PEORIA — The president of the local United Way chapter will retire this year, ending an 18-year tenure that saw annual fundraising totals increase more than 100 percent, putting the Peoria-area group in the top 1 percent of chapters worldwide for funding and community participation.
Michael Stephan, who joined the Heart of Illinois United Way in January 2000, will retire at the end of August. In that time, the amounts raised during annual campaigns grew from $5 million to more than $11 million — bringing in a total of more than $159 million.
United Way Worldwide recognized the Heart of Illinois Chapter as being in the top 1 percent, based on levels of community participation, per capita giving and fundraising totals.
“I cannot begin to express my sincere appreciation for all of the dedicated and compassionate volunteers, wise and committed board members, caring and knowledgeable community partners, generous and thoughtful donors, and the opportunity to work with the best United Way staff team in the country," Stephan said in a news release. "While proud of our many accomplishments these past 18 years, with the community’s continued engagement, generosity and support, I am very excited about the future success of the Heart of Illinois United Way."