The United Way of Pekin is one of over 1,400 autonomous community or regional United Ways that help meet local health and human-care needs. United Ways support not only "traditional" agencies, but also those that are addressing new and emerging community needs. Each local United Way board of directors determines its own community's needs, the agencies it will fund and allocates the funds accordingly.
The United Way of Pekin was founded in 1955 by 40 like minded citizens of Pekin and they sent a letter to the Pekin Association of Commerce stating that Pekin should have a Community Chest independent from Peoria's Community Chest and Red Cross.
The first 15 board members were elected June 29, 1955 at a public organizational meeting. Each board member pledged $10.00. Today we still have 15 community minded citizens representing different industries in our community.
1956 was the 1st campaign year and the goal was set at $47,203 and was exceeded with $50,107 raised. The 5 agencies that received funding that year were American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Salvation Army and the YWCA. The last few years our United Way has funded approximately 20 agencies annually.
In 1962 the Pekin Community Chest changed its name to the Pekin United Fund. The name was changed one last time in 1973 to the current United Way of Pekin. In 1964 we became a non-profit organization.
There has been one President and six Executive Directors. The focus of United Way in 1955 was to support Youth Programs, Family and Health Services. Today our issue areas are Income, Education and Health.
The decisions as to which community agencies receive United Way of Pekin funds and how much they receive is not arrived at casually. The entire volunteer Board of Directors acts as the review/allocation committee. Any tax exempt, volunteer governed, human service or health care agency may apply for funding. The office monitors the activities, services and budget of all agencies. This process governs both the size of each year's monetary allocation and whether the agency will continue to be part of the United Way of Pekin. This year we will partner with 16 agencies that are providing 28 programs.
An Executive Director and Administrative Assistant are the only permanent staff. The United Way of Pekin building was donated in 1986 by Dr. and Mrs. J.A. Aimone and was relocated in 1999 by Gallatin River Communications to their current location at 206 N. Fourth.