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We have a policy of openness and accountability, and want our grantees and stakeholders to have access to key information about The Lumpkin Family Foundation and our Members, as well as helpful resources from our past grants, reports and programs.

Operating Imperatives

Message from the 4th Generation of the Lumpkin family

Our Members

Our History and Transitioning To The Future

Archives: Grants, Reports, Programs

Operating Imperatives

Who we are: We are a family-governed organization whose programs reflect the collective aspirations, and diverse perspectives and interests of its members.  We provide a forum for learning and a platform for individual and collaborative family engagement in philanthropy and community service.

Where we work: We work in East Central Illinois and in family member communities.

We share a commitment to honor our heritage in East Central Illinois, where the Lumpkin family operated a business for more than 100 years.  Fifty percent or more of our grant-making dollars are allocated to East Central Illinois and all of our community programs take place in this region with deep community involvement.

A significant part of our grant-making takes place in family member communities across the country, encouraging family member engagement, and connecting our work in East Central Illinois to a rich diversity of ideas, experiences and perspectives.

How we work: We understand The Foundation's role as existing along a continuum - from responsive grant-making to the execution of our own programs that aim to spur innovation, foster leadership and encourage new approaches to old problems.

We appreciate the special needs of the mostly small and rural communities where we work, and we do our best to leverage additional resources and enhance local philanthropy.

We strive to be a learning organization. We believe in action, evaluation and continuous improvement. We support collaboration and build networks to support learning, develop understanding of issues, and encourage work across organizations and sectors.

Message from the 4th Generation of the Lumpkin family

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Our Members

The Lumpkin Family Foundation is truly a family affair. The Foundation provides a forum for family members to affirm their core values, honor a common legacy of community service and contribute their talents to accomplish shared goals. Three generations of founder Besse A. Lumpkin's family, plus their spouses, make grant decisions and manage the activities of the organization.  The Foundation fosters an understanding and respect for the family’s legacy in Central Illinois and encourages individual member philanthropy and community involvement wherever members reside.

Family members currently fill six of nine seats on the Board of Trustees and serve on all grant-making and management committees. The Committee on Trusteeship was created to support the growth and participation of members in relation to The Foundation’s need for leadership. At age 10, children begin their involvement with the Next (Sixth) Generation Committee. The Committee makes small grants to organizations whose mission and work the children think are compelling. Children become Foundation members at age 16.

While family participation is essential to our identity, our members value the involvement of others whose expertise and knowledge support the achievement of The Foundation's goals. Independent (non-family) members currently participate on our grant-making committees where most grant decisions are made. We also involve community leaders in ad hoc advisory committees and regularly consult community members when we are developing new programs or evaluating existing ones.

Our History and Transitioning To The Future

Besse A. Lumpkin, widow of Dr. William C. Lumpkin, created The Lumpkin Family Foundation with a gift of $100,000 from her estate in 1953. William and his father, Iverson A. Lumpkin, dentists in Mattoon at the turn of the century, started the Mattoon Telephone Company in 1894 with 175 original customers. During the ensuing century, the company became Illinois Consolidated Telephone Company and grew to become one of the most significant privately held telephone companies in the country before going public in 2005.

Over the past decades, The Lumpkin Family Foundation has received donations from subsequent generations of the Lumpkin family. Today, members of the Lumpkin family's fourth, fifth and even sixth generations contribute both time and resources to The Foundation.

In 1994, The Foundation hired its first executive director and developed policies and procedures to ensure effective governance, excellent management and meaningful grant making.

It was also during this time that The Lumpkin Family Foundation first articulated its mission: to support education, preserve and protect the environment and foster opportunities for leadership, with special consideration to our heritage in Central Illinois. A commitment was made to continue funding in Central Illinois, but also to provide grants to communities where Lumpkin family members lived or were personally involved.

Although The Foundation is a family organization, dependent for its operation on significant volunteer assistance from the descendants of Besse Lumpkin, the family has made a commitment to professionalism comparable to the very best of nonprofit organizations. Active Foundation members receive training and development through The Council on Foundations and programs of The Foundation's own design.

The Foundation now has a professional staff of three fulltime employees and other project-based consultants. As a more mature organization, The Foundation has started giving back to the philanthropic community through service by members and staff on local, regional and national planning committees and through presentations at philanthropic conferences.

The Foundation adopted a new, three-year strategic plan at the end of January 2010. Read the entire plan.

Archives: Past Grants, Reports, Programs

To view the archives of our past grants, reports, programs click here.

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121 S. 17th Street  |  Mattoon, IL 61938  |  P: (217) 235-3361  |  F: (217) 258-8444
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