Heart of Illinois
United Way

Leadership Giving

At the core of every community are leaders
whose caring and generosity set the course for others.

Each year, thousands of individuals, couples and families partner with the Heart of Illinois United Way as leadership givers to significantly improve education, financial stability and health throughout central Illinois.

Our leadership givers truly exemplify a standard of commitment to our region. Their contributions are leveraged to support the most effective, measurable outcomes that meet our communities greatest needs. Heart of Illinois United Way Leadership Giving levels include:

  • TOCQUEVILLE SOCIETY - Gifts of $10,000 or more
  • PILLARS SOCIETY - Gifts total $1,000 or more


Tocqueville Society membership represents gifts of $10,000 or more from individuals and couples. In 2016, the Society’s 77 members contributed a record $1,718,608.

Philanthropists of the Year

Established in 2007, the Philanthropists of the Year award recognizes members of the United Way's Tocqueville Society who are committed to the health and well-being of central Illinois. The award honors individuals or couples for their leadership, dedication, and inspiration - thereby creating lasting impact on the quality of life in our community.

2016       Bernie and Teresa Koch
2015       Jim & Deb Bowers
2014       Steve and Bonnie Gosselin
2013       Stephen and Patricia Bash
2012       Leonard Sachs
2011       Stu & Nancy Levenick
2010       Bill & Margie Springer
2009       Jim & Katie Owens
2008       Kay & Michel McCord
2007       Bielfeldt Foundation


Pillars Society membership includes individuals and couples whose annual gifts total $1,000 or more.  With more than 1,300 members,  the Pillars Society raised $3,807,584 in 2016.

Can our gift be combined to qualify for Pillars Society membership?

Yes! Couples may pledge at their workplaces, and if the combined pledges total $1,000 or more they are eligible. It is necessary to notify United Way of their pledges because if each individual gift does not total $1,000, the employer would not be aware of the eligibility.

Are Pillars Society gifts counted in employee campaign results?

Most definitely! Gifts through the Pillars Society significantly benefit the community and dramatically improve employee giving results.

Do Pillars Society members receive special recognition?

There is a special reception for members each fall. Additionally, members who choose to be recognized have their names listed in a special membership directory. All costs of the Pillars Society are underwritten by corporate sponsors, thus ensuring that the contributed dollars go to the services to which they are intended.

How do I become a Pillars Society member?

Simply complete the Pillars Society pledge card provided by your organization, contact your employee campaign chair, or call Stephen Peterson, Vice President of Resource Development at 309-674-5181, ext. 1232.

Our annual Leadership Giving Registry is published each June. Click here to download...

Donor Advised Fund -  The Impact of Giving, Simplified.

The Heart of Illinois United Way Donor Advised Fund is an account established to allow donors (individuals or businesses) to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit and distribute grants from the fund over time. A donor using the Donor Advised Fund can make a tax deductible gift now and decide who will benefit from the gift at a later date, even in a different tax year. Click here for more information.