(L to R) Diane Siemer, Richard Siemer (honoree), Jim Schultz (Board Chair of the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation) Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation staff members Joedy Hightower, Jon Fulton, Valerie Belusko
Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation President and CEO Joedy Hightower earlier today announced Richard C. Siemer as the 2011 recipient of the first annual Outstanding Philanthropist Award in celebration of National Community Foundations Week. Siemer was presented the award at a luncheon reception held today, Monday, November 14, 2011, at the Effingham Country Club. More than 40 local business leaders and philanthropists were present for the announcement and award presentation.
“Rick is an amazing philanthropist who not only gives significant funds, but just as importantly, gets involved with the causes he values, contributing his time, talent and experience,” says Hightower. “His philanthropy has touched countless lives across the Effingham County and he has been an inspiration to many of those who have served beside him. All of us at Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation are honored and humbled to be able to recognize him for his extraordinary generosity and leadership,” she adds.
“The examples set by my parents and their lifelong tradition of philanthropy taught me an unforgettable lesson about the importance of giving – whether of one’s time or financial support. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to help others,” says Siemer.
Siemer was selected for this award based on his long history of philanthropy. His philanthropic credentials include: Founding board member of the Effingham County Community Foundation in 1999; establishing the Siemer Miller Company Endowment Fund in 2006 to provide grants to youth leadership programs; board member of the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation from 2008 – present; establishing the Diane Siemer Scholarship Fund in 2011 to provide educational scholarships to General Equivalency Diploma (GED) graduates in Effingham County; contributing founder of Teutopolis Community for Progress; past president of the Effingham County United Way Board; Supporter and past president of Lincoln Trail Boy Scouts Council; steering committee member of Effingham County Vision 2020 and member of many other organizations that benefit the residents of this regional area.
Each year this award will honor an individual with a proven record of exceptional generosity who, through direct financial support, demonstrates outstanding civic and charitable responsibility and whose generosity encourages others to take on philanthropic leadership roles. All future awards will be named the Richard C. Siemer Outstanding Philanthropist Award in honor of Siemer.
Nominees for the upcoming 2012 award will be evaluated based on four key criteria: Financial contribution supporting an organization in Southeastern Illinois; specific achievements, such as new programs launched; encouragement and motivation to others to take leadership roles toward philanthropy and community involvement, and participation in and in support of other non-profit organizations in the region.
More than 700 community foundations across the United States celebrate National Community Foundations Week. For more than 20 years, this effort has raised awareness about the increasingly important role of philanthropic organizations in fostering collaboration and innovation to address persistent civic and economic challenges.