They say it only takes one person to make a difference. They say one gift can make a world of difference. For Thelma Pennington of Galesburg, “they” were right. One gift changed her life. And, for the Galesburg Lions Club, one person’s generosity will forever make a difference.

Upon her passing, Thelma left $100,000 to the Galesburg Lions Club, a gift that will forever benefit the local community through the Lions Club’s service.

When you ask those who knew Thelma about her as a person, most respond by saying she was an ordinary community member just like you and me. She was active in her community and had a heart of gold.

Thelma, a lifelong Galesburg resident, recently passed. She was 86. While most consider her ordinary, what she left behind to benefit the community is anything but.

As a young girl, she grew up poor and was one of six children. The Lions Club provided her and her siblings with much needed eye glasses—a gift she never forgot.

The glasses from Lions Club, “Changed her life. They allowed her the opportunity to go to school and be a good student,” Bill Butts, attorney for Thelma’s estate said.

Butts said, “Thelma lived very frugally. She wanted to share her fortune with the community. She knew that by giving a gift to the Lions Club that a lot of people would be taken care of for a long time.”

“You can’t put a price on charitable giving and the children, people and homes it impacts. There are many people like Thelma in this community. There are many members of our community who can make a difference just as she has.

– Bill Butts

Thankfully such a significant gift will make a difference for a long time, as the Galesburg Lions Club was prepared with the means to handle the donation. Because of their Nonprofit Endowment Fund at GCF they could not only handle the logistics of the gift, but also ensure her gift will forever make a difference in the lives of community members.

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Haley Sloss

Charitable Giving Coordinator

Short Bio

Haley provides support to enhance the function and success of the Charitable Giving and Affiliate Teams. She ensures donors receive a personal approach to philanthropy through outstanding customer service by supporting charitable giving for donors and fund holders across the state.