The Heart of Illinois United Way funds community programs and services to promote education, financial stability and health in Marshall, Peoria, Putnam, Stark, Tazewell and Woodford Counties in Central Illinois.

Find out the latest news from the Heart of Illinois United Way, which brings together people from business, labor, government, health and human services to address community needs in Marshall, Peoria, Putnam, Stark, Tazewell and Woodford Counties in Central Illinois.

Introducing HOWIE: “Hygiene. On. Wheels. Independence. Empowered.”

This fall, the Heart of Illinois United Way and our Home for All Continuum of Care are partnering with Phoenix Community Development Services to provide a mobile hygiene unit serving individuals experiencing homelessness in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and Fulton counties.

Everyone deserves the basic comfort and safety that comes from equal access to showers, bathrooms, and laundry facilities. Since the start of COVID-19, many individuals experiencing homelessness have had limited access to facilities with running water and basic hygiene supplies while being at a higher risk of developing hygiene related illnesses.

Central Illinois' new mobile hygiene unit called HOWIE ("Hygiene. On. Wheels. Independence. Empowered.") will provide a fresh start for those in need.

Central Illinois’ new mobile hygiene unit, HOWIE: “Hygiene. On. Wheels. Independence. Empowered.”

Central Illinois’ new mobile hygiene unit called HOWIE (“Hygiene. On. Wheels. Independence. Empowered.”) will do more than provide a shower and clean clothes, it will provide a fresh start for those in need. By connecting people to critical resources through the Heart of Illinois 2-1-1 Information and Referral Service and the Phoenix Community Development Services Outreach Program, HOWIE will help move homeless individuals onto a path to stable housing through vital resources such as emergency shelter, case management, mental health services, workforce readiness support, and more.

“With the ongoing response to COVID-19, the Heart of Illinois United Way and our Home for All Continuum of Care recognizes the need for a long-term solution to address the need for easily accessible, safe, and free hygiene for our homeless population. The partnerships we have established to bring HOWIE to central Illinois are the perfect example of how our community was able to collaborate across multiple nonprofit and civic organizations to address a critical need,” Jennifer Zammuto, Heart of Illinois United Way President, said.

Starting late fall, the self-contained winterized HOWIE unit features two complete bathrooms with showers, laundry facilities, and a wheelchair lift. By assisting unsheltered individuals without access to these types of facilities, HOWIE will provide vital services on location throughout the community.

“Wherever there is need, HOWIE can be our first step in providing our population experiencing homelessness with a new level of care that empowers independence, fuels optimism, and improves health – not just physical health, but also self-esteem and mental health. By partnering with the Heart of Illinois United Way and the Home for All Continuum of Care, our outreach program will be able to provide critical support where it is needed most,” Christine Kahl, Phoenix Community Development Services President and CEO, said.

Funds for this mobile hygiene unit were raised from generous community donations from the Heart of Illinois United Way’s COVID-19 Fund. By collaborating and investing in HOWIE, the Heart of Illinois United Way is providing a long-term, sustainable solution to improve health and wellbeing.

Since 2016, the Home for All Continuum of Care has partnered with the Heart of Illinois United Way to build a sustainable collaboration of more than 50 cross-sector organizations aligning to end homelessness in central Illinois through support of individuals and families seeking permanent, safe and affordable housing.

Founded in 1921, the Heart of Illinois United Way brings together individuals from business, labor, government, health and human services to address education, financial stability, and health needs that are vital for building safe and stable lives. The Heart of Illinois United Way is committed to ensuring these fundamentals are available for all individuals in our community. For more information, visit hoiunitedway.org or follow us on social media @hoiunitedway.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Gina Edwards VP of Marketing and Community Engagement at 309-674-5181, ext. 1234 or gina.edwards@local.unitedway.org.

2020 Campaign Kickoff

2020 Campaign Kickoff Message

Check out this special message from our 2020 Campaign Chairs, Seth and Sylvia Davis along with recognition of our 2020 Pacesetter Campaigns (including how much we’ve raised to-date!), and the announcement of our 2020 Hoot Gibson Honoree.

Thank You to Our 2020 Campaign Pacesetters!

