Illinois News

Perritt Foundation grants benefit area children

Mercantile Bank President and CEO Mark Tyrpin, left, presents John Wood Community College President Mike Elbe with a grant from the Richard A. Perritt Charitable Foundation during a press conference Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, at the bank's Quincy headquarters. All of the grant money went to organizations that provide services for children. | H-W Photo/Phil Carlson
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 6, 2017 11:15 am Updated: Dec. 6, 2017 11:24 am

QUINCY -- Five Quincy-area programs that serve children received grants totaling $37,500 Wednesday.

"Community is important to all of us," said Elise Tyrpin of Quincy, whose family manages the Richard A. Perritt Charitable Foundation. "These grants will be able to put a smile on a child's face and provide them with the ability to partake in an activity that will foster development, improve confidence and allow a child to have fun."

The Perritt Foundation is a 26-year-old not-for-profit managed by the Tyrpin family. Grants worth more than $1 million have been awarded annually to medical research hospitals in the Chicago area for cancer and eye disease research. Hospitals such as Lurie Children's Hospital and Loyola University Medical Center have been recipients of grants.

Mark Tyrpin, president and CEO of Mercantile Bank, said the foundation's secondary focus is youth development and activities.

"Earlier this year, $15,000 was donated to the Jackson-Lincoln Pool complex, as well as $1,500 each to the Quincy YMCA and YWCA" to sponsor the Turkey Run and St. Pat's/Kelly's Run, respectively, he said.

Five organizations, each receiving $7,500 Wednesday, bring this year's Quincy-area grant total to $55,500.

"We want the foundation to be a force for change in Quincy," Mark Tyrpin said. "Elise and I live here. We see the good work that's being done, and we want to focus on those entities that provide services for kids."

Local grants went to:

Camp Callahan -- Scholarship funds will allow kids to experience a summer camp. Campers will swim, sing, roast marshmallows and enjoy outdoor activities.

John Wood Community College's JDUB Academy -- Scholarships will let area elementary schoolchildren explore how their hobbies, interests and strengths might connect with a future career. Summer courses are designed to teach new and meaningful skills and excite students about learning.

Quincy Family YMCA -- Scholarships will go to youth programs. Kids can learn to play baseball, take part in after-school activities, learn to swim, lift weights, or just hang out.

Chaddock -- Chaddock is committed to offering hope and healing to children ages 8 to 21 by providing innovative services in caring settings. Foundation funds will help the school continue this mission.

YWCA Quincy -- Funds will give young women opportunities to succeed by promoting leadership and development while also providing them with support services.

The grants were described in glowing terms by the leaders of organizations that received them.

Brandon Dowdy, CEO of the YMCA of West-Central Illinois, said the grant will pay the way for children whose families might not have the funds to cover the cost of activities.

"It's another example of the community taking care of its own. It's encouraging working with an organization that wants to make sure everybody has a chance," Dowdy said.

Randy Callahan said the donation "will send several kids to camp" and every dime is appreciated.

YWCA Executive Director Mary Muehlenfeld said the grant will help restore some children's programs that had been halted due to a shortage of funding and staff. She said the Perritt Foundation has presented grants to the YWCA before and is an important partner.

Chaddock CEO Debbie Reed said the foundation also has helped the school before.

"They have seen the work we're doing and know it's important," Reed said. "So many kids and families want service and this will help us reach even more of them."

Money for the foundation grants comes from annual interest generated by a $60 million trust established by Perritt, a world-famous doctor, author and lecturer who specialized in eye care. Prime ministers, popes, world-class athletes and movie stars regularly sought his services.

Perritt also was a close friend of the Tyrpin family, which agreed to oversee the foundation after his death in 1992.

"I don't know the exact amount that's been awarded over that time period, but I'm certain it has been at least $20 million," Mark Tyrpin said.

Grants initially were centered in the Chicago area, where the Tyrpins and Perritt lived. After Mark and Elise Tyrpin moved to Quincy, they spotted worthy charities in the area and the foundation began making local donations in 2002, when local grants of $41,000 were awarded. Grants have been awarded in Quincy almost every year since.

HOW TO APPLY

The Richard A. Perritt Charitable Foundation was established as a not-for-profit in 1991 in Barrington Hills and is managed by Ron Tyrpin and Diane Tyrpin of Barrington Hills, John Tyrpin of Sugar Grove, and Mark Tyrpin and Elise Tyrpin of Quincy.

The foundation's top goals are to fund medical research into cancer and eye diseases. Secondary priorities are to foster youth development and activities.

For information about 2018 grant applications, call Mark Tyrpin at Mercantile Bank at 217-223-7300.??

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