As a community, the people of Morton have shown that heart and community spirit are woven into their spiritual fabric. Mortonites have long demonstrated respect for heritage, and willingness to actively participate to make Morton a better place to live. Today, we have an amazing opportunity to help shape the future by supporting the Morton Community Foundation. This Foundation has been formed as a "Community Trust" or "Savings Account" created by Morton people for Morton people for the benefit of generations to come. Donations to the Morton Community Foundation offer financial benefits and tax incentives, and this truly represents a win-win situation for contributors and the community.
In the late 1990s and early 2000, a handful of visionary Morton business people began meeting to discuss the possibility of establishing a Foundation to benefit Morton. They knew Morton would need to adapt to its growth and prosperity without being burdened by debt and higher taxation. Morton would need to maintain and further its support of family and neighborhoods by funding new projects such as recreational facilities, an indoor pool, a community center and other possibilities yet to be envisioned. They saw a need to broaden Morton?s services and give promise and opportunity to their youth; give seniors the choice to remain in Morton into their later years by offering extended services inside and outside their homes; provide disabled citizens the opportunity to live a full and prosperous life; and offer educational programs and scholarship opportunities that are in sync with an ever changing workplace. These leaders envisioned meeting these demands by using independent funding and the Morton Community Foundation was created.
Similar Foundations are already in place or are being formed in progressive communities throughout the United States. The Articles of Incorporation of the Morton Community Foundation were filed in Peoria County, IL on May 8, 2000, recognized as a 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit Corporation. The following individuals names were filed as the founding Board of Trustees for the Morton Community Foundation (listed in the order they appear in the Article of Incorporation): Dennis A. Ewald, James A. Carius, Ned R. Middendorf, Mark S. Johnson, Nancy Koch, Phillip A. Kuhl, John D. Sauder, William I. Covey, Ken Baum, Gene A. Petersen, Jean Ann Honegger, Merlin R. Birky.
Beginning in 2005, the Board of Trustees began discussing the potential hiring of a full or part time Executive Director, and in July of 2007 the Board hired Scott A. Witzig, as the first full time Executive Director of the Morton Community Foundation.
After being hired, Scott worked out of his home for a couple of months until a more permanent office could be located. The first office of the Morton Community Foundation was an upstairs office space donated by Jeff Grimm, owner of Lighthouse Automotive, located at 309 N. Main Street. The space was offered at no cost for rent, utilities, lawn care, snow removal, etc. Scott and his father, Harold Witzig, painted the office space before moving in some donated office furniture. "The original space at 309 N Main Street was a huge blessing to the Foundation, and it accommodated us well for the first several years. The only down side was that the upstairs was difficult for some of our older patrons to get to," said Witzig.
In the winter of 2012, Ron Messner, Director of Apostolic Christian Services, called Scott to say that they had purchased the former Jefferson Street Clinic at 105 E. Jefferson St, for their CILA Services office. Messner said that they would like to offer some excess space at the front of the building to the Morton Community Foundation if the MCF is interested. Witzig said, "We had been thinking it could be many many years before we would ever be able to afford an office at street level. So, when Ron approached us with an offer to have this space with such great visibility, at street level, in exchange for sharing in the utilities, lawn care, and snow removal, we were absolutely thrilled."
Renovations were done by ACCS, and many volunteers helped to make it all happen. Office furniture, including a conference table, office chairs, and a reception desk were obtained for $1,000 through a bank foreclosure. Office cabinets were obtained at a deeply discounted rate through a cabinet manufacturers outlet store in Arthur, IL. The new office was occupied by the end of January 2013.