We’ve heard time and again how giving our community is, and it’s true. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 32 percent of residents in the Peoria MSA volunteer for charitable causes—seven points higher than the national average. Our own Heart of Illinois United Way has attained Metro 1 status for raising at least $9 million in its annual fundraising campaign, placing it among the top-performing United Ways in the country—pretty remarkable for a region of our size!
The Caterpillar Foundation has long championed programs that support education, the environment and basic human needs—both in our community and around the world. They were responsible for bringing LISC to town—an organization that’s made a world of difference in Peoria’s East Bluff and South Side neighborhoods since opening its local office a few years ago.
In recent years, the nonprofit community has embraced greater accountability, realizing they must be good stewards of grants and donations, or risk losing them. The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance helps donors make informed giving decisions and promotes high standards of conduct among organizations that solicit contributions from the public. It’s interesting to note that the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and its fellow sector watchdogs, GuideStar and Charity Navigator, have launched a campaign to combat the “overhead myth.”
We’ve traditionally believed that nonprofits should spend as little money as possible on overhead; organizations that exceeded the 15-percent overhead threshold were considered inefficient. Yet that standard has proven over time to be not only unrealistic, but detrimental to the sector. These three watchdogs—which developed the threshold in the first place—recently joined forces to oppose the practice. Learn more about the “overhead myth” in this issue, or by visiting overheadmyth.com.
The world’s social ills can sometimes seem beyond our comprehension. The best way to help the nonprofits who combat these problems is to increase public awareness of the work they do. That’s why we developed the Community Impact section in this issue: to help the community understand the impact—economic and otherwise—of our many worthy nonprofit groups, and show how you can help.
We would like to thank the nonprofit community of Greater Peoria for its hard work making this region—and our world—a better place to live. And finally, thanks to all the volunteers and donors whose time and resources aid them in this mission. You are truly making an impact, and for that, we salute you! iBi