More than $110,000 in grants awarded to nonprofits supporting the community of Milan from the Brissman Foundation


More than $110,000 in grants have been awarded this year by the Grant W. Brissman and Virginia M. Brissman Foundation. The Quad Cities Community Foundation provides administrative and grantmaking services to the Brissman Foundation.

The Brissman Foundation improves the quality of life in Milan, Illinois, by funding work to enhance youth development, foster community development, support cultural activities, and invest in ways to relieve the suffering of underprivileged people.

“Grant and Virginia Brissman cared very much about the Village of Milan, where they lived and worked for much of their life,” said Kelly Thompson, vice president of grantmaking and community initiatives. “We are honored to carry on their legacy through the grants awarded to 17 nonprofits and two higher education institutions this year.”

Grants were awarded in 2018 to the following organizations:

  • Alternatives for the Older Adult—coordination of care: $3,000

  • Augustana College—fee reductions for speech and hearing clinic: $2,500

  • Ballet Quad Cities—arts and cultural programming: $2,500

  • Bethany for Children and Families—free dental care for uninsured children: $2,500

  • Children’s Therapy Center of the Quad Cities—therapy treatment services for children: $10,000

  • Figge Art Museum—arts education outreach and programming: $2,500

  • First Presbyterian Church—Milan Marvels programming: $2,175

  • Girls Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois—leadership and character-building programming: $1,500

  • Milan Christian Food Pantry—food pantry services: $6,600

  • Quad City Arts—Metro Arts Community Photography Project: $10,000

  • Quad City Symphony Orchestra—educational programming: $4,000

  • Rock Island and Milan First Day Fund—fund support: $1,500

  • Spring Forward Learning Center—out-of-school time programs for Thomas Jefferson Elementary: $5,000

  • Supplemental Emergency Assistance Program—programming support: $2,500

  • The Arc of the Quad Cities Area—innovation through inclusion programming: $2,200

  • Thy Loving Kindness—sock program for children: $500

  • YouthHope—camp summit sponsorship: $2,000

This year’s grant awards also included a total of $50,000 added to the endowments of Black Hawk College and Western Illinois University to provide scholarships for Milan students:

  • Black Hawk College—endowment for scholarships for Milan residents: $25,000

  • Western Illinois University—endowment for scholarships for Milan residents: $25,000

Grant Brissman was a graduate of Rock Island High School and the former Brown's Business College. He was a pioneer Milan business owner, starting Brissman’s Auto Supply in 1948. The business served Milan and the surrounding communities for almost 30 years before he retired in 1978. He was also a founding director and shareholder of Blackhawk State Bank in Milan, where he served on the board of directors for many years.

Virginia Brissman worked for Illinois Bell Telephone Company for 40 years before retiring in 1977. They had been married for 60 years when Grant died at age 88 in 2004. Virginia died at the age of 94. The foundation was established through their estates and the Community Foundation provides administrative and grant-making services for the Brissman Foundation.

Learn more about the Brissman Foundation at