Prairieland United Way Announce Campaign Chairs Ahead of Official Kick Off Next Week

By Jeremy Coumbes on September 1, 2020 at 6:11pm

Prairieland United Way is kicking off for their 2020 campaign today with the announcement of this year’s leadership team.

Prairieland United Way is a non-profit organization that helps local people by raising and distributing funds for health, education and employment-related service programs in Morgan, Scott, Cass and northern Greene counties.

Karen Walker, Executive Director of Prairieland United Way says the 2020 campaign theme is “United Together, Now More Than Ever” and 2020 Co-Chairs Reggie and Cynthia Benton are the perfect pair to live out the theme by example.

They made the comment that maybe this wasn’t a great year to step up and say they would be Campaign Chair, and I said no I think this is the perfect year for them. They have the voice of the community and are obviously a well known family in the Jacksonville area. At Benton and Associates Reggie leads the team there and Cynthia, she has a lifetime history of working in Jacksonville.

You know they just are great people and just in a short meeting with them it was very clear how passionate they are about the need and why our responsibility as a community to take care of our neighbors is so important.”

Walker says new Prairieland United Way Board President Barb Davenport started her new position on July 1st, and Walker is excited for what Davenport can bring to the campaign this year along with the Bentons.

Very caring, if anyone knows Barb Davenport they know she has a heart of gold. In everything she does she works hard and she has a deep passion for what the work is the United Way does so we are excited to have her leading us this year, and I know she will do all she can to step up and she actually has a pretty good relationship from prior life with the Bentons.”

Walker says she is excited to see what the United Way Campaign can do this year with both the new team members, and excitement she is already hearing from partners in the community as they begin what expects to be a very challenging campaign season.

When you have people like that leading the way it makes my job way easier. They are very committed and that makes me more excited to see what we can do. I’ve heard back from some of our companies about what our plans are for this year and whether we are going to come in and what we are looking at doing and it’s been fun to even hear from some of the excitement come from them saying thing like ‘you know this is going to give us a new way to look at it, let’s see what we can do virtually, and how creative can we be’.

So it’s fun to see people embrace it and to look at it as a fun challenge, not as something that just isn’t going to happen or is impossible to happen, it’s more of what can we do and how can we make it happen. So we are very very fortunate to have the Bentons leading it and Barb will do a great job along side them leading the way.”

The Prairieland United Way has been given a goal of $465,000.00 to reach in 2020. In 2019 Prairieland exceeded their goal of $460,000.00 by raising $471,000.00. Walker says it will be a challenge to meet and exceed their goal again this year, as they are unsure how many fundraising events from last year can be held due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic limiting large gatherings.

Walker says it will take a lot of support and even some outside of the box thinking from the community to ensure the Prairieland United Way can raise the funds needed to continue supporting non-profit outreach organizations in West Central Illinois.

Reg and Cynthia Benton are scheduled to appear on WLDS’s What’s On Your Mind program next week, during the official kick off to the 2020 Campaign, beginning on Tuesday with a blood drive at CNB Bank, a pack the house style event at Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake Pizza, and the return of the United Way Jeans Day on Thursday.