Kidwell Endowment to support organizations in Effingham County that felt the pandemic’s financial impact. The Kidwell Endowment provided seed money for the Southeastern Illinois COVID-19 Relief Fund and provided matching dollars for the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation Giving Tuesday Now campaign for area nonprofit organizations.
Nominees for the Richard C. Siemer Outstanding Philanthropy Award may be individuals, families, or organizations with a proven record of exceptional generosity who, through direct financial support, demonstrate outstanding civic and charitable responsibility and whose generosity encourages others to take philanthropic leadership roles in a community, national and/or international level. Previous recipients include Rick Siemer; Tom Wright; Dr. Rick and Angie Workman; Lumpkin Family Foundation; Paul Dee Jonson; Mike and Carol Fuller; Eagle Country Water Works; Jack Schultz; Steve McGahey; 100+ Women Who Care Effingham County; Sybil Etchason; Larry D. Short; Jerry McDaniel; and Robert and Marilyn McClean.