Central Illinois Working Together

by Michael Stephan, Heart of Illinois United Way

The strength of our businesses and local economy is directly related to the health of our community. With state budget cuts and an economy that is slowly recovering, we need to come together and continue to do our part to ensure vital programs and services are available for all of us. Because of the generosity and support of the residents of central Illinois, the Heart of Illinois United Way remains the largest non-governmental funder of health and human care services in central Illinois.

Despite a challenging year and the economic downturn, the Heart of Illinois United Way raised $8.6 million last year to help people in need. The call to action was urgent, and the community stepped up their investments in the United Way—ensuring that the services we fund continue to improve the lives of more than 1,100 people in central Illinois each and every day.

A stable health and human care infrastructure is critical if we are to maintain a safety net of services that help people in need today while providing long-term help that will affect generations to come. With a network of business leaders, labor organizations, local government, health and human service agencies, and thousands of dedicated supporters and volunteers, the Heart of Illinois United Way invests in 96 programs at 45 partner agencies throughout central Illinois.

We want central Illinois business leaders and the community to trust United Way to provide an exceptional return on their charitable investments. This September, as the Heart of Illinois United Way prepares to kick off our 90th annual campaign, the community’s support of our goal—to make philanthropy easy, effective and impactful, and to be the shortest distance between community investment and a stronger, healthier region—will need our collective power to be a success.

We recognize the collaborative role our partner agencies, the state government and United Way plays in creating lasting, systemic change. No one organization or person can do this alone or fill the gaps in funding—it takes all of us working together. In order for central Illinois to remain strong and prosper, a network of nonprofit organizations, the private sector and government must work together to strengthen and repair the essential services that protect public health, improve public safety, revitalize the local economy and enhance learning.

It takes more than just one person, one business or one agency to make a difference. It takes the entire community. Together, we can inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow.

That’s what it means to live united. iBi  

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