University, businesses partner with United Way to support Victory over Violence

Five people holding promotional checks for $50,000 each

Thanks to a generous $300,000 donation, United Way will be able to provide local programs with critical financial resources to expand their violence prevention work.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 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.

Investment for Impact funds will address immediate solutions to violent crime, as well as long-term solutions to address underlying factors and patterns that lead to future violent behavior.

“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 President/CEO of United Way of Champaign County Susan Grey. “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.”

Solutions-Driven Response

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.

See the WCIA 3 special Spotlight on Solutions special to learn more about this partnership and the work that is already happening.

Since the initiative launched, 12 programs have received $5,000 each for a total of $60,000 distributed in the community. These grant awards provided meaningful support to small, grassroots organizations who have limited budgets. The initial partners started their work in January 2022, and have made great progress.

Fund Distribution Plan

$300,000 is a lot of money. In consultation with the donors, United Way has built a strong plan to distribute those dollars wisely. A majority of the funds will be awarded through United Way's grant process, with the guidance and support of an incredible Victory over Violence Investment for Impact advisory committee. Grant applications are available now.

11 of our initial grant partners will receive $5,000 each so they can expand their work. Additionally, $70,000 in funds will be directed to Champaign County Crimestoppers to enable them to increase their tip line reward.

Strategic, Evidence-Based Goals

At United Way, everything we do is rooted in research, community, and collaboration. We are active, founding members of the Champaign County Community Coalition. We based our Victory over Violence goals on the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) Statewide Violence Prevention Plan. We also referenced the City of Champaign's Violence Prevention Blueprint, and spoke with subject-matter experts. 

Grant awards support programming that works towards our four goals:

  • Stop Violence and Promote Safety
  • Support Children, Youth and Families by Emphasizing Programs that Foster Social Connectedness and Belonging 
  • Support Health
  • Promote Collaboration Across State, Municipal and Community-Based Agencies 

Solutions require resources. That's why we're incredibly grateful to have the support of leading businesses in our community. By working together, we can achieve our goal of Victory over Violence.

Five people holding promotional checks for $50,000 each