The Sun Foundation

The 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 26 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
Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the 2020 event has been rescheduled and reset to April 25 and 26, 2021. Over the last 28 years, the Clean Water Celebration has engaged over 63,000 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 features an opening parade and blessing of waters at the Peoria riverfront, as well as a keynote dinner lecture.

The 2021 theme, Rise Up!, will feature delegates from Sea Youth Rise Up, who travel to Washington DC to advocate for policies that protect and restore our ocean and climate—the two major interconnected issues facing our planet and society. These young leaders, selected from around the country, will join us to learn and share ideas for affective change.

In addition, dozens of interactive exhibits, breakout sessions and workshops are 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 46th year of this unique summer youth program has been rescheduled for the week of August 3, 2020 due to COVID-19. Should the crisis continue past this date, it will be rescheduled for the week of June 21, 2021. 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
Our programs are a significant source of funding, so postponing or cancelling them due to the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted our ability to operate. We know these are difficult times. But to those who are able, please consider a donation so we can continue to provide art and environmental science programming to the community for many years to come.

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, Executive Assistant
Brett Root Ericksen, Program Director/Facility Manager
Blaine Adams, Accountant
Sharon Obery, Art and Science in the Woods Program Coordinator
Karlen Sandall, Bookkeeper