Pictured (L-R) Joedy Hightower, President/CEO of Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation, Lanette Huddleston (ECWW), Tony Griffith (ECWW), Rick Siemer (sponsor of the 2016 Richard C. Siemer Outstanding Philanthropy Award) and Mark Bolander (ECWW).
The Jasper County Community Foundation advisory board is pleased to announce that it has chosen Eagle Country Water Works as the recipient of the 2016 Richard C. Siemer Outstanding Philanthropy Award. The Community Foundation presents the award in recognition of the outstanding philanthropic achievements of individuals, families or organizations in Jasper County. Tony Griffith and Lanette Huddleston accepted the award on behalf of the Eagle Country Water Works board during the 2016 Jasper County Community Foundation Hometown Event on Thursday, November 3 at the Lifetree Café in Newton.
Eagle Country Water Works was established in 2004 when Tony Griffith formed the idea that the profit from water bottle sales could be re-invested in youth programs in Jasper County. Mark Bolander was motivated by Griffith’s vision and the two partnered together. The Eagle Country board is currently led by Tony Griffith, Mark Bolander and Lanette Huddleston.
The board’s initial plan was to establish a youth center and water bottling plant after Estelle Kennedy gave them property located on Jourdan Street. Due to complications, they sold the property. The current business model to sell bottled water with customizable labels was developed and they began making grants to the community. Since 2004 they have granted more than $250,000 towards programs supporting youth in Jasper County through cash calendar and bottled water sales and residual funds from the property sale.
Numerous examples of their philanthropic work can be found throughout our community from the Jasper County Boys and Girls Ballpark to school programs and most recently at The Landing, a newly established youth center in Newton.
Eagle County Water Works was also instrumental in the establishment of Jasper County Community Foundation, donating the seed money to establish the unrestricted community endowment. Since then, Eagle Country Water Works has established its own endowment and has provided the start-up funds for Jasper County CEO and continues to be an investor in the program. In 2015, the board established the Eagle Country Water Works Jasper County CEO Scholarship. In total, they have donated more than $100,000 to Jasper County Community Foundation funds. Through their partnership with the Community Foundation, their endowment funds will continue to support our local youth, forever.
The Jasper County Hometown Event is an opportunity to celebrate local leaders and philanthropy. During the evening’s program, the audience learned of the work being done by Jasper County Community Foundation through its funds and its giving circle, 100 Women Who Care Jasper County as well as the partnership between the Community Foundation, professional advisors and donors.