Press Release: January 15, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 15, 2021

$25,000 AWARDED LOCALLY TO SUPPORT RACIAL HEALING

SPRINGFIELD – United Way of Central Illinois was awarded $25,000 to provide grants to local organizations through the Healing Illinois project for Sangamon and Menard Counties. United Way of Central Illinois announced today the local organizations who will be receiving those grants. In total, $25,000 was awarded to the following organizations:

• Downtown Springfield Inc. – $5,000
• Springfield (IL) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. – $5,000
• Springfield Branch NAACP – $5,000
• Southern Illinois University Medical School Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion – $5,000
• Watson Diversity Solutions, LLC in partnership with United Way of Central Illinois – $5,000

These funds will be used for projects in the community to advance racial equity by promoting dialogue, encouraging collaboration, facilitating learning and seeding connections. All projects will follow the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Compassion and understanding should be at the forefront of our daily lives. We cannot continue on the path of healing without putting both into action, said Dominic Watson, President & CEO, Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce.” “This funding opportunity provided by United Way of Central Illinois helps in moving our community forward one conversation at a time.”

Locally grants were administered in partnership with a panel of experts convened by United Way of Central Illinois including representatives across the Springfield, IL region.

“It starts with small steps and the next steps are harder and may be uncomfortable, but we need to take the time to heal and unite as a community, said John Kelker, President of United Way of Central Illinois. “We are asking the community to participate in these upcoming projects including the United Way of Illinois 21 Week Equity Challenge and to keep learning, to keep ask questions, and to keep having the uncomfortable conversations.”

Healing Illinois is a racial healing initiative of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust, designed to distribute $4.5 million grants to organizations across the state to begin, or continue, the work of racial healing.

Project summaries are listed below:

Grant Recipients and Project Descriptions

  • Downtown Springfield Inc.: Small Business Healing Circles will utilize local Healing Ambassadors recently trained by the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA) to facilitate healing circle experiences for thirty small business owners in the Springfield community. Small business owners, considering their respected standing in our society and the large number of customers they serve, are an important group to be included in a healing process.
  • Springfield (IL) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.: The goal is to promote an open candid forum to focus on holistic racial healing in Sangamon County; encompassing economic, social, health, spiritual/religion and social justice considerations within the entire Sangamon Community.
  • Springfield Branch NAACP: The Springfield Branch NAACP is a cooperative Program and designed for students who have been expelled from the traditional school setting. The goal is to teach alternative energy with special emphasis on Solar helping students realize their full potential by developing positive relationships through interactions with supportive and encouraging Adult Mentors
  • Southern Illinois University Medical School Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion: The objective is to develop a culturally-responsive health initiative that heals the distrust between patients and their providers. This initiative will build off the collaborative work of the annual Kenniebrew forum and triennial Community Health Needs Assessment.
  • Watson Diversity Solutions, LLC in partnership with United Way of Central Illinois: Funding will support a series of six community conversations for participants accepting the 21 Week Equity Challenge. In addition, at each of the community conversation, participants will receive information on programs and activities in the community working to address the prior week’s learning.

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