Balloons, tree parties give back

March 10—Balloons Over Vermilion is about kids, and the event gives back to 16 organizations and agencies committed to the health and success of Vermilion County youth and their families.

Balloons Over Vermilion officials announced the winners of the 2021 Balloons Over Vermilion/Festival of Trees Impact Award 2021 at the Fischer Theater on Tuesday morning.

The recipients: $2,500 to Rossville-Alvin Elementary School, where fifth graders last served as student ambassadors; $10,000 to the Danville Area Soccer Association; $2,500 each to Fair Hope Children’s Ministry, Winterview Youth League and Vermilion County Child Advocacy Center; $5,000 each to Danville Area Community College Athletic Department, Trinity Lutheran School, Food For The Children Backpacking Program, and the Danville Chapter of AMBUCS; $3,000 each to the Vermilion County Museum and Danville Symphony Orchestra; $7,500 each to Gateway Services of Illinois and The Dwelling Place; $10,000 to Mustard Seed Christian Daycare; $14,000 to the Vermilion Heritage Foundation/Fischer Theater; and $65,000 to the Bobette Steely Hegeler Cancer Care Center.

Representatives from each spoke about how the money will help with various projects, such as the new daycare roof that’s completed and nearly paid for on the former Rossville-Alvin Elementary School; children’s food and clothing; mental health needs; Amtrykes; new football goals; softball field fencing; state-of-the-art video streaming and production equipment for the Fischer Theater to reach more people; and transitional housing on Payne Avenue in Danville near The Dwelling Place.

Donna Edington, president of The Dwelling Place, said they had received three homes next to their day center at First Presbyterian Church and are currently renovating the first at 119 Payne Ave., calling it Immanuel’s House. If there are funds left, it will help with the second home.

“That’s what this check is going to do is help renovate this house, get it ready for families, so the kids have a more stable place. It’s going to be short-term emergency housing,” a- she declared.

“This will be the first housing available for intact families, who are homeless,” Edington said.

The scholarships total over $150,000. Additionally, previous grants were awarded of approximately $10,000-15,000 in free admission to the BOV on the Saturday of last year’s event when admission fees were waived after a wonderful Friday turnout; and the group awarded two local football teams $3,750 for their help during the event.

According to BOV and FOT Events Co-Chair Pat O’Shaughnessy, their agreement with OSF is that OSF will receive a decreasing percentage of the Festival of Trees’ net profits for the first five years. So the grand prize at the cancer center which is the OSF area chose to nominate the funds for this year. The cancer center will see an additional medical oncologist. Programming of the new state-of-the-art linear accelerator will be completed by the end of the month. Phase 2 renovation plans are to expand rooms to care for patients.

In addition to the scholarship announcements, the 2022 BOV Student Ambassadors were also announced as Abby Carlton’s third grade class at Garfield Elementary School. Carlton said providing a positive opportunity for students and the school, which may soon close, is exciting for them. They also have a new science, technology, engineering, and math lab.

In February, the Balloons Over Vermilion Board of Directors held its annual meeting to award the Impact Grants. Grants are made possible through the support of the community and sponsors, steering committees and volunteers from BOV and FOT. The event organizers thank the community.

It’s been five years since balloons have been brought back to Vermilion County, and after the first year of hosting the Festival of Trees, the nonprofit group was able to award more than $150,000 in rewards to schools. and groups working to improve the lives of children. .

“By combining proceeds from Balloons Over Vermilion and the Festival of Trees, we hope to be a significant source of charitable funding each year for local organizations focused on enriching the lives of Vermilion County youth and their families,” said Jim Anderson, event manager. -chair.

“Both events owe a huge thank you to Julius W. Hegeler II. He was perhaps the greatest child of them all. He loved both events and was extremely generous with his resources, supporting them both for years. Today t is completely normal to be able to give to another of your passions, our local cancer center,” added Anderson.

This year, Balloons Over Vermilion will take place on July 8 and 9. The Festival of Trees will take place from November 12 to 16.