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Future remains bright United Way of Central Illinois as changes loom

Future remains bright United Way of Central Illinois as changes loom

Future remains bright United Way of Central Illinois as changes loom

As I prepare to transition out of my role as Board Chair for the United Way of Central Illinois, I can’t help but feel a mix of emotions.

Pride, gratitude, and excitement for the future all swirl together as I look back on the 2024-2025 year and forward to what lies ahead. Throughout my tenure, I’ve always believed in “having fun while winning,” and I’m pleased to say that this past year has embodied that philosophy in every way.

When I stepped into the role of Board Chair, I knew we faced significant challenges. The lingering effects of the pandemic, economic uncertainties, and evolving community needs all demanded our attention and innovative solutions. But I also saw a tremendous opportunity – a chance to show how United Way serves Central Illinois and make a lasting impact on the lives of our neighbors.

Since day one, our board and staff embraced a spirit of collaboration and creativity. We set ambitious goals, not just in terms of fundraising, but in how we could truly move the needle on pressing issues like education, financial stability, and health. Looking back, I’m amazed at what we’ve accomplished together.

One of our proudest achievements was the Annual Meeting Experience. By telling Bethany’s empowering story, we were able to see the impact that United Way has on the community. Bethany’s story is one of hope and potential. United Way funding provided a path for Bethany to lift herself up. She is thriving today because of the community support she received along the way.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the incredible generosity of our donors and the tireless efforts of our volunteers. I’m continually humbled by the way Central Illinois shows up for its community. Whether it was through our workplace giving campaign or the numerous hours donated during our Day of Action events, the spirit of collaboration and compassion was palpable.

As I reflect on the past year, I’m reminded of the countless moments that brought a smile to my face. We were always able to find ways to infuse fun into our mission-driven work. These moments of levity and connection weren’t just about boosting morale; they fueled our creativity and strengthened our bonds as a team.

Now, as I prepare to hand over the reins to Tammy Gilchrese, our incoming Board Chair, I’m filled with optimism for the future of United Way of Central Illinois. The foundation we’ve built over the past year is strong, and I have no doubt that the organization will continue to thrive and innovate in service of our community under her leadership.

My journey with United Way is far from over, though. I’m excited to step into my new role as Board Development Chair, where I’ll have the opportunity to help shape the future leadership of our organization. Cultivating diverse, passionate, and skilled board members is crucial to United Way’s long-term success, and I’m eager to bring my “having fun while winning” mentality to this important work.

In this new capacity, I’ll focus on identifying and recruiting individuals who not only bring valuable expertise but also share our commitment to creating lasting change in Central Illinois. We will work on enhancing board engagement, providing meaningful development opportunities, and ensuring that our leadership reflects the rich diversity of our community.

As I look ahead, I see so much potential for United Way to grow and evolve. The challenges facing our community are complex, but I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of collective impact. By continuing to foster innovation, embrace collaboration, and yes, have a little fun along the way, I believe we can create a brighter future for all in Central Illinois.

To my fellow board members, our dedicated staff, our generous donors, and our tireless volunteers – thank you. Your passion, creativity, and unwavering commitment to improving lives have made this past year truly exceptional. As I transition to my new role, I carry with me countless memories and a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity to serve alongside such remarkable individuals.

The work of United Way is never done, but with every life we ​​touch and every positive change we create, we move closer to our vision of a thriving community for all. As we continue this journey together, let’s remember to celebrate our victories, learn from our challenges, and always find joy in the important work we do.

Here’s to another year of “having fun while winning” – because when United Way wins, our entire community wins. The best is yet to come for Central Illinois, and I can’t wait to see what we’ll accomplish next.

Amy Beadle is the Marketing Manager at Visit Springfield Illinois. Find out more about United Way on their website uwcil.org or on their social media pages.