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Individuals who give to the Lake Land College Foundation do so because they believe in creating opportunities for our students. Even though they do not expect any recognition for their gifts, at Lake Land College we welcome opportunities to express our gratitude to them.

Earlier this year, we had the unique opportunity to recognize five friends of the college who have had a significant impact on our students, our college and our communities. The Foundation shared the good works of our Lake Land College friends by nominating them for annual awards presented by the East Central Illinois Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFPECI). The organization covers the communities of Champaign-Urbana, Danville, Mattoon, Charleston, Effingham and Decatur.

AFPECI gathered for its annual National Philanthropy Day celebration in mid-November and recognized the five Lake Land College award finalists. They were: The Fuqua Foundation, nominated for Outstanding Foundation or Organization; the Cromwell Radio Group, nominated for Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation; Wayne and the late Clara Borgic, nominated for Outstanding Philanthropist; Steve & Debbie Benefiel, nominated for Outstanding Volunteer Fundraising; and Jackie Joines, nominated for Outstanding Fundraising Executive.

It was quite an honor to attend the lunch with our Lake Land College nominees, family, friends and Lake Land staff. We were quite proud of our nominees and even more delighted when the organization presented well-deserved awards to the Borgics, Benefiels and Joines.

The Outstanding Philanthropist award went to Wayne and the late Clara Borgic. The Borgics made a life estate gift of 355 acres of farm ground northeast of Pana to the Lake Land College Foundation in agreement for retaining the land for educational purposes. Income from the farm supports two scholarships and other needs. This is the first gift of its kind to the Foundation and is in a category of its own in value. The Borgics’ vision for their estate will positively impact students’ lives well into our next 50 years.

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Steve & Debbie Benefiel of Paris received the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraising award from AFPECI. They own Pearman Pharmacy in Paris and are involved in numerous community and area organizations that truly make a difference in so many lives. Mrs. Benefiel has devoted 24 years of service to the Lake Land College Foundation Board of Directors and together, they support the Foundation with two annual scholarships. The couple is well known in their community for assisting students in need who are pursuing an education. It is inspiring to see how two people can have such a significant impact on their community.

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Jackie Joines, executive director for college advancement, received the Outstanding Fundraising Executive award from the AFPECI. Joines is a tireless advocate for Lake Land College. She enthusiastically works with donors to discover unique means for them to give to the college. She is very active in the AFPECI organization, the entire Lake Land College district and her community.

The late Karen Fuqua’s generosity and kindness lives on in perpetuity through the Fuqua Foundation, a finalist for the AFPECI Outstanding Foundation or Organization award. Fuqua left a substantial amount of her estate to fund scholarships through the Lake Land College Foundation, providing at least four annual nursing scholarships each year. Fuqua served as a Lake Land College Board of Trustee member and was passionate about helping those in need as an attorney, board member and Lake Land College Foundation donor.

The Cromwell Radio Group, nominated for Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation, believes in serving the community through numerous organizations and events. Cromwell Radio was the driving force in a community partnership of more than 170 agencies in a seven-county area that created One Stop Community Christmas. This annual effort helps more than 1,000 families with 2,500 children. Cromwell Radio is also a major supporter of the Foundation and college. Laker Alumni Bub McCullough & Renee Fonner, drive time on-air personalities, have given thousands of hours helping those in our communities.

The accomplishments of our nominees are humbling. I am honored that they choose to serve Lake Land College and our students. In this season of gratitude, I thank all of our donors whose generosity allows so many students to start their stories of success at Lake Land College.

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