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Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation, prolanthropy

Purpose and Philosophy
Tiana Fund program began in 2008. Serving any resident of Illinois and other selected areas the program seeks to provide assistance to persons or families that will strengthen their ability to care for themselves, enhance their stability and security, and improve their quality

of life or their ability to contribute to the community. Applications may be submitted by any hospital or trusted source of the Cornerstone Foundation and their partners. Demonstrated  cooperation between entities to address the problem, dealing with the family’s underlying needs, and a commitment to providing follow-up afterwards are all elements that improve an application’s chance of success.

What Needs Are Considered?

1.    Applications seeking to fund items that will address a family’s need and lead to an improved quality of life over the long term or assist in reducing or eliminating suffering are encouraged.

2.    2. The family’s efforts to resolve the difficulty and the role of the requesting organization in providing assistance and services to the family must be clearly explained in the application. Applications that demonstrate a collaborative effort to resolve a problem on the part of both the applying entity and the family over a period of time are more likely to be favorably reviewed.

3.    Applications frequently relate to a particular hardship situation. Examples have included:

• Assistance after disasters such as flood or fire
• Medically related needs not covered by insurance or other assistance

• Items that will contribute to a family member’s ability to be or continue to be employed
• Mortgage and living expenses. (electric, water, gas, etc.)

• Miscellaneous Items that will be approved by the committee on a case by case basis.

 Discussion of the application with the family and their participation in addressing any underlying concerns is important. All applications must be accompanied by the signed release of information before they can be reviewed.

4.    Applications are generally for a one-time need. Applications for recurring expenses on a periodic basis must address how the next cycle of expenses will be met. This is especially important if costs related to housing are being requested. One payment in these situations is frequently a patch on a much greater underlying problem. The program is more interested in addressing the underlying problem than in providing patches.

5.    For repairs of any kind, the normal life of the item will be a consideration and should be stated in the application. The Tiana Fund does not cover car repairs or gas cards. We would consider assisting with other bills/expenses to allow for the family to alleviate some stress in other areas.

6.    Resource availability from other programs varies considerably. Eligibility for any state, county or community programs in a particular area should be checked before an application is made. Persons that are eligible for government programs including food stamps and medical assistance should be helped to apply. The application should show these efforts.


Application Requirements:

Applications must be completed online, all the questions answered on the designated form. Persons completing the application need to state clearly how the proposed items will help the family, explain the family’s need and the past efforts they have made. It is important to explain any budgetary discrepancies, excesses of income, over expenses or expenses over income in relation to the need. Applications are not to be filled out by the applicant or the family. The Tiana Fund as a program, does not have staff to initiate or direct services for clients. An intermediary, the applying organization, who will provide direct contact and follow-up services with the family is required.

Those placing applications need to be sure that an accounting for the money can be provided. (i.e. receipts, invoices or bills) if requested. * It is extremely important that if support for a certain bill is requested, the information is included with the initial documentation. If it is not included, the timeline for the approval process will be increased significantly.


Review Process:

A committee reviews these applications and makes recommendations. Applications may be approved as submitted, further information may be requested, specific suggestions to assist the family may be made, conditions for approval of the request under the Tiana Fund program may be stated, or clearly inappropriate applications may be denied. Normally, the committee is processing applications within 1 month unless there are questions. *Please note this timeline is significantly changed if ALL information requested is not provided. *If you send the application in and do not hear back, we ask that you reach out to confirm delivery. Otherwise, we will reach out to you for more questions or notify you if the application has been approved. While the program accepts applications throughout the year, it is limited to the funding available at the time the application is received.


Applications and Distribution of Funds:

Applications must be filled out online. Once the application is submitted it will be reviewed and, if approved, a check will be sent to the vendor that was listed in the application. If filled out incorrectly, payment will be delayed significantly.

 *Note: If in doubt about an application, you are encouraged to apply unless the item or items are the responsibility of another agency, the government or another group offering assistance. Applications for health care items covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance are not likely to be approved. Items previously purchased, whether on credit or with cash, are not eligible under this program.

Once you have read and understand the guidelines, please click here to begin your application.