KnoxCorps Members Take Their Place in the Community

Knox graduates, students begin their service with area non-profits

September 25, 2012

KnoxCorps Members, September 2012
KnoxCorps members -- six Fellows, seven undergraduates -- in the KnoxCorps offices, downtown Galesburg.

Thirteen recent Knox graduates and current students, six community sponsors, and 11 community organizations have officially joined forces to launch KnoxCorps, a civic engagement partnership between Knox College and the Galesburg Community Foundation (GCF).

Officially announced last May, KnoxCorps recently deployed Knox College graduates and undergraduates into the Galesburg area to work with local non-profit organizations. Graduates, known as KnoxCorps Fellows, are serving organizations for approximately 10 months, supporting and staffing important initiatives and bringing additional energy and commitment to these organizations. Undergraduate participants made a two-year commitment to serve organizations for at least eight hours per week.

"I'm very excited to see KnoxCorps get off the ground," said Knox College President Teresa Amott. "I also greatly appreciate that the Galesburg Community Foundation has taken this on. It's a perfect example of what a community foundation does-it seeks to catalyze, strengthen, and build capacity within the community."

"The Community Foundation's goal is to foster and promote a healthy community, and I can't think of any better way to do this than the KnoxCorps program," added Josh Gibb, executive director of the GCF. "Knox College and Galesburg are great places, so let's promote them both."

Building KnoxCorps
Gary Funk, former president and C.E.O. of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, administers the KnoxCorps program. He worked with others over the summer to choose the inaugural KnoxCorps members, to seek sponsorships for each KnoxCorps Fellow, and to secure placements for each member of the program.

According to Funk, KnoxCorps was looking for students and recent graduates who not only had a willingness to serve and who appreciate the many assets of the Galesburg community but who were willing to take risks and overcome a few bumps in the road to launch this innovative program. Funk was impressed by the caliber of students who applied to serve with KnoxCorps.

"We are grateful to these new graduates and students for their willingness to take on this new venture," Funk said. "All have chosen to make Galesburg their home for four years, and they are inspiring in their dedication to service, to Knox, and to this community."

"Galesburg has a rich, artistic, and creative past, and I believe it has a rich future as well," said Jules Ohman, one of the six KnoxCorps Fellows. "I joined KnoxCorps because I want to help Knox and Galesburg have a more mutually beneficial relationship."

Ohman is working with the Chamber of Commerce helping them enhance their marketing and communications efforts, including the management of the Chamber's Facebook page and a revamping of their website.

Once the KnoxCorps members were chosen, KnoxCorps representatives met with potential donors about sponsoring the Fellows. Contributions from sponsors directly support the annual compensation of each respective Fellow and make visible the partnership between Galesburg and Knox that drives the project. Six local businesses and organizations stepped forward -- F & M Bank, Galesburg Community Foundation, Human Links Foundation, Kleine Equipment, Knox County Health Department, and the We Are Galesburg Fund.

"We chose to support the KnoxCorps program to allow Knox students to experience real life opportunities right here in Galesburg. These students are well familiar with our community and to give them this opportunity helps to benefit their future, as well as strengthen the relationship between our community and the college," said Mark Kleine, CEO of Kleine Equipment, Inc.

KnoxCorps Members Get to Work
Eleven local non-profit organizations signed on to partner with KnoxCorps -- Carl Sandburg College, Chamber of Commerce, Cyclists of Galesburg, Discovery Depot, FISH Food Pantry, Galesburg Community School District #205, Galesburg Downtown Council, Knox County Health Department, Prairie Players Civic Theatre, Sustainable Business Center, and United Way.

KnoxCorps partnerships are as follows:

KnoxCorps Partner KnoxCorps Member
Carl Sandburg College Laura Ernst, Knox College Sophomore
Chamber of Commerce Jules Ohman, Kleine Equipment, Inc. Fellow
Cyclists of Galesburg Max Potthoff, Knox College Junior
Discovery Depot Juliette Pettit Campbell, F&M Bank Fellow
FISH Food Pantry Bridget Shannon Doherty, Knox College Sophomore
Galesburg Community Foundation/KnoxCorps Hannah Benning, We Are Galesburg Fund Fellow
Galesburg Community School District #205 Ruth Amerman, Knox College Junior
Galesburg Downtown Council Josh Hosmer-Quint, Knox College Senior
Knox County Health Department Emma Poland, Knox County Health Department Fellow, and Khadija Boussen, Knox College Sophomore
Prairie Players Civic Theatre Isaac Miller, Galesburg Community Foundation Fellow
Sustainable Business Center Elizabeth Cockrell, Human Links Foundation Fellow
United Way Kristen Marvin, Knox College Sophomore

The community organizations are excited about the services and ideas the KnoxCorps members will bring to their organizations.

"We are thrilled to have Laura Ernst from the KnoxCorps and are excited for her to become part of the Carl Sandburg College community. We plan for Laura to work with our recruiting office to develop a summer program that would allow Sandburg to reach out to middle school students and educate them on the unlimited opportunities that a college education can provide," said Lori Sundberg, president of Carl Sandburg College.

KnoxCorps members began working with their organizations in September and will continue to work through June.

"This partnership is the realization of an idea -- an idea that needed the unique combination of the skills and resources provided by Knox College, the Galesburg Community Foundation, and Gary Funk. I look forward to seeing KnoxCorps develop over the next year and see the power of this idea benefit our local community," said Amott.

The GCF is a collection of funds and resources that supports the efforts of local people and organizations to foster and promote a healthy community. GCF believes a healthy community focuses its efforts on productive dialogue, collaborative action, team building and unity of purpose.

Founded in 1837, Knox College is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois. Knox enrolls students from 48 states and U.S. territories and 51 countries. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.