I was recently part of helping with the community commitment grants review committee for the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois (CFECI).
It all started through joining an effort with CFECI for the Aspiring Philanthropists Giving Circle. They asked if I would be interested in supporting the community commitment grant review. I was honored. This meant I had the privilege to review multiple applications from many important not-for-profits that serve central Illinois.
I got to go out into the community and visit with some of the organizations that applied for grants to see the work they do and learn more about their needs. These organizations serve the community in very different ways, which makes the review process that much harder.
I was familiar with some of the organizations through my outreach work for Health Alliance. We drive out to the communities we serve to build relationships there.
That’s our local commitment. We’re not just all about health insurance but rather, how to keep a community viable and sustainable so people who live there feel good about where they live. It’s very important for us to engage and participate in these communities by serving in capacities like I do with the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois.
But let me get back to sharing my experience with the grant reviews.
There’s so much value in getting to spend time with individuals who are so passionate about the work they do. Did you know that Rantoul, IL, has the Rantoul Historical Society Museum? I really enjoyed meeting with Jim and learning more about its mission. It also preserves the brown and white mustang horse that used to be at the Ben Franklin dime store, which brought back so many memories of riding that horse when I was younger.
I also got to spend time meeting with Patrice from the Peace Meal Senior Nutrition Program, working by the Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County in Rantoul, Marcie from the Survivor Resource Center in Danville, and Beth from the Hoopeston Multi-Agency Service Center. It was such a pleasure to meet all of them and hear about the important needs their organizations have.
They all demonstrate passion for serving their communities, working on very limited resources and budgets while staying positive so the clients they serve have the best experience.
The volunteers who serve in these organizations exhibit the same passion and commitment to showing up every day to make a difference. Each one of them lit up when they were describing their programs and services and how they impact people’s lives.
That meant a lot to me during the grant review process. When you go in thinking about how you’re going to support this important financial decision you need to know that the people behind it are also just as committed to using dollars wisely and creating successful outcomes.
This is one of the many reasons I love working for Health Alliance. We’re committed to helping care for those in the communities we serve.
If you get an opportunity to participate on a committee or board in the nonprofit space, it’s very fulfilling. A great place to start is with joining programs like Aspiring Philanthropists or projects the United Way supports. Or if you feel compelled, donate.
If you have questions on where to turn, don’t hesitate to reach out. We may not have all the answers, but we know who in the community does and are happy to connect you!
Terra Mullins leads the Community Outreach Team at Health Alliance. She is a wife, a mother, and has two really cute Mal-Shi pups! She loves nature and learning new things.
Like this article? Feel free to respond to Longview@HealthAlliance.org. Thanks for reading!