On Aug. 16, Gov. Rauner announced a newly-formed, not-for-profit Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation has been established by leaders in the agricultural community. Suitably, the announcement was made on the state fair’s Agricultural Day.
The goal of the charitable foundation is to promote, support, assist and sustain the Springfield and Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. The Foundation’s activities will emphasize capital improvements at these sites, with a focus on the restoration of buildings.
Combined, the two fairgrounds have approximately 200 buildings—some as old as 124 years. Many of these buildings are in dire need of repair including paint, plumbing, roofing and structural repairs. The Foundation hopes to ease the burden put on the state to fund the nearly $180 million in maintenance costs. In a time of uncertain budgets, the Foundation will provide additional support to the fairgrounds.
The Foundation Board is comprised of nine unpaid members representing the agriculture industry. Board members will develop strategies to raise private funds, coordinate with the Department of Agriculture to plan projects and determine the fairgrounds’ needs, and serve as ambassadors for the improvement of the fairgrounds.
Anyone can give donations to the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation. The Foundation will establish accounts that will be held outside the State treasury so donors know their donations will go to the intended purpose.