The Sun Foundation

Sun Foundation

To strengthen and advance the arts and environmental sciences in rural and urban communities by providing quality and innovative programs, services, publications, research, re-granting financial support, and cooperative efforts for the general public, underserved groups, schools, Illinois artists and local arts organizations.

Community Arts Access
Through awarded grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts along with matching local grants, funds are awarded to art and community groups, schools, social service organizations and libraries in Bureau, Marshall, Stark and Woodford counties. Over the past 25 years, the program has provided a half-million dollars in grants for public arts programming in central Illinois.

Founded in 1973, the Sun Foundation for Advancement in the Environmental Sciences and Arts, Inc. is dedicated to investing in educational opportunities for children and the general public by:

  • Providing innovative and environmental sciences and arts programs
  • Engaging audiences and students with outstanding artists, engineers, architects, geologists, archeologists and scientists
  • Promoting in-depth knowledge, creativity, firsthand learning and stewardship

Clean Water Celebration Environmental Classroom
In April 2019, the Sun Foundation completed the 27th annual Clean Water Celebration, which has engaged over 61,000 middle and high school students, their teachers and the public in ways to become stewards for the planet’s natural resources, locally and globally. The two-day program featured an opening parade and blessing of waters at the Peoria riverfront, as well as a keynote dinner lecture.

The 2019 theme, You Are the Change: Take Action, featured keynote speaker Hannah Testa, a 16-year-old sustainability advocate, international speaker and founder of Hannah4Change, an organization dedicated to fighting issues that impact the planet. At a very young age, she shares her belief that knowledge is power—and that youth have more power to create change than they know. Her primary message to youth: Once armed with information, you have to act!

In addition, dozens of interactive exhibits, breakout sessions and workshops were presented. The Clean Water Celebration promotes stewardship and helps schools meet their state learning goals and standards. Annual awards are given to schools, individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions in their communities.

The program is made possible by the volunteer committee, Illinois American Water, grants, sponsors and public donations.

Art And Science In The Woods
The 45th year of this unique summer youth program will take place June 10-14, 2019 at the Sun Foundation Art and Nature Center. In nature’s classroom, 450 students ages six to 18 will learn and have fun in six natural river valley habitats. Students will learn with inspiring artists, geologists, scientists and survival arts instructors, while taking in the natural beauty of the outdoors, including a freshwater marsh, oak-hickory forest, million-year-old fossil beds, restored wetlands and prairies, ponds and streams.

One hundred volunteers serve as teaching assistants, medical staff and administrative assistants. Sharon Obery, program coordinator, and dedicated staff provide support for the program that has now served 20,570 students.

Many former students, now leaders in their profession, hail Art and Science In the Woods for inspiring them and giving them the educational foundation to pursue their profession. Several former students have returned to become instructors for the program.

How to Help
The Sun Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization supported by public contributions and awarded grants. Tax-deductible donations to support programs and financial-need scholarships can be made online at or via mail to the address above. For in-kind donations and volunteer opportunities, please contact us at

The Sun Foundation
1276 Sun Road
Washburn, IL 61570
(309) 246-8403
Fax: (309) 246-3480

Facebook: @SunFoundationIL

Robert C. Ericksen, Executive Director
Joan Root Ericksen, Development Director
Dominique Kreie, Bookkeeper/Office Manager
Brett Root Ericksen, Program Director/Facility Manager
Blaine Adams, Accountant
Sharon Obery, Art and Science in the Woods Program Coordinator