The Blackledge Foundation was established in 1985, when Mr. E. Martin Blackledge, a childless widower and White County, Illinois, native, decided to establish a trust to continue the many charitable activities started during his lifetime. He passed away in 1987, and the trust has been fully operational for several years.
The trust, which is maintained at Integra Bank in Grayville, Illinois and Evansville, Indiana, and has four independent advisory council members, and gives money to any church in White County that makes a request--about 80 did at one time, but this number has been dropping every year. We are circulating a list of churches no longer responding to grant letters to improve our coverage. The trust gave funds to the old White County Hospital, all three county ambulance services, the Anna Bixby Women's Center, the White County Historical Society, One Room School, Inc., and several other local groups. The Trust will give some money to national organizations in honor of Mr. Blackledge or board members. The trust donates funds to the local Masonic and Eastern Star organizations, but they are obligated to use it on charitable activities. Another project was donating $5,000 to the Carmi Public Library for an Internet-ready computer and access charges for two years.
The current trustees are Donnie Winkleman, David Campbell, Don Drone and Cindy Birk Conley.
The Directors have started a scholarship trust in conjunction with the four Lions Clubs in the county. Mr. Blackledge set up small scholarship funds administered by the Enfield and Carmi Masonic Lodges, for students who live in the old Enfield and Crossville school district boundaries. The new trust includes the entire county, and gives some preference to students planning undergraduate studies at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where Mr. Blackledge received his higher education in the 1920's. In1997 the first $500 scholarship, renewable for future years, was awarded, with additional awards each year.
An unrelated organization that local residents might want to know about is the Martin Blackledge SIU Medical School Loan Program at Southern Illinois University. Martin donated $100,000 to SIU in 1982, to encourage White County residents to study medicine. Recipients who return to White County after training at the SIU Medical School in Springfield do not have to repay the grant. Please contact the SIU Foundation in Carbondale for more information about this loan or scholarship program.
Copies of IRS Forms 1023 and 990-PF for the Martin Blackledge Trust are available by contacting the trust through Integra Bank or Conley CPA. The IRS also publishes a CD with the annual reports of most charitable organizations in PDF format, which can be obtained directly from the Internal Revenue Service. Our organization does not have the capacity at this time to convert our filings to PDF files for web posting, but copies of the returns can be viewed at the locations listed below or mailed to those requesting information. All private foundations are required to make their IRS filings available to the public.
Cindy Birk Conley, Advisory Committee Member, Conley CPA Office,
301 S Walnut, Carmi, IL 62821, Voice 618 / 382-2048, Fax 618 / 382-3472
Last updated 5/3/02. Please send corrections and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org