Tara Gerstner is the executive director of Peoria Promise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting economic development through education by providing scholarships to Illinois Central College for qualified Peoria public school graduates. Her priorities as head of the organization are development and community awareness, and she is responsible for budgeting, donor relations, marketing, student relations and administrative duties.
As the first executive director of Peoria Promise, Gerstner had to implement all fundraising programs from the ground up, and in the four years she has served in this role, Peoria Promise has supported over 1,000 students and raised more than $1.5 million. She also started the organization’s Young Leaders Board, offering young professionals a chance to serve on a board and build their resumes while giving back to their community.
In addition to running Peoria Promise, Gerstner has become very involved in the Peoria community. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Better Business Bureau of Central Illinois, Peoria Ballet and the Pediatric Resource Center, and is a former member of the Illinois CancerCare Foundation Advisory Board. She is active with the Junior League of Peoria and is a 2010 graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School.
Among her achievements, Gerstner graduated with distinction from Illinois Wesleyan University and went on to earn her MBA in marketing from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She was president of the Young Leaders Board in San Antonio, as well as a Sorority Life parliamentarian and vice president of activities, a role that earned her the Silver Level Leadership Award for her dedication, leadership training and commitment to volunteerism.
Gerstner gives her time to numerous committees at Peoria Academy, and is an active member of the Peoria Medical Society Alliance and the Central Illinois Association of Fundraising Professionals. She also teaches kickboxing classes and enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her husband and two children. iBi