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January 29, 2013

Regional Community Foundation Recognizes Retiring Members of Effingham board

The Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation (SICF) recently recognized the efforts of outgoing board members of the Effingham County Community Foundation. In December 2012, Jim Schultz and Blake Linders completed their service on the local advisory board.

In 1999, Jim Schultz was one of seven local businessmen that developed and pursued the vision of establishing a community foundation in Effingham County. In those early years, Jim was instrumental in raising the early capital necessary to establish the foundation along with providing many in-kind contributions, including free office space and clerical support for the young organization.

In 2004, the Effingham County Community Foundation and the Mattoon Area Community Foundation worked together to take advantage of a visionary initiative of the Grand Victoria Foundation, of Elgin, Illinois. Their cooperative effort enabled them to secure funds for important community initiatives through matching grants, and also bolster their impact and flexibility in serving their local communities through operating grants and technical assistance provided by Grand Victoria. Jim Schultz was a leader in creating the partnership that qualified the two foundations for the Grand Victoria program.

This relationship set the stage for the 2009 merger of the two local foundations, creating the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation. Mr. Schultz led the effort to navigate a complicated merger between the two organizations and was appointed Vice Chair to the inaugural board of directors of SICF, which serves 11 counties in Southeast Illinois. He will complete his term of service in 2013. According to Joedy Hightower, President and CEO of SICF, “Jim is truly a visionary leader who perceives challenges and growth opportunities before they happen. Because of his commitment and dedication, this organization is making extraordinary contributions to the quality of life in the region.”

Blake Linders joined the Effingham County Community Foundation board in 2008. During his five-year term, he also served on the Joint Investment Committee for the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation. During his tenure, the Committee established key financial and investment policies and set investment return priorities for the organization. Mr. Linders will continue to serve on the Joint Investment Committee of the SICF.

“We are so grateful for the leadership and generous support provided by these two individuals. During their terms of service, the Effingham County Community Foundation has grown to over $11 million in charitable assets,” said Hightower.

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