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.

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

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 called HOWIE (“Hygiene. On. Wheels. Independence. Empowered.”) to support individuals experiencing homelessness in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and Fulton counties.

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 puts individuals experiencing homeless onto the path towards stable housing through vital resources such as emergency shelter, case management, mental health services, workforce readiness support, and more.

“HOWIE does more than provide a shower and clean clothes, it provides a fresh start for those in need. With the ongoing response to COVID-19, the Heart of Illinois United Way and our Home for All Continuum of Care recognized the need for a long-term solution to address the need for easily accessible, safe, and free hygiene for individuals experiencing homelessness in our community,” Jennifer Zammuto, Heart of Illinois United Way President, said.

The self-contained HOWIE unit will be operated by Phoenix Community Development Service’s Street Outreach team. It 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.

“Proper hygiene is now more important than ever, especially for those already at high risk for contracting COVID-19 because of their housing situation. Personal hygiene is also critical to dignity and quality of life. HOWIE will contribute substantially to improved physical and mental well-being and better access to employment for those experiencing homelessness in our community,” Christine Kahl, CEO of Phoenix Community Development Services, 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.

Read more in the news:

Heart of Illinois United Way Announces 2020 Campaign Results

The Heart of Illinois United Way has proven time and again that we are built to support central Illinois in times like these. Through our Community Impact Fund, we are able to adapt to changing needs while providing a solid foundation of services year-round.

Each year, more than 300 local companies and organizations participate in our annual campaign. In 2020, there were 12 new corporate gifts, 20 corporate gifts with a 10% or more increase, nine new employee campaigns, and 33 organizations that increased their donations to the United Way by 10% or more. Investments in the Heart of Illinois United Way’s 2020 Campaign totaled $9,104,072. Watch the 2020 Campaign Announcement here…

Annually, the Campaign Achievement and Best-in-Class Awards are one way we recognize local companies who improve their campaigns. Pearl Companies received the Campaign Achievement Award for the largest percentage increase in employee participation; and Fortress Bank received, for the second year in a row, the Best-in-Class Award for continued campaign excellence from year to year. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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, .

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.