By the Community, For the Community

by Tara Gerstner
Peoria Promise Foundation

Strengthening Peoria’s future—that is what local companies and individuals are doing by supporting the Peoria Promise Foundation. The current economic climate has many students and parents wondering if they will be able to handle the high costs of college tuition. Many students across the nation are left with little hope of continuing their education after high school. Thankfully for students graduating in the Peoria area, that concern is alleviated with the help of the Peoria Promise Foundation and its supporters. The Foundation is providing the necessary tools to ensure Peoria will be better positioned and more competitive in the future with a stronger and more educated workforce.

With a goal of creating a more vibrant economy for Peoria, a group of community-minded individuals led by Mayor Jim Ardis started the Peoria Promise Foundation in 2007. The mission of the organization is to support economic development in the city of Peoria through enhancement of workforce skills and academic opportunities for the graduates of Peoria schools. Our economy is directly influenced by the level of education and skills of the work force. Similar programs in communities like ours have seen:

  • Better educated local workforce and corresponding income level increases
  • Reduced dropout rate and increased high school graduation rate
  • Housing market improvement: Homes sold rose nearly 7%, compared to about 5% regional decline. Community median home prices rose almost 4%.
  • 70% of funded students stay in the community.

Peoria Promise Foundation provides students with a two-year scholarship to Illinois Central College covering tuition and fees. The Foundation supports residents of the city of Peoria who have graduated from a public high school as of 2008. The goal of the program is to provide Peoria with a much-needed skilled and educated workforce to fill the gap of open positions.

The Foundation started offering scholarships to the graduating class of 2008. Thus far, the Foundation has supported a total of 245 students in the fall 2008 semester alone. It is projected to support over 500 students per year as the program grows.

Peoria Promise is an example of the community giving back to the community. The organization is funded entirely by individual citizens and businesses of Peoria. Numerous local companies have realized the impact this program will have on Peoria and have already supported Peoria Promise. Below is a list of the Foundation’s major donors supporting with a gift of $5,000 or greater.

  • Caterpillar Inc.
  • OSF Saint Francis Medical Center
  • Illinois-American Water
  • William T. Kemper Foundation Company
  • David Vaughn Investments
  • Community Foundation
  • OSF Health Plans of Central Illinois
  • Archer Daniels Midland Co.
  • CEFCU • Henricks Foundation
  • RLI Corp.
  • Waste Management
  • ELM
  • Robert W. Baird
  • Chinn Charitable Fund
  • AmerenCILCO

For the 2009/2010 school year, an approximate amount of $900,000 is required to continue our developmental efforts through education, for which we have commitments from local businesses for $300,000. An ongoing amount of $1.5 million is estimated to be the yearly cost of the program.

Now is the time to support the Peoria economy by donating to an organization that is dedicated to strengthening the local workforce. Everywhere you turn, you see signs of a worsening economic climate. I urge you to do something to improve the situation. By donating to the Peoria Promise Foundation, you are joining a list of local businesses and individuals that believe by creating a more educated and skilled workforce, you are strengthening our local community.

To donate to this extraordinary organization, please visit our website at peoriapromise.com or send a check made payable to Peoria Promise to:

Peoria Promise Foundation
331 Fulton St., Suite 310
Peoria, IL 61602

Peoria Promise is funded by the community for the community. Your dollars will make a difference. iBi

Add new comment

This question is used to prevent automated spam submissions.