Take action to help our community

As originally published in The State Journal-Register on August 21, 2021.

Jennifer Gill Image

Each year United Way of Central Illinois calls our community to action to give, advocate or volunteer. This year I am honored to serve as one of the campaign chairs for the annual United Way campaign. I am asking you to join myself and fellow campaign chair Terrance Jordan, director of school leadership & family and community engagement with Springfield Public Schools District 186, to be Better Together for a Better Tomorrow.

For nearly 100 years, United Way has served as the largest private funder of health and human services in Central Illinois. Over the years, United Way’s campaign has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to support local programs, and today their work is more important than ever.

Through it all, United Way continued to improve lives while ramping up its efforts to address a huge increase in need right here in our region. I have seen our United Way partners, our corporate partners, and our entire community step up in extraordinary ways.

I am especially grateful for this year’s United Way Pacesetter Campaigns. These pacesetter companies set the example for each year’s campaign. On behalf of United Way, I’m happy to thank the following pacesetters:

• Bank of Springfield
• The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce
• Hanson Professional Services
• Memorial Health System
• Medics First
• MJ Kellner
• Security Bank
• Sikich
• and 14 of our funded partners.

Their commitment to our community, their dedication and enthusiasm for the 2021 United Way Campaign speaks volumes. Supporting our local nonprofit community and supporting those organizations tackling our community’s greatest challenges is what it takes to be Better Together for a Better Tomorrow.

Terrance and I have a unique lens from which we see the community. We see every age, every income and every race. We know our community is beautiful. We see such success every single day that defies the odds, and a lot of that success is made possible because of the work of United Way in supporting programs outside of the classroom.

Providing books to our youngest children to fostering strong parental / caregiver attachments and a love of reading, stabilizing families by supporting housing, employment supports, and after school programming, and lastly investing in critical resources to support the mental health of children and families that we know underpins everything.

We need to do more than adapt to a post-pandemic world. We need to build a better one. Countless people in our community need our support. Today I ask you to join us in making your gift to United Way of Central Illinois.

Partner with us as we reimagine a future that encourages us to be Better Together for a Better Tomorrow. A tomorrow full of hope, a tomorrow where our community is united to address the basic needs, education, financial stability, and health of all of our neighbors. To reach that new tomorrow, we need everyone to take action today.

Your gift no matter how large or small makes a difference.

Jennifer Gill is the superintendent of Springfield School District 186 and a campaign co-chair of the annual United Way campaign.