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October 21, 2014

Lumpkin Family Foundation Named Philanthropist of the Year

This annual award recognizes individuals who have shown remarkable commitment to their community by offering philanthropic support and demonstrating exceptional leadership. Namesake of the award, Rick Siemer, President of Siemer Milling Company and a director of Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation sponsored this year’s award. Dr. Ned Hoppin, a director of the Mattoon Area Community Foundation board, presented the award to members of The Lumpkin Family Foundation in attendance at the event.

The Lumpkin Family Foundation, its staff, and the family behind the Foundation have been visionaries behind many of East Central Illinois’ proudest accomplishments. From the founding of the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, to the development of the Eastern Illinois University College of Business, to the growth and development of many smaller organizations besides, the Lumpkin Family Foundation has demonstrated over their 61 year history outstanding philanthropic leadership.

In 1953, Besse A. Lumpkin created the Foundation with a simple bequest of $100,000. Besse’s husband William together with his father Iverson A. Lumpkin were both dentists in Mattoon in the latter part of the nineteenth century when they founded the Mattoon Telephone Company in 1894. Over the ensuing century, the company grew, becoming Illinois Consolidated Telephone Company, and then Consolidated Communications, eventually going public – and now with subsidiaries in rural communities across the country. Over the decades, The Lumpkin Family Foundation received donations from subsequent generations of the Lumpkin family. Today, the 44 members of the Lumpkin family’s fourth, fifth and even their sixth generation contribute time and resources to The Foundation from where they live across the country.

According to Hoppin, “There are many reasons to single out the Lumpkin Family Foundation for recognition. The magnitude of their philanthropy and their commitment to our region – despite now living mostly outside the area – absolutely comes to mind. For me, the most important reason to acknowledge them is the model they are to the rest of us. Even accounting for size, there are lessons all of us can take away and apply to our own philanthropy.”

Over the past ten years, The Lumpkin Family Foundation has made grants in excess of $10 million to 270 organizations in East Central Illinois alone. According to Joedy Hightower, President/CEO of the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation, “Not only does The Lumpkin Family Foundation provide an example to each of us in the organized way they approach the community, they provide a model for the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation. The Lumpkin’s model shows us how our own Foundation can facilitate conversations and provide the support to local families that the Lumpkin Foundation’s professional staff provide to the Lumpkin family.” The nomination of the Lumpkin Family Foundation was submitted by the Mattoon Area Community Foundation’s Board of Directors.

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