Join the fight to shift the odds.

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Three black and white images: Teenage boy, Young girl, infant.

Change doesn’t happen alone. Join the fight in Champaign County.

The impact of lacking a high-quality education can start early. Kids who are not strong readers by third grade are less likely to graduate from high school. The consequences stack up from there. High school dropouts are more likely to be arrested, struggle to find employment and face health challenges. With low rates of kindergarten readiness and high rates of chronic absenteeism, the data for our community shows a difficult reality for our kids.

But we can shift those odds.

We – the team at United Way of Champaign County, our partners and supporters like you – immerse ourselves in tough problems like these and we fight. We fight for every child, teen and adult to have the knowledge, skills and experiences they need to succeed in school, work and life.

Why We Fight

We fight so tomorrow’s leaders can build a better foundation today. Education is not just about books for preschoolers or STEM classes for middle schoolers. It’s not only about earning a high school degree or getting training for a better job. Our fight for the education of every person is about an approach to learning and building skills that starts at birth.

How We Fight

We focus on lasting solutions that go beyond short-term charity. These are solutions that start now and continue for generations.

That means bringing together employers, workforce development experts, labor, youth development agencies and other nonprofits—along with community colleges, K-12 educators, higher education leaders and more—to help every young person create a successful pathway from school to career.

What does that look like?

  • Home Visiting and Family Development programs

    • We start connecting with parents even before a child is born. These programs help families learn the hands-on skills they need to help their child succeed in school, work and life.

  • Read. Talk. Play. Every Day!

    • Ensures that every child is ready to succeed by the time they enter kindergarten. We provide easy, free resources and opportunities for parents and caregivers to help their child grow.

  • Developmental Screenings

    • Early intervention can significantly impact a child’s success in school and life. Screenings can identify developmental delays early and help families build a success plan for their child.

  • Reading and Tutoring Programs

    • When kids fall in love with books, they are more likely to become capable readers. We provide individual support to help kids develop the reading skills they’ll need for school and beyond.

  • Afterschool and Summer Academic Support Programs

    • Learning happens all the time. Our programs provide STEM learning opportunities, positive role models, and support for kids when they are not in school.

Who We Fight For

A high-quality education is important for everyone. The data shows there are major inequities for our Black and low-income students. While our programs reach everyone who needs help, we’ve put a special focus on increasing kindergarten readiness rates and third-grade reading and math skills of Black boys and low-income students.

But change doesn’t happen alone. Help improve the lives of people in our community by supporting United Way of Champaign County.


Six black and white images of children in school.