CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Six groups across Champaign-Urbana pledged a total of $300,000 to help combat violence. It’s part of the WCIA 3 plan to achieve Victory Over Violence.
Several groups received money that will be used to help pay for a safer Champaign County. The money, deemed investment for impact, will be put back into the community through both immediate and long-term solutions to solving violent crime.
“We have to be part of the short-term solution as well as the long-term solution,” said Chancellor Robert Jones of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was one of six organizations that donated $50,000 to commit to building a stronger, healthier community. The university wasn’t alone. The United Way of Champaign County also contributed $50,000 totaling $300,000 altogether.
Sue Grey with United Way said this money will help kids succeed and the effort goes beyond donations.
“It’s the people power that actually makes it happen that’s what’s cool about this,” Grey said. “Volunteers, local non-profits, business leaders, all joining together and saying we can do better, and we will do better.”
Champaign Goal Getters is one of the recipients. Its goal is to reduce violence and provide leadership skills to youth in Champaign.
“Working in programs that would teach them entrepreneurship which we’re getting ready to start and it’s also an opportunity for them to find out who they are culturally,” said Goal getters’ Sheldon Turner Sr.
Chancellor Jones said organizations teaming up to raise money is only part of the solution.
“To be a more strategic partners with others in the community to solve a whole host of societal problems,” Jones said.
“We need more,” Turner Sr. said. “It’s not just a fix-all. The money is not just a fix all, but we need to start interventions earlier, like as early as elementary school and continue that all the way through.”
In the end, recipients said these donations will be an investment in the health and safety of this vital community. A United Way spokesperson said an advisory committee will make decisions about where the grants will go. Some of the money has already been distributed to partners from last fall.
The rest of the money will be part of a grant application process that starts on Thursday.