CHICAGO – Now there’s a face to the Illinois Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission’s name: A bust of the 40th president and Dixon’s native son superimposed over a silhouette of Illinois.
The Illinois commission had its first meeting Thursday, when members unveiled the new logo and website, www.illinoisreagancentennial.com, which will serve as a fundraiser and information center for a celebration of the only U.S. president born in Illinois.
Reagan would have turned 100 next year, and no fewer than four commissions – in Dixon, Illinois, California and United States – have formed to honor him.
Dixon resident Ann Lewis is chairwoman of the Dixon commission and vice chairwoman of the Illinois commission, which was created last year by a state House resolution. The groups are planning 2 years of events, set to start next year.
“We truly are trying to involve every community in our state that wants to be involved,” Lewis said.
Events include Reagan exhibition contests available to every school in the state, an international art competition with a $10,000 purse, and Reagan Day at Wrigley Field – proceeds will go to rebuild the beach at Lowell Park, Lewis said.
Among the biggest challenges facing the commission is fundraising.
“The governor commissioned us, but because the state is in such financial straits, there is no money,” Lewis said.
The website has space for corporate sponsorship, and Lewis said she and state Rep. Jerry Mitchell, R-Sterling, Illinois commission chairman, will start asking for donations from the state’s Fortune 500 companies.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Lewis said.