Oakley giving $2 million to Community Foundation as it celebrates 25th anniversary

Ralph Oakley

QUINCY — The Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri received a $2 million gift from its founding board chair, Ralph Oakley, to establish the Ralph Oakley Family Fund. The announcement was made Tuesday night by Oakley at the Community Foundation’s annual board reception at the Quincy Art Center. 

The announcement takes place 25 years after Oakley played a key role in organizing the Community Foundation. He served as the Community Foundation’s board chair beginning with its incorporation in November of 1997 through December of 2000. 

In a press release, Oakley said, “A generation later, the establishment of our family fund is like coming full circle for me. We started the Community Foundation 25 years ago so that anyone and everyone could realize their philanthropic wishes and for my family and me that is exactly what this fund does. But while the Foundation is nearing its 25th anniversary and has done great work in distributing almost $15 million in grants, it is still brand new with its best work still to come well after we are gone. It will last forever. That was our vision then, and it continues today.” 

The Ralph Oakley Family Fund is a donor-advised charitable fund, which allows donors the flexibility to recommend grants from the fund to support the causes they care about as needs and opportunities arise. Oakley and his daughters, Allison Hall and Sullivan Oakley, will serve as co-advisors to the fund, providing a vehicle through which to engage in collaborative family philanthropy. 

“We are grateful for Ralph’s generosity and vision for prosperous communities, beginning with his steadfast leadership in establishing the Community Foundation and now punctuated by the establishment of the Ralph Oakley Family Fund,” said Catherine Bocke Meckes, Community Foundation CEO. “This is a gift not only to the Community Foundation but also to our nonprofit community and our entire region. We are thrilled to assist the Oakley family with their philanthropic goals and look forward to witnessing first-hand the continuous impact of this gift.” 

Oakley was a member of the Founder’s Circle that was instrumental in the Community Foundation’s formation. The Founder’s Circle consisted of the former Oakley-Lindsay Foundation of Quincy Media, Inc., the late Thomas A. and Anne M. Oakley, Mercantile Bank, Marion Gardner Jackson Charitable Trust, Great River Economic Development Foundation and the late William Myers of the Elkhart (Ind.) Community Foundation. 

The Founder’s Circle created the Community Foundation on Nov. 26, 1997. By Dec. 31, which marked the end of the first fiscal year, the Community Foundation held $1,050.

“Since 1997, the Community Foundation has grown from a fledgling organization to a philanthropic partner that has distributed more than $13 million in grants to strengthen our nonprofits and better our communities,” Meckes said. “This gift will continue to grow Ralph’s original vision for our organization and our region.” 

The Community Foundation will commemorate its 25th anniversary at 5 p.m. Nov. 17 at its annual Friends of Philanthropy celebration at the Quincy Art Center, 1515 Jersey. More information about the Community Foundation’s 25thanniversary and its milestones throughout the years can be found at www.mycommunityfoundation.org/25-years-of-impact.  

The Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri builds permanent charitable funds to assist area nonprofits and communities. It serves 12 counties: Adams, Brown, Hancock and Pike in Illinois, and Clark, Lewis, Marion, Ralls, Pike, Knox, Shelby and Monroe in Missouri. For more information, call 217-222-1237, email ceo@mycommunityfoundation.org or go to mycommunityfoundation.org or www.facebook.com/mycommunityfoundation.

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