CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is partnering with local businesses and organizations to invest $300,000 to fight violent crime in Champaign County. The university is joined by Busey Bank, Carle Health, Christie Clinic, OSF HealthCare and the United Way of Champaign County, each of which is investing $50,000. Read more about this commitment here.
The funds, named Investment for Impact, will be allocated to the United Way of Champaign County to address immediate solutions to violent crime, as well as long-term solutions to address underlying factors and patterns that lead to future violent behavior.
"Businesses and organizations and their leaders have a responsibility and an obligation to lift up and advance the communities in which they live and work," Chancellor Robert J. Jones said. "We are coming together to do our part by supporting with words, actions and financial support."
Investment for Impact is inspired by and in partnership with Victory over Violence, a solutions-driven response to address violence, begun last fall by WCIA-TV in partnership with the United Way of Champaign County.
Since the initiative launched, 12 programs have received $5,000 each for a total of $60,000 distributed in the community. Funded programs include Shop with a Cop, a program that fosters positive relationships between police officers, children and families; Goal Getters, a partnership with Unit 4 Schools that provides academic and behavioral guidance and mentorship to high school students; and the reward fund for Champaign County Crime Stoppers. The goal of Investment for Impact is to continue to invest in these efforts and expand programming.
Investment for Impact further strengthens the university’s Call to Action to Address Racism and Social Injustice and builds on the work done by the Campus-Community Compact to Accelerate Social Justice, which works with the cities and community organizations to combat systemic racism in our community with six focus areas: accessible technology; community relations; economic development; health, wealth and resilience; inclusive education and workforce development.
“Champaign County is our home, and in the past few years our community has seen a rise in violent crime, especially among youth and young adults,” said Susan Grey, the president and CEO of United Way of Champaign County. “Our county is not alone in this issue: National data show an increase in violent crime across communities in the United States. And while the rise in community violence is national, solutions must be local. Together, we will support proven strategies that work toward solutions to violence, building a brighter future and changing the statistics."
To celebrate this investment, WCIA-TV and the United Way of Champaign County are holding an event on Wednesday, July 13 at 6 p.m. at Hedge Road “Pop Up Park," at the intersection of Hedge Rd and Mattis Ave in Champaign. The event is free, and members of the public are invited to attend.
In addition to the organizational investment, individuals can also support this effort. Funds are managed and administered by United Way. Learn more at their Victory over Violence webpage.
Editor's note: For more information, connect with the media contacts below:
Allison Vance, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 217-333-5010, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue Grey, United Way of Champaign County, 217-352-5151, email@example.com
Kristen Bosch, Busey Bank, 217-365-4721, ext. 54721, Kristen.Bosch@busey.com
Brittany Simon, Carle Health, 217-902-5201, firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Tepovich, Christie Clinic, 217-239-6248, email@example.com
Sarah Kinkade, OSF HeathCare, K.Kinkade@osfhealthcare.org