two men standing, holding an award and smiling

Phani Aytam accepts his award from Joe Grabill

Phani Aytam of Bloomington has been named the 2018 recipient of Illinois State University’s Grabill-Homan Peace Prize. A strong believer in the power of community, Aytam works to empower others to create a just and equitable world.

Aytam, who is employed at State Farm Insurance, is a member of the board of the For a Better Tomorrow organization, which promotes social justice through philanthropy in the local community and throughout the world. Through his work with that organization, Aytam assists with the Youth Global Citizen leadership program; community events, such as Kite Fest and YICU service awards; and fundraising for local and global projects.

Aytam has also served on boards and committees of the Multicultural Leadership Program, Not In Our Town, United Way of McLean County, WGLT Friends Council, the McLean County Museum of History, the Community Cancer Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and PATH.

The Grabill-Homan Peace Prize is named in honor of history professors Joseph Grabill and Gerlof Homan, who co-founded the Peace Studies Program at Illinois State in 1990. The Prize is awarded annually to a member of the Bloomington-Normal community who has demonstrated commitment to community peace and justice activities.

For more information, contact Noha Shawki at