Clare Lynd-Porter is the Executive Director and founder of the Imagine Foundation. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Lynd-Porter moved to Jacksonville 14 years ago and started the Imagine Foundation in 2004. Sitting with her in the Asa Talcott House, she gave insight to the goals, needs, and contributions the Imagine Foundation has.
When Lynd-Porter started the Imagine Foundation in 2004, she originally called it, “A social works foundation with some artsy add ons,” which soon evolved to become “an artsy foundation with social work involved.” When asked exactly what the Imagine Foundation is, Lynd-Porter quickly answered with, “The Imagine Foundation is an art organization serving Jacksonville and its surrounding areas by having half of its focus on children while they’re in and out of school, and the other half on community art events such as the gallery hop.” Examples of these activities include, “a camp we hold every summer for elementary kids to come and express themselves through art. We also participate in the gallery hops, showing off art and holding poetry readings for the community.”
Funding for the Imagine Foundation comes in many ways for anyone seeking to help, and goes to various things the foundation needs. Named groups who fund the foundation are: The Illinois Arts Council and Prairieland United Way. Other forms of income for the foundation include donations, event fees, commissions, and memberships. The money goes to staff payrolls, insurance, taxes, supplies, and contract artist fees. The foundation rents the Asa Talcott house from Heritage Health Therapy and Senior Care (Formerly Barton Stone Nursing Home) next door by making sure the house is well kept. This requires supplies such as paint and various tools. Contract artists are compensated for their work throughout the time they’re hired.
One of the most important questions asked was “What’s the best way people can help the Imagine Foundation grow and make a bigger impact on the community?” Lynd-Porter handed over a membership card with several donation pledge amounts to turn into the foundation to become a member, 25 dollars being the lowest amount to join, and benefactors paying 1,500 or more dollars. So becoming a member, donating, coming to the many events they hold throughout the year, and just spreading the word seem to be the best ways to help the foundation.
Finishing up the questions, who exactly can participate in the foundation’s activities? What if the family isn’t financially stable or is having personal issues at home? Lynd-Porter says, “Nobody is turned away from the Foundation; this is an outlet for creativity and culture. If a family isn’t having the best times, we’ll always take in anyone and everyone to join. Though we need the money in order to expand and maintain the foundation, we don’t turn anyone away from the foundation.” So, Lynd-Porter’s foundation creates an outlet for the arts that few other organizations do, by allowing anyone in and helping the community when they can. The Imagine Foundation and Lynd-Porter are both activists for the arts, and are here to help the community.