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.

Homelessness: ‘It could be a solvable problem here’

Kevin Nowlan doesn’t see more cots in emergency shelters solving the homeless problem in central Illinois. “Permanent housing is the answer,” said the Continuum of Care director with the Heart of Illinois United Way, the agency that last year took over management of the region’s homeless care program. But it’s a matter of taking one step at a time, he said. “We don’t have the housing stock for all of the homeless people in the area. That’s why we’re prioritizing,” said Nowlan. Read More at www.pjstar.com…

2017 Philanthropists of the Year – Mark & Reneé Spenny

The 2017 Philanthropists of the Year award was presented to Mark and Reneé Spenny at the fall Tocqueville Society Reception. Giving back to the community is important Mark and Reneé Spenny. Together, they have given generously of their time, talents and treasure to numerous organizations in central Illinois.

Mark and Reneé Spenny

In 2007, the Heart of Illinois United Way established the Philanthropists of the Year to recognize members of the Tocqueville Society who are committed to the health and well-being of central Illinois. Each year, the award honors individuals or couples for their leadership, dedication, and inspiration in creating a lasting positive impact on the quality of life in our community.

The 2017 Philanthropists of the Year award was presented to Mark and Reneé Spenny at the fall Tocqueville Society Reception. Giving back to the community is important Mark and Reneé Spenny. Together, they have given generously of their time, talents and treasure to numerous organizations in central Illinois.

In 2010, Mark and Reneé chaired the Heart of Illinois United Way’s annual campaign, raising more than $8.7 million. Mark is President and CEO of CEFCU and Reneé Spenny has been employed in real estate title and loans. They have volunteered for numerous local nonprofits and most recently, Mark served as Chair of the Heart of Illinois United Way’s Board of Directors and Reneé served on the Power of the Purse steering committee. Continue reading

Sally Snyder, 2017 Hoot Gibson Honoree

2017 Hoot Gibson Honoree Sally Snyder with Board Chair Tim Neuhauser

Sally Snyder with Board Chair Tim Neuhauser

Since 1985, the Heart of Illinois United Way has recognized a volunteer who spends countless hours working without fanfare to help others. The annual Hoot Gibson award is presented in memory of Horace J. “Hoot” Gibson, who pursued his goals in a quiet, determined manner, caring little if others knew of his accomplishments. For her volunteer leadership in central Illinois and outstanding support for Heart of Illinois United Way, Sally Snyder was awarded the 2017 Hoot Gibson Award.

Sally first became involved with the Heart of Illinois United Way as a board member in the mid-1990s and just finished another term of office. As a long-time supporter of the United Way, she’s been a member of the Success By 6 steering committee and has been instrumental in our support of early childhood education. She also serves on the health and rehabilitation allocations panel and devotes countless hours each year reviewing grants and attending agency presentations. Over the years, she has also served on our Pillars Society and Strategic Planning committees.

With a passion for education, Sally Snyder has spent years on the Peoria Public Schools’ board including serving as board president. In addition, she has provided volunteer leadership to numerous nonprofit organizations including the Hult Center for Healthy Living, Peoria Riverfront Museum, WTVP, Peoria Promise, Heartland Health Services and Advanced Medical Transport of Central Illinois.

Congratulations to Sally!

Volunteers kick off annual United Way campaign with Day of Caring

Peoria Journal Star

Nearly 1,700 volunteers from central Illinois businesses and not-for-profits spent the day Friday lending a hand at United Way partner agencies to help kick off the annual Heart of Illinois United Way campaign. This year’s traditional Day of Caring activities contributed more than 6,600 volunteer hours at those agencies, setting the tone for the ongoing efforts to encourage people to continue to give back to the broader community. Read More at www.pjstar.com…

25 News Day of Caring Campaign on Final Day

We want to thank the overwhelming response from viewers who have participated in our Day of Caring Campaign all this week. Together with United Way and the Midwest Food Bank, we’ve been collecting your donations to help combat hunger. Some of that food is headed to help victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. But some of that food is also staying right here to help those in need in Central Illinois. Read More at week.com…

2017 Jim and Katie Owens Partner Award

(L-R) Tami Meister, Vice Chair of the Crittenton Centers Board; Jeff Gress, President and CEO of Crittenton Centers; Jennifer Zammuto, Caterpillar Inc.; and Tim Neuhauser, Envision Insurance and Chair of the Heart of Illinois United Way Board of Directors.

(L-R) Tami Meister, Vice Chair of the Crittenton Centers Board; Jeff Gress, President and CEO of Crittenton Centers; Jennifer Zammuto, Caterpillar Inc.; and Tim Neuhauser, Envision Insurance and Chair of the Heart of Illinois United Way Board of Directors.

Congratulations to Crittenton Centers who was recently awarded the Heart of Illinois United Way’s 2017 Jim and Katie Owens Partner Award at the 2017 Annual Meeting on July 25.

