Our History and Transitioning To The Future

Besse A. Lumpkin, widow of Dr. William C. Lumpkin, created The Lumpkin Family Foundation with a gift of $100,000 from her estate in 1953. William and his father, Iverson A. Lumpkin, dentists in Mattoon at the turn of the century, started the Mattoon Telephone Company in 1894 with 175 original customers. During the ensuing century, the company became Illinois Consolidated Telephone Company and grew to become one of the most significant privately held telephone companies in the country.

Over the past decades, The Lumpkin Family Foundation has received donations from subsequent generations of the Lumpkin family. Today, members of the Lumpkin family's fourth, fifth, and even sixth generations contribute both time and resources to The Foundation.

In 1994, The Foundation hired its first executive director and developed policies and procedures to ensure effective governance, excellent management and meaningful grant making.

It was also during this time that The Lumpkin Family Foundation first articulated its mission. Although the particulars have changed over the years, it remains committed to key aspects of the original mission statement, especially to honoring its heritage in Central Illinois. A commitment was made to continue funding in Central Illinois, but also to provide grants to communities where Lumpkin family members lived or were personally involved.

Although The Foundation is a family organization, dependent for its operation on significant volunteer assistance from the descendants of Besse Lumpkin, the family has made a commitment to professionalism comparable to the very best of nonprofit organizations. Active Foundation members receive training and development through The Council on Foundations and programs of The Foundation's own design.

The Foundation now has a professional staff of four full-time employees, plus other project-based consultants. As a more mature organization, The Foundation has started giving back to the philanthropic community through service by members and staff on local, regional and national planning committees and through presentations at philanthropic conferences.

View Past Grantees

Message from the 4th Generation of the Lumpkin family