A Community Impacts Success

Your donations to the Community Impact Fund will positively change lives in central Illinois.

by Jennifer Zammuto, Heart of Illinois United Way

Access to quality education provides youth and adults with the knowledge and skills needed to achieve success in all stages of life. When a community invests in local education programs, it directly impacts the financial stability and health of the community and the people who call it home.

For many students, the path to academic success is not a straight line, as factors outside of the classroom can inhibit learning even more than an understanding of the material. From meeting basic needs to providing support for social-emotional issues, addressing these key factors is essential to ensure students of all ages are ready to learn when they take a seat at their desk.

Last year, the Heart of Illinois United Way invested more than $2 million in programs that directly and simultaneously address factors critical to a successful education. From preschool and afterschool programs to affordable housing and counseling, the programs and initiatives supported by the Heart of Illinois United Way’s Community Impact Fund improve grades, foster healthy relationships and provide safe homes.

Through a data-driven process and community-wide collaborations, the results from these programs continue to make the grade year after year. In 2018, a report card for Heart of Illinois United Way-funded education programs and initiatives achieved the following results:

  • 93% of preschool students demonstrated pre-literacy skills needed for school readiness.
  • 88% of youth achieved academic success in essential reading and math skills.
  • 93% of adults who obtained tutoring or went back to school increased their literacy skills.

The Heart of Illinois United Way also addresses specific needs in the community through our own initiatives. Our Success By 6 program is a community-based team of business leaders, educators and early childhood advocates who work together to provide reading, math and social-emotional resources to preschool students, teachers and parents. And with factors outside of the classroom significantly impacting a child’s learning in school, our Supporting Student Success (S3) initiative provides school-based social-emotional education focused on prevention, intervention and counseling.

The Heart of Illinois United Way utilizes data to ensure donations to our organization are invested to earn the greatest return. Of course, all of this would not be possible without the support of local community members who donate to our Community Impact Fund each year. From campaigns at businesses small and large, to individual donors, we could not do this work without every single one of you. Thank you!

Whether you give to support a child learning to read, to help a senior live independently or to help a family make healthy choices, your donation to the Heart of Illinois United Way Community Impact Fund is sure to positively change lives in central Illinois. PM

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