More than $32,000 in grants awarded to youth organizations

More than $32,000 in grants awarded to youth organizations

Cornerstone Foundations for Families’ Kate Blair explains what two grants will be used for during a presentation where 21 area non-profit organizations were given grants from the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund with the Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois & Northeast Missouri at the Quincy Public Library on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020.

QUINCY — More area nonprofit organizations that benefit artistic, leadership and humanitarian efforts received grants today in the memory of the late Samantha Otte.

The 22 grants, which benefit young people across the region and totaled more than $32,000, were distributed from the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund through the Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri.

The ceremony took place at the Quincy Public Library in the presence of Otte’s family and friends.

The fund honors Otte, who would have been 30 years old today. She died in March 2000 following a liver transplant necessitated by cystic fibrosis.

“We are deeply grateful Samantha’s life has continued to make a positive difference for thousands of local children,” said June Otte, Samantha’s mother. “Because of the incredible, sustained support of the Samatha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund, Samantha’s legacy has brightened the future of our most disadvantaged youth.

“We are humbled and comforted to know her zest for life now lives on for so many children benefiting from the good programs in the Quincy area. We are forever indebted to all who have made these blessings possible.”

Catherine Bocke Meckes, chief executive officer of the Community Foundation, said the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund honors Samantha’s life and spirit by helping others. Since the fund was established in late 2000, more than $400,000 has been distributed through grants in Samantha’s memory.

The Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund was supported until 2014 by proceeds from the Sammy Fund Weekend. In 2015, the Quincy Breakfast Kiwanis Club announced it would continue a Sammy & Kids Golf Outing and donate a portion of the proceeds to the Fund for continued growth.

One of the benefactors of this year’s grants is the Quincy Public Library.

“We are so grateful for the Community Foundation and the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund for supporting the NEA Big Read: Quincy during the month of February,” said Kathleen Helsabeck, Quincy Public Library executive director. “This grant money will help us provide over 3,000 books to the community, a majority of which are for children.

“Grant monies will (also) support early childhood literacy, which is key for long-term academic success and emotional well-being for kids in our community.”

The Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri has awarded more than $8 million in grants since 1997. The foundation serves 12 counties: Adams, Brown, Hancock and Pike in Illinois and Clark, Lewis, Marion, Ralls, Pike, Knox, Shelby and Monroe in Missouri.


  • Adams County Farm Bureau Foundation: Ag in the Classroom initiative, increasing children’s awareness of the ways agriculture affects their lives.
  • Bella Ease: Teen Reach College Bound program, providing financial assistance for first-generation college students.
  • Cheerful Home Child Care and Early Learning Center: “Kiddie Kushion” mulch for playground.
  • Cornerstone: Foundations for Families: Comprehensive Youth Services program
  • Cornerstone: Foundations for Families: Activities for youth counseling clients.
  • Girl Scouts of Central Illinois: Girl Scout school outreach program and camperships for girls in need of financial assistance
  • Griggsville-Perry Community School District No. 4 Foundation: Playground swings at middle school.
  • Jackson-Lincoln Swimming Complex Inc.: Seasonal passes to allow low-income youth access to the pool and family free activities.
  • John Wood Community College Foundation: JDUB Academy tuition assistance.
  • John Wood Community College Foundation: Financial assistance for participants in the College for Life Program.
  • Junior Achievement: Financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness education for K-12 students.
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association: MDA Camp scholarship for low-income Quincy and West Central Illinois children.
  • My Brotha’s and My Sista’s Keepers: Crisis assistance for area children through the Keeper’s Project.
  • Quincy Community Theatre: Two monthly scholarships for low-income children to attend ACT classes.
  • Quincy Public Library: Support for 2020 “Big Read” initiative, providing books for local children.
  • Quincy Public Schools District No. 172: Water therapy at the YMCA.
  • Quincy Society of Fine Arts/Arts Quincy: Instant Arts classroom and Community Arts Access program support.
  • Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association: Tuition scholarship for low-income participants in Youth Choir and Youth Orchestra and for the purchase of printed music.
  • The Art Center: smART Kids Program.
  • Transitions of Western Illinois Foundation: Mobile listening center for students at Transitions School.
  • United Way of Adams County, Inc.: Good News of Christmas campaign.
  • YMCA of West Central Illinois-Quincy Family YMCA: Swim lessons and water safety education for up to 72 financially challenged Quincy area childrenSave
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