Local Newton leader named as regional Outstanding Philanthropist

(L-R) Joedy Hightower, President and CEO of the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation;
Paul Johnson, recipient of the 2015 Richard C. Siemer Outstanding Philanthropist Award;
and Mark Bolander, Mayor of Newton and member of the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation's governing board.
Mr. Bolander nominated Paul Johnson for this award, which is sponsored by the Siemer Milling Company.

The Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation proudly announces that Newton resident Paul Johnson has been named the recipient of the 2015 Richard C. Siemer Outstanding Philanthropist Award. The award, established in 2011, recognizes individuals, families, and organizations for their remarkable commitment to their community through philanthropic support and exceptional leadership.

Newton Mayor Mark Bolander nominated Johnson for the award because of Johnson's dedication of time, talent, and investment in the City of Newton. Mayor Bolander, a director on the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation's executive board, cited numerous examples of how Johnson has invested his time and personal finances to enhance Newton's development and bring jobs into the community. In his nomination, Mayor Bolander praised Johnson, stating "At 78 years of age, Paul could easily just enjoy retirement. However, he chooses to remain actively involved in projects that beautify and enhance growth in his hometown. Paul is the early bird, constant and persistent, when he believes in a cause."

The impact made by Mr. Johnson in Jasper County can also be found in the development of the Cobblestone Hotel and Suites (made possible by Johnson's forming of the Newton Hotel Group, LLC), building renovations that now house non-profit organizations such as the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce and the Embarras River Tourism Council, and financial support for the Burl Ives memorial in downtown Newton. He is also an active member and financial supporter of the Elks, Eagles, VFW, Moose Lodge, and American Legion. His philanthropic work extends beyond these examples, making the overall impact of his work is difficult to measure.

Mr. Johnson is a retired chairman and director of the People's State Bank Board and a retired director of the Illinois Grain and Feed Association. He serves on the advisory board for the Illinois State Fair, is a trustee for the Wade Community Fire Protection District, and is a member of the Embarras River Tourism Council.

Mayor Bolander presented Paul Johnson with the Richard C. Siemer Outstanding Philanthropist Award during the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation's annual dinner on Friday, October 2, 2015 at the Keller Convention Center in Effingham.

The Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation is a regional 501(c)(3) public charity that provides education, technical assistance and professional investment management of assets. There are five area community foundations that operate as affiliates of the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation, including the Jasper County Community Foundation. An advisory board provides leadership of the Jasper County Community Foundation. The members of the 2015 advisory board are John Fulton, Dylan Hartigan, Karle Koebele, Amanda Lessley, and Steve Mammoser. Their role is to ensure that gifts made through the community foundation are easy, personal and have maximum impact in Jasper County.

Past recipients of the award include: Richard Siemer -2011; Tom Wright-2012; Dr. Richard and Angie Workman-2013; The Lumpkin Family Foundation-2014.

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