The Mattoon Chamber of Commerce has the honor of administering the Mattoon Community Trust which was created upon the passing of Carrie Young in 1980. She was so enamored with Mattoon she willed a significant portion of her estate to the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce to be used for "The betterment of the community of the City of Mattoon, Illinois and for the benefit of its residents". Attorney Steve Ryan, who assisted Carrie Young in composing her will mentioned she had a special place in her heart for parks and recreation. However, she also wanted to give the chamber the ability to the chose other worthy causes at their discretion. Since 1984 the Chamber has had the pleasure of distributing nearly $700,000 to over 60 different local agencies. The First National Bank Trust Department has done a great job managing the Trust for the Chamber and based on their investment strategies, we have already given away nearly four times the original amount of the trust.

This past year we had 11 worthy non for profit organizations apply for funding. The seven member trust committee decided to distribute $20,000 from the fund this year to 8 out of the 11 organizations that completed the application process.

The organizations receiving grants this year include Camp New Hope which will help them complete a playground area for their clients. Coles County Council on Aging/Lifespan Center is receiving a grant to help them create a green space which will include a walking trail, vegetable garden and gazebo. A dog park project headed by a volunteer committee is working on creating an eight acre dog park for all residents to enjoy. Fit-to-Serve is working on an observation deck looking out toward their sustainable garden that is used by school children groups to teach healthy eating. Mattoon Kiwanis and the Mattoon YMCA are looking to create a pavilion near the new bike trail. The Mattoon Public Library will be using the funding to improve their computer systems used by all Mattoon residents, especially those who do not have access to personal computers and internet. The Rotary Club of Mattoon is also looking to build a pavilion at Lake Mattoon to replace the one that was removed.

If you know of other organizations you think might benefit from the Community Trust for next year, please get in touch with us here at the Chamber. We take enormous pride in helping worthy organizations and want to help as many as we can. The basic requirements are that they hold a 501(c) non for profit designation and they must complete the application, available at the Chamber, by Aug. 31, 2018.

Ed Dowd is the executive director of the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce.

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