Founded in 1953 under the leadership and vision of H Ogden Brainard, the Eastern Illinois University Foundation has flourished since its inception. Nationally recognized and ranked, the University is complemented today, just as it was in 1953, by a charitable foundation dedicated to its support through enhancing private sector resources available to the university community.
In 1991, Burnham, Nancy and Rosemary Neal had a vision for their philanthropy. The future would require an expanded home for the Foundation. None of the Neal family attended Eastern Illinois University. As Coles and Cumberland County residents, they recognized a need to strengthen the broader community of East Central Illinois, and assist young people, many from small rural communities, who wished to attend Eastern Illinois University. Their vision included a highly visible and accessible point of access to the university community for both prospective students and donors.
As with H Odgen Brainard, the Neal family translated their vision into action. They began privately funding a "Welcome Center" to provide a new more functional home for the Foundation and to serve for prospective students. Their donations and foresight created the Neal Welcome Center which opened in 2002 and serves as the envisioned point of access to the campus.
Burnham Neal Nancy Neal Rosemary Neal
As lifelong residents of east central Illinois, Burnham, Nancy and Rosemary Neal shared a vision for Eastern Illinois University - one that embraced their own sense of hospitality. They envisioned guests from surrounding communities and Chicago, be they alumni, prospective students, donors or other friends of the Foundation and University, being welcomed graciously when visiting.
Through their collective philanthropy, the Neal family has accomplished their vision by funding the Neal Welcome Center of The Eastern Illinois University Foundation.