Advanced Medical Transport of Central Illinois
Big Brothers Big Sisters, Heart of Illinois
Boy Scouts of America – W.D. Boyce Council
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Peoria, Inc.
CASA of the Tenth Judicial Circuit
CEFCU
The Center for Prevention of Abuse
The Center for Youth & Family Solutions
Children’s Home Association of Illinois
Commerce Bank
Community Workshop & Training Center, Inc.
Crittenton Centers
Dream Center Peoria
Freedom House
Habitat for Humanity – Greater Peoria Area
Heart of Illinois United Way
Heartland Health Services
Hult Center for Healthy Living
Midwest Food Bank
Neighborhood House Association
Pearce Community Center
Phoenix Community Development Services
Prairie State Legal Services, Inc.
Quinn Johnston
River City Construction, LLC
RLI
Tazewell County Resource Centers, Inc.
UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois
Vonachen Group

Community Impact Fund Grants for July 2020 – June 2021 Approved

The Heart of Illinois United Way Board of Directors and Community Impact Fund volunteers recently approved the allocation of grants to support vital health and human care programs throughout central Illinois.

One out of three people in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Marshall, Stark and Putnam counties is helped by Heart of Illinois United Way Community Impact Fund programs and initiatives each year. Over the next year, more than $4.255 million will be directed locally to support critical education, financial stability, and health programs that meet needs identified by the Heart of Illinois United Way’s Community Assessment.

Funding decisions are made by more than 100 local volunteers who collectively represent more than 500 years of combined grant review expertise. This data-driven process is based on a set of measurable outcomes that benchmark how well each funded program impacts the knowledge and behavior of the clients served and if the program is financially viable.

Through this multi-year, competitive grant process, the Heart of Illinois United Way Community Impact Fund not only provides a sustainable and reliable source of funding to our partner agencies, it also provides accountability to United Way donors ensuring charitable investments earn the greatest return.

“During a crisis like the current COVID-19 response, your investment in our Community Impact Fund is the best way to support central Illinois. We leverage your donation to continually build a stable foundation of education, financial stability, and health services that remain strong in times of crisis and adapt to meet the greatest needs over time. For more than 99 years, our United Way has proven our collaborative efforts are built for tough times like these,” Jennifer Zammuto, President of the Heart of Illinois United Way, said.

Education, financial stability, and health are vital for building safe and stable lives. But for too many individuals and families in central Illinois, these fundamentals are out of reach. A quality education is essential to earning a livable wage; improving financial stability leads to increased independence; and access to healthcare promotes wellness for all ages.

Last year, just a few of the results from the Community Impact Fund include:

  • More than 85% of tutoring and after school students achieved academic success
  • More than 94% of adults improved employment
  • More than 93% of children and adults learned how to eat more healthfully

For individuals and families in need of assistance, the Heart of Illinois United Way encourages them to contact our 2-1-1 Information and Referral Service by calling 211 or 309-999-4029 or visiting 211hoi.org. Help is available 24/7.

For more information about the Heart of Illinois United Way’s Community Impact Fund, contact Jennifer Zammuto, President, jennifer.zammuto@local.unitedway.org.

Support COVID-19 Efforts in the Heart of Illinois

Issues such as poverty, family separation, lack of safety, loss of livelihoods, disrupted social networks, and common mental health issues often double in a humanitarian crisis. That’s why the education, financial stability and health programs supported by the Heart of Illinois United Way’s Community Impact Fund are so important during times of crisis … and year-round. Donations made to the Heart of Illinois United Way to support local COVID-19 needs will be invested back into our community through our partner agencies using our data-driven process. Learn more on our donation page.

Jennifer Zammuto: Working Tirelessly Toward a Healthy, Vibrant Community

Jennifer Zammuto

Jennifer Zammuto. Photo by Christie Newell, Sonshine Portrait Design.

When she joined the Heart of Illinois United Way as president last year, Jennifer Zammuto brought to the organization more than 24 years of experience in philanthropy, communications, strategic planning, consulting, team building and project management. Now at the helm of the largest non-governmental funder of health and human care programs in central Illinois, she provides innovation, collaboration, leadership and vision for a diverse team of high-performing leaders, volunteers and staff—all working together to address our region’s greatest needs. Her diverse life experiences and career path have primed her to be the perfect team player, leading the way to the greater collective good.

Read Jennifer Zammuto’s Q&A in the December 2019 issue of Peoria Magazine at https://www.peoriamagazines.com/pm/2019/dec/jennifer-zammuto

Heart of Illinois United Way Celebrates 2019 Year-End Results

Each year, vital health and human care programs supported by the Heart of Illinois United Way’s Community Impact Fund positively impact the lives of 1-in-3 people in central Illinois.

