Fifteen area not-for-profit groups received more than $21,000 in grants Wednesday from the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund to help with youth programs involving arts, leadership and humanitarian efforts.
The Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri held the announcement ceremony at the Quincy Art Center where recipients met with the friends and family of Samantha Otte, who died in March 2000 at the age of 10 after a liver transplant necessitated by cystic fibrosis. Later that year the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund was established and has awarded more than $308,000.
Samantha’s mother, June Otte, said the fund provides a “wonderful legacy” to her daughter, who had a great love of life.
“We’re just so grateful for all the community support that we have been so blessed by. Samantha was a child who was so full of life and it’s wonderful to see her memory help other children to experience the things that every child needs to become a well-rounded adult,” June Otte said.
The 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 and Kids Golf Outing and donate a portion of the proceeds to the fund for continued growth.
“Support from the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund helps provide art experiences to schools that do not have visual art education on a regular basis. With the grant awarded today, students will receive art lessons in the classroom and a tour and hands-on experience at the Quincy Art Center,” said Jennifer Teter, executive director of the Quincy Art Center.
Jill Arnold Blickhan, executive director of the Community Foundation said it is “heartwarming and rewarding to see how Sam’s legacy has moved from Quincy to encompass our region … and kept this beautiful little girl in so many people’s hearts.”
Grants were awarded to the following organizations:
Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Central Illinois
Quincy Teen Reach
Cornerstone Foundations for Families
Girl Scouts of Central Illinois
Jackson Lincoln Swimming Complex
John Wood Community College Foundation
Kids in Motion of Hannibal
Midsummer Arts Faire
Quincy Art Center
Quincy Public Schools
Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association
Transitions of Western Illinois
Bluff City Theater of Hannibal
YWCA of Quincy