(L-R) Joedy Hightower, President/CEO of Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation, Carol Fuller and Mike Fuller, recipients of the 2016 Outstanding Philanthropy Award. Mike and Carol are fund advisors for the Michael Alan Fuller II Memorial Scholarship.
The Mattoon Area Community Foundation advisory board is pleased to announce that it has named Mike and Carol Fuller as the 2016 Outstanding Philanthropists. The Community Foundation presents the award in recognition of the outstanding philanthropic achievements of individuals, families or organizations in Coles County.
Mike and Carol Fuller lost their son, Alan, in a single-vehicle accident in December 2004 while he was driving home to surprise his family for Christmas. Mike and Carol chose to carry on Alan’s legacy of generosity and kindness, by establishing the Michael Alan Fuller II Memorial Scholarship to provide financial assistance to graduating Mattoon High School students pursuing higher education.
Immediately following Alan’s death, Caryl Cochran, CEO of National Distributor of Albuquerque, New Mexico pledged $20,000 to award a $1,000 scholarship each year for 20 years to an Albuquerque graduate. Alan lived and in Albuquerque for seven years while working for National Distributor. A second scholarship fund was established in Albuquerque with gifts from family and friends of the Fuller family to provide scholarships to Mattoon High School graduates.
Wanting to do more in Alan’s memory, the Fuller Family established the Big Al Golf Classic in 2005 to raise funds for the Michael Alan Fuller II Memorial Scholarship. In 2006, Mike and Carol established the scholarship fund with Mattoon Area Community Foundation for investment management of the assets and handling the scholarship process.
After 11 years of hosting the Big Al Golf Classic, Mike and Carol decided to end the golf classic. However, because of their hard work building a permanent endowment, the Michael Alan Fuller II Scholarship will continue to fund scholarships annually without the need for annual fundraising.
“This scholarship keeps Alan with us,” explained Carol. “When our committee meets, we share memories and laugh…We take great comfort in knowing that Alan would be happy that this scholarship is supporting his classmates’ children in their pursuit of higher education.” As of 2016, A total of 126 scholarships, totaling $122,000, have been awarded to students in Mattoon and Albuquerque in Alan’s memory.
Mike and Carol Fuller have been married 49 years and are long-time residents of Mattoon. Mike worked at Consolidated Communications for 39 years. After retiring He took part-time position with Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center. Carol works for Hastings & Havlik Dental. Their daughter, Rachelle, is an engineer manager for GE and resides in Denver Colorado with her wife, Heather Moore, and their son, Felix. Mike and Carol were presented the Outstanding Philanthropy Award during the 2016 Hometown Event on Wednesday, October 19 at the Sarah Bush Lincoln Education Center in Mattoon.
The Mattoon Area Hometown Event is an opportunity to celebrate local leaders and philanthropy. This year’s program focused on the impact that local philanthropy is having on education in Coles County. Joedy Hightower, President/CEO of Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation described the process that the Mattoon Foundation for Academic Excellence went through in order to establish a fund at the Community Foundation, rather than applying for its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Hightower also announced that a legacy gift was made to the Arland D. Williams, Jr. Scholarship by Nicholas Fiorillo, who passed away in July 2016. The audience heard from David Janssen, a member of the Mattoon High School Alumni Scholarship fundraising committee, as he explained his reasons for partnering with the Community Foundation and his goals for the scholarship fund.
Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation manages more than $16 million in assets and has reinvested more than $20 million in southeastern Illinois communities since 2004. Mattoon Area Community Foundation, an affiliate of Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation, manages 23 different funds totaling more than $2.4 million and has reinvested more than $1.3 million in grants and scholarship in Coles County