“We want to thank our amazing volunteers and donors. Without them we could not invest in, nor support, the critical needs of our community through our grant allocation process. We sincerely appreciate the generosity and support of central Illinois,” Zammuto added.

Through the Community Impact Fund, the Heart of Illinois United Way collaborates with health and human care agencies, schools, businesses, labor organizations and local government to ensure the fundamentals of education, financial stability and health are available from birth through retirement.

Last year, more than 300 local companies and organizations participated in the Heart of Illinois United Way’s annual campaign. With the support of the local businesses, labor organizations, nonprofit organizations and individuals, the 2019 campaign included 13 new corporate gifts, 29 new employee campaigns, and 54 organizations that increased their donations by 10 percent or more. Investments in the Heart of Illinois United Way’s 2019 Campaign totaled $10,077,577.

“Just like when we depend on a broker for expertise in navigating the stock market, the Heart of Illinois United Way is constantly evaluating data and collaborating with community partners to ensure personal and corporate donations to the United Way have the greatest return on investment. Collectively, our current fund allocation volunteers represent more than 500 years of experience determining the best return on investment for United Way contributions,” Jennifer Zammuto, President, said.

As the largest non-governmental funder of health and human care programs in central Illinois, Heart of Illinois United Way funded programs result in measurable, positive change in central Illinois. Donations to the Community Impact Fund result in more than 80 percent of youth in our education programs improve school readiness and go on to achieve academic success; more than 85 percent of low-income individuals, families, seniors and persons with developmental disabilities are able to live independently in affordable homes; and more than 85 percent of adults and youth improve their overall physical and mental health.

“We want to thank our amazing volunteers and donors. Without them we could not invest in, nor support, the critical needs of our community through our grant allocation process. We sincerely appreciate the generosity and support of central Illinois,” Zammuto added.

The 2019 Best in Class Award winner is Fortress Bank.

Fortress Bank, L-R Jennifer Zammuto, Ken Mauser, Nick Esser, Brooke Spellman and Patrick Urich

The 2019 Campaign Achievement Award winner is The Salvation Army

Salvation Army, L-R Patrick Urich, Tom Fulop, Brooke Spellman and Jennifer Zammuto

Since 2012, the Heart of Illinois United Way has presented two campaign awards, the Best in Class Award and Campaign Achievement Award, to recognize outstanding workplace campaigns. The Best in Class Award is based on employee participation in the workplace campaign, per capita giving and overall percent increase in contributions. This award recognizes a local organization who continuously demonstrates campaign excellence from year to year. The 2019 Best in Class Award winner is Fortress Bank. The Campaign Achievement Award recognizes a campaign that had the largest percentage increase in employee participation. This year’s Campaign Achievement Award winner is The Salvation Army.

The 2020 Heart of Illinois United Way Campaign will be chaired by Seth Davis (RLI) and Sylvia Davis.

Contributions to the Heart of Illinois United Way stay in central Illinois supporting vital health and human care programs throughout Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Stark, Marshall and Putnam counties.

“Most importantly, we need to remember at the end of all of our fundraising efforts are real people, living in challenging situations, that need the support of our partner agencies and schools to positively change their lives,” Zammuto said.

A Community Impacts Success: your donations to the Community Impact Fund will positively change lives in central Illinois

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.

Read more in the September 2019 issue of Peoria Magazine at https://www.peoriamagazines.com/pm/2019/sep/community-impacts-success

Heart of Illinois United Way Kicks Off 2019 Community Campaign

The Heart of Illinois United Way kicked off our 2019 Community Campaign on Friday, September 6 with a breakfast, volunteer event and food drive. Our thanks to PNC for underwriting our kickoff events.

This summer, more than 40 Pacesetters celebrated the United Way and its impact on central Illinois. With lots of special events and fun and games, this year’s Pacesetters worked hard raising more than $1.3 million to-date.

“Thank you to everyone for joining us to kick off the 2019 Campaign. Brooke and I feel so fortunate to partner with you to raise funds for the Heart of Illinois United Way and its partner agencies that work tirelessly to ensure everyone in our community has the opportunity to thrive and has a place to call home,” Patrick Urich, 2019 Campaign Co-Chair, said.

The community’s generous support of the United Way is vital to positively changing lives. Each year, one in three people in our community rely on United Way funded programs and initiatives to improve their education, financial stability and health. Through a data driven process, our United Way evaluates local, critical health and human care trends and applies this ongoing research to our Community Impact Fund grant process. This invests your donations to the Heart of Illinois United Way strategically while providing the best philanthropic return on investment.

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