Photo Courtesy of Heart of Illinois United Way
by Douglas Edwin
Both the United Way of McLean County and Heart of Illinois United Way have kicked off their 2014 annual fundraising campaigns with high hopes of raising even more money than last year.
In 2013 the United Way of McLean County was able to raise $4,013,334 dollars, which helped provide resources to over 60 partner programs that are managed by more than 30 local non-profit organizations.
They kicked off their 2014 Campaign in July at a Normal CornBelters game, which was sponsored by the Illinois Farm Bureau. The campaign will continue to run through the end of December, with the results of the campaign being announced in January.
On September 5th the Heart of Illinois United Way, which serves Marshall, Peoria, Putnam, Stark, Tazewell and Woodford Counties, held a kickoff breakfast for the 2014 campaign, which saw a record attendance of over 700 people.
During the kickoff they announced that early fundraising by 36 companies has already contributed $1.1 million to the 2014 campaign.
“The Peoria area is a very generous and compassionate community,” Michael Stephan, President of the Heart of Illinois United Way, said. “In fact, over the past ten years we’ve gone from raising approximately $6 million dollars to $10.8 million dollars, which is how much we raised last year.”
One of the main reasons for the growth is believed to be the organizations focus on results.
“We have implemented an outcome based fund distribution process,” Stephan said. “When we give money to one of our partner agencies we fund specific programs and services that can demonstrate the tangible results showing an impact in the community.”
The Heart of Illinois United Way has 43 partner agencies they work with in the community, and support over 80 programs and services provided by them.
Raising funds for United Way has become increasingly important in recent years.
“Unfortunately in the last few years our partner agencies have received cuts of over $10 million in funding from the state government,” Stephan said. “We are the second largest funder of Health and Human Services in our community so it puts some pressure on us to raise the maximum dollars so we can ensure these vital programs and services continue in the area.”
While a large portion of the funds are raised through workplace campaigns, there are plenty of other ways for individuals to help out and raise money.
By visiting either United Ways website you can make a donation or find other ways to help out.
On October 11th Advanced Technology Services will be holding the Superhero 5K and Kids’ Villain Chase to benefit the Heart of Illinois United Way.
The 5K will take place along the Peoria Riverfront, where participants are encouraged to dress up as their favorite superhero. More information on the 5K can be found at
More information on how you can help out the United Way of McLean County can be found on their website at http://www.uwaymc.org or by calling them at 309-828-7383.
More information on how you can help out the Heart of Illinois United Way can be found on their website at http://www.hoiunitedway.org or by calling them at 309-674-5181.