How did you become involved with the Community Foundation of Central Illinois?
I have watched and applauded the growth of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois since 1985 when the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce enlisted a group of volunteers to devise strategies for community improvement. I was fortunate enough to be asked to chair the committee that looked at social services and the arts. After extensive research and community input, our group recommended the formation of the Peoria Area Community Foundation, now CFCI. In just 36 years, the Foundation has turned a $500,000 start up gift from Caterpillar, thus establishing the Caterpillar Community Leadership Fund, into a nearly $75 million dollar organization that has supported many programs and services to improve the quality of life throughout central Illinois. More than $106.5 million has been granted since 1985. The vision and dedication of the Foundation’s volunteers and staff has made CFCI a vital part of our community, enriching thousands of lives through prudent and thoughtful distribution of funds that caring donors entrusted to the Foundation. It was a true privilege to be part of the birth of what has come to be a community icon.
What do you like about your volunteer service with CFCI?
I love serving on the CFCI Board. It is a great opportunity to work with amazing volunteers and staff and to experience the goodness and heart in our community and the vision and generosity of donors. I am truly awed by the myriad of helping organizations and the good people working to make our community better. Serving on the CFCI board reinforces my conviction that our community has the leaders, the volunteers, the donors, the agencies and organizations and the will to work together to build the future we envision.
What should everyone know about CFCI?
The Community Foundation means something different to everyone because each of us know it in a different way. Some have been helped by programs funded through a CFCI grant. Some have realized their philanthropic dreams are creating a fund at the Foundation to support a cause they love, and others have found partners and expanded their capacity to serve. So, even though we may all know a different aspect of the Foundation, the important thing is that CFCI connects people who care with causes that matter and good things happen!
What are you looking forward to the most with CFCI in the next 5 years?
I look forward to CFCI continuing to be a key thought leader, problem solver and coalition builder as our area faces the many changes and challenges ahead. CFCI’s ability to anticipate and resolve community needs will be even more valuable in the future. The Foundation attracts leaders, volunteers and donors who work together to support significant community programs and apply resources to fill critical gaps. It’s aim is to provide sustainable philanthropic impact through visible leadership, and I believe that is exactly what the community can depend on.