Our Roots

In 1924, three of the banks in Springfield created the Sangamon County Foundation to provide financial resources to local charitable causes. Those banks were the First State Trust and Savings Bank (now US Bank), the Ridgley-Farmers State Bank (which no longer exists) and the Marine Bank of Springfield (now J.P. Morgan). The founders of the foundation included some of our community’s most prominent citizens:

Jacob Bunn R.C. Lanphier
George W. Bunn William E. Lehne
Joseph F. Bunn John G. Oglesby
Thomas Condell George Pasfield, Jr.
Alonzo Hoff George F. Reisch
J.H. Holbrook  


The original Foundation had been a leading supporter of organizations throughout Central Illinois for nearly 80 years. However, as the charitable landscape grew and diversified it became apparent that the organization had to evolve in order to better serve the common good.

Our Reach

The Sangamon County Foundation's board of directors had the vision to rethink its purpose and find a better way to serve the residents of Sangamon County. In December 2002, after substantial research and planning, the board voted to become a community foundation and reorganize as the Sangamon County Community Foundation. In April 2003, the Community Foundation hired John Stremsterfer as its first Executive Director and opened an office on the Old State Capitol square in Springfield.

Our Growth

Since 2003, the Community Foundation has grown from one fund with approximately $800,000 in total assets to over 335 funds with approximately $78 million in total assets. The Foundation has awarded about $31.7 million in grants in its history.

Our Present

In January 2011, the board of directors voted to change its name to the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln. With this new name, the Community Foundation hopes to be seen as an inviting option for philanthropists and charitable organizations in neighboring communities to Sangamon County that are not currently reaping the benefits a community foundation can provide. Our offices are currently located in the US Bank Building at 205 South Fifth Street in Springfield.

First State Trust and Savings Bank

Marine Bank

Ridgley-Farmers State Bank

Stephens Philanthropy Award

2022 Recipient

Larry Johnson received the Stephens Philanthropy Award at the Foundation’s 20th anniversary celebration on September 10, 2022.

2017 Recipients

Judy and Harvey Stephens were instrumental in turning the Community Foundation into what it is today. For their years of service, the Stephens received the inaugural Stephens Philanthropy Award at the Foundation's 15th anniversary celebration on August 26, 2017.

Why the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln?

The Community Foundation offers many advantages to donors, professional advisors, nonprofit organizations and the community at large. We constantly strive to ensure that the giving process is as streamlined and safe as possible so our donors can focus on the most important aspect of philanthropy - helping others. Some of the rewards of choosing to work with us include:


As living memorials, funds held by the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln can carry out the desired charitable interests in perpetuity. If a fund's purpose becomes outdated over time, the Community Foundation can redirect it to similar purposes.

Tax Advantages.

Because we're a public charity and not a private foundation, all donations qualify for the maximum available deduction for charitable contributions. Our funds also avoid the excise taxes and other restrictions placed on private foundations.

Charitable Impact.

The Foundation understands the needs and roles of nonprofit organizations in our service area, so we can help our funds target grants and scholarships where they do the most good. By pooling contributions for administration and investment purposes, we incur lower management costs than a separate private foundation. This means more money goes to the desired causes than in other arrangements where overhead costs are higher.


Each donor can name a fund or remain anonymous, permanently endow their gifts or not, choose general charitable purposes or very specific ones, make modest gifts or large ones, and donate assets ranging from cash to real estate to artwork.


Most funds can be created in one brief meeting. Afterward, the donor retains the satisfaction of giving while we take care of management and paperwork.


The Community Foundation can be a place where concerned citizens can discuss and address, through grantmaking and simple dialogue, the important issues that impact our community. Community organizations can look to the neutrality of the Community Foundation to bring people together for the common good.