News Detail

Hospital Foundation to Award Up to $750K in Community Grants


A grant program that will distribute up to $750,000 to primarily fund community health projects in Macon County has been launched by the Decatur Memorial Foundation.

The nonprofit foundation also will award $17,500 in newly created scholarships to students pursuing careers in health care or agriculture. The deadline to apply for the scholarships is June 1.

“With the introduction of our Community Grant program, the Decatur Memorial Foundation is demonstrating its commitment to our hospital’s mission and our board’s vision to expand our good work beyond the hospital walls,” said Julie Bilbrey, the foundation’s executive director.

The Decatur Memorial Foundation Community Grant program will accept applications on a rolling basis and will be reviewed quarterly by the board of directors. A completed application and a detailed budget must be submitted for review.

The foundation will award grants to local 501(c)(3) nonprofits and educational organizations to support projects and programs that align with the foundation’s chosen focus areas.

This year, those areas are access to health care, bridging economic disparities, mental health and substance use, health care education and agriculture.

“We included agriculture programs in our area of focus because not only is farming part of our history and culture in the Midwest, but also the foundation owns and operates over 300 acres of working farmland,” said Bilbrey. “Our farmland has been gifted by generous donors and provides unrestricted income to the foundation year after year. Because of this, we feel it’s important to support local agriculture programs through our grant funding.”

The foundation is also announcing three newly created scholarships to be awarded to local students pursing degrees in nursing and agriculture science fields. “We are committed to growing the next generation of health care and agriculture professionals,” Bilbrey said, “which is why the foundation board of directors stands behind these scholarship opportunities.”

The Decatur Memorial Foundation Agriculture Scholarship will award two $5,000 scholarships to Macon County high school graduates pursuing an agricultural sciences degree. Applicants must be a high school senior or undergraduate.

The foundation also will offer the Dr. Thomas W. Samuels Nursing Scholarship, which awards one $2,500 scholarship to a student pursuing a nursing degree at Richland Community College in Decatur. Applicants must be a high school senior or already enrolled in the college’s nursing program.

The third scholarship is the Dr. Richard H. Fritz Nursing Scholarship. It will provide one $5,000 scholarship to any Macon County high school graduate who has selected a career in nursing at a two- or four-year college. Applicants must be a high school senior or an undergraduate.

“We are thrilled to serve as a true community partner and support initiatives that we believe address the full spectrum of our community’s health,” said Bilbrey. “These grants and scholarships are made possible by our generous donors and our farmland income. It’s a great feeling to see those gifts to the foundation being invested in work that improves lives and builds stronger communities, right here at home.”

For more information about the foundation’s Community Grant program or scholarship opportunities, call Bilbrey at 217-876-2146 or email her at Detailed guidelines and application forms are available online at

under the "Grant & Scholarship Opportunities" tab. Applications can be submitted online.