In 2007, the Heart of Illinois United Way created the United Way Partner Award that is presented annually to a United Way agency in recognition of their outstanding leadership, collaboration and engagement with the Heart of Illinois United Way. In 2009, Jim and Katie Owens were presented with the Heart of Illinois United Way’s Philanthropist of the Year award at the Toqueville Society reception.

Over the years, Jim and Katie Owens have provided outstanding volunteer leadership to the United Way and our partner agencies. They have served on our campaign cabinet, board of directors and several committees. To recognize them for their tremendous support, in 2009 the United Way Partner Award was renamed in their honor to be the Jim and Katie Owens Partner Award.

As the 2017 recipient of the Jim and Katie Owens Partner Award, Crittenton Centers has been a member of the Heart of Illinois United Way family of agencies since the very beginnings of the United Way in 1921. Continue reading

Heart of Illinois United Way Host Wine Tasting for Tocqueville Society

On June 22, the Heart of Illinois United Way hosted a Wine Tasting for the Tocqueville Society at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. More than 100 guests and volunteers enjoyed a fun night out to support the education, financial stability and health programs in central Illinois. Our thanks to the sponsors who made the event happen…Digital Copy Systems, Mike and Margee Cullinan, UFS, Peoria Riverfront Museum, and The Kwon Gallup Group – Morgan Stanley.

EP!C Clients to Receive a New Pair of Shades from Generous Donation by Bard Optical

EP!C clients had it made in the shade on April 21 when Bard Optical stopped by to donate 250 pairs of sunglasses.

EP!C clients had it made in the shade on April 21 when Bard Optical stopped by to donate 250 pairs of sunglasses. Diana Hall, Heart of Illinois United Way board member, was proud to provide these sunglasses for clients of EP!C. She continues to give back to the communities that have supported Bard Optical for more than 75 years.

As a co-chair of the Heart of Illinois United Way’s Solution Council, Hall works with more than 100 volunteers each year to help distribute United Way funding to 87 health and human programs at 46 United Way partner agencies including EP!C.

“We are so grateful to Bard Optical and Diana’s support of the Heart of Illinois United Way and our work in central Illinois. Her volunteer leadership and generosity have made a profound difference in our community,” Michael Stephan, President of the Heart of Illinois United Way, said. Continue reading

Success By 6 Participated in Read Across America Day

Celebrated annually on Dr. Seuss' birthday, March 2, 2017, Read Across America Day is a nationwide celebration with thousands of schools, libraries, and agencies bringing together children and volunteers for reading, crafts and activities.

The Heart of Illinois United Way’s Success By 6 program participated in the National Education Association’s 2017 Read Across America Day.

Celebrated annually on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, March 2, 2017, Read Across America Day is a nationwide celebration with thousands of schools, libraries, and agencies bringing together children and volunteers for reading, crafts and activities.

In central Illinois, Success By 6 had more than 70 volunteers at its partner preschools to read the 50th Anniversary Edition of Dr. Seuss’ Come Over to My House and assist the students with a craft related to Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat.

Success By 6 is the Heart of Illinois United Way’s early childhood education initiative that provides teachers and parents with opportunities to best impact preschool students’ early learning experiences in reading, math, and social-emotional health. Led by a community-based team of business leaders, educators, and early childhood advocates, Success By 6 strives to ensure children from birth to age six, are healthy, safe, nurtured, and ready to succeed. Continue reading

2016 Heart of Illinois United Way Campaign Raises More than $11 million

2016 alignright Chairs, Tom Jenkins and Katie McCord Jenkins, present the 2016 Campaign results with help from Campaign Ambassadors Art Oakford, Kaci Hampton, Laura Luthy Crowley, Holland Nickerson and Ron Hale.

2016 Campaign Chairs, Tom Jenkins and Katie McCord Jenkins, present the 2016 Campaign results with help from Campaign Ambassadors Art Oakford, Kaci Hampton, Laura Luthy Crowley, Holland Nickerson and Ron Hale.

The Heart of Illinois United Way 2016 Campaign Chairs, Tom Jenkins and Katie McCord Jenkins, announced Tuesday, January 31 that the 2016 Campaign raised $11,042,893.

Each year, more than 300 local companies and organizations participate in the annual campaign. In 2016, a $265,000 Challenge Grant, sponsored by Caterpillar Inc., CEFCU and UnityPoint Health – Methodist | Proctor, matched new or increased contributions expanding the Heart of Illinois United Way’s base of support. For this past campaign, there were 20 new corporate gifts and 23 new employee campaigns; 57 organizations increased their contributions to the United Way by 10 percent or more.

“The people of central Illinois are one of the most generous in the nation. Compared to the largest United Way organizations across the United States, we are one of the smallest metropolitan populations to raise more than $11 million annually. The results of our 2016 Campaign are because we continue to expand our base of support with local companies and donors. It is our mission to be good stewards of our community’s charitable investments and provide a reliable and steady source of income for our partner agencies,” Michael Stephan, Heart of Illinois United Way President, said. Continue reading