For more than 20 years, Evelyn Brandt Thomas has been involved with Memorial’s Festival of Trees. From soliciting for sponsors to having trees and wreaths designed, Evelyn will play her biggest role in 2016 as honorary chair of the annual event.
“I am proud to have been involved with this outstanding event since 1994,” Evelyn said. “The Festival has given enjoyment to young and old alike, and provided funds for significant improvements in health care throughout Memorial and our community.”
Evelyn is a well known businesswoman, philanthropist and civic leader throughout central Illinois. In the early 1950s, Evelyn, along with her brother Glen, started a fertilizer business which is now known as Brandt Consolidated, Inc. (BRANDT). Now a leading global agricultural company, BRANDT consists of three divisions—Specialty Formulations, Retail Agronomy and Dealer Support—serving growers around the world. BRANDT’s focus is providing the products and services that give growers the best opportunity for maximum return while building a stronger, healthier and more abundant food supply.
One of Evelyn’s holiday traditions since the 1990s has been attending the Festival of Trees Gala.
“It is the social event for our community to welcome the holiday season,” she said. “I enjoy hearing the compliments of the other attendees and the funds that are raised make an impact on health-related projects. It’s a great evening with an even greater cause.”
As a long-time donor to Memorial Medical Center Foundation, Evelyn continues to live by her philosophy of “if you have been blessed – share.”
“Memorial has been an outstanding medical institution – always keeping up with the latest technologies in taking care of people’s health in the communities it serves,” she said. “I continue to support the organization because of its ongoing efforts to be the best healthcare provider.”
Evelyn, who was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by the University of Illinois Springfield in May 2014, credits her parents for teaching her to be generous in many ways – with compassion, love for one another and financial assistance.
“I have been helped in many ways over the years so I want to give back,” she said. “It’s payback time.”