Brissman Foundation awards nearly $110,000 in grants to support community of Milan, Illinois

Habitat for HumanityNearly $110,000 in grants have been awarded this year by the Grant W. Brissman and Virginia M. Brissman Foundation. The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend provides administrative and grant-making services to the Brissman Foundation.

The Brissman Foundation improves the quality of life in Milan, Illinois, by funding work to enhance youth development, foster community development, support cultural activities, and invest in ways to relieve the suffering of underprivileged people.

“Grant and Virginia Brissman cared very much about the Village of Milan, where they lived and worked for much of their life,” said Kelly Thompson, vice president of grantmaking and community initiatives. “We are honored to carry on their legacy through the grants awarded to 13 nonprofits and two higher education institutions this year.”

Grants were awarded in 2017 to the following organizations:

  • Alternatives for the Older Adult—adult protective services program: $3,000
  • Augustana College—speech and hearing clinic fee reductions: $2,500
  • Bethany for Children & Families—free dental care for uninsured children: $2,500
  • Children's Therapy Center of the Quad Cities—therapy treatment for children with disabilities: $10,000
  • First Presbyterian Church—mentoring program for at-risk youth: $780
  • Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois—Girls Scouts leadership program for K-12 students: $1,500
  • Habitat for Humanity Quad Cities—construction of a new home: $5,000
  • Marriage and Family Counseling Service—family counseling program: $2,500
  • Milan Christian Food Pantry—free nutritional assistance to families in need: $6,600
  • Rock Island / Milan First Day Fund—school supplies for children in need: $2,000
  • SAL Family and Community Services—emergency assistance services for children: $5,000
  • Spring Forward Learning Center—out-of-school programming: $5,000
  • Supplemental Emergency Assistance Program—emergency assistance services for households: $2,500

This year’s grant awards also included a total of $60,000 added to the endowments of Black Hawk College and Western Illinois University to provide scholarships for Milan students:

  • Black Hawk College—endowment for scholarships for Milan residents: $30,000
  • Western Illinois University—endowment for scholarships for Milan residents: $30,000

Grant Brissman was a graduate of Rock Island High School and the former Brown's Business College. He was a pioneer Milan business owner, starting Brissman's Auto Supply in 1948. The business served Milan and the surrounding communities for almost 30 years before he retired in 1978. He was also a founding director and shareholder of Blackhawk State Bank in Milan, where he served on the board of directors for many years. 

Virginia Brissman worked for Illinois Bell Telephone Company for 40 years before retiring in 1977. They had been married for 60 years when Grant died at age 88 in 2004. Virginia died at the age of 94. The foundation was established through their estates and the Community Foundation provides administrative and grant-making services for the Brissman Foundation. 

"It would have been a lot harder to go to school without the scholarship. It meant a lot less pressure."

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Did You Know?

The Community Foundation made its first grant from the Community Impact Endowment in 1967. That grant, of $2,000, was funded by an estate gift from Bea Conrad.
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