“When we started, the situation looked hopeless, but all of us agreed that hopeless is not acceptable,” says Chris Richmond, president of Moving Pillsbury Forward (MPF), a not-for-profit organization founded in 2020 that has taken on revitalizing the property of the former Pillsbury Mills on Springfield’s north end.
Because of the group’s commitment to making our community a better place, INB recommended MPF for a $12,500 donation from the Elan Credit Card charitable giving program. Elan is INB’s credit card partner. MPF was one of 30 organizations nationwide receiving a donation from Elan.
“INB prides itself on being community focused and fostering a healthy, vibrant business community in all the markets we serve,” says INB President and CEO Sarah Phalen. “When citizens won’t take no for an answer when it comes to making our hometown a better place, we take note. After years of seeing others walk away from a deteriorating situation, this small group came in and said, ‘Hopelessness isn’t a reason to do nothing.’ They developed a plan, got their hands dirty both figuratively and literally, and made things happen.”
Sarah adds, “This $12,500 from Elan will only be a small piece of the total need, but as we’ve seen time and time again, change is a journey taken one step at a time. INB is proud to be part of this one small step in a long journey.”
MPF’s vision is to remediate and clear the 18-acres site over 3-5 years and prepare it for redevelopment. Ideally, the site will be used for a light- to medium- industry because of its proximity to a rail yard.
MPF is spearheaded by Chris, a former city of Springfield fire marshal, Vice President Polly Poskin, retired executive director for the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and Secretary Tony DelGiorno, an attorney with DelGiorno Law Office.
The Moving Pillsbury Forward website provides information on the project, including historical documents such as employee newsletters. A December 15, 2023 NPR “Community Voices” podcast provides an update on the group’s work.