A Publication of WTVP

In April 2011, the boards of directors of the Hult Center for Health Education and the Cancer Center for Healthy Living announced a merger of the two organizations.

The Hult Center for Health Education is home to five state-of-the-art interactive learning centers, classrooms and an auditorium, and has become a premier destination for school-age children and adults alike from all over the state. The center, which opened in October 1990 and recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, hosts approximately 37,000 annual visitors, and has touched the lives of more than 700,000 individuals of all ages, both locally and on the road.

The Cancer Center for Healthy Living has offered free programs and services to cancer patients, survivors and caregivers since 1996. Each year, the organization has increased its participants. In 2010, the Center provided 1,200 cancer patients, survivors and their families with over 11,000 units of service ranging from counseling, nutrition, healthy living classes and educational workshops.

“Being healthy is not just the absence of illness or disease, it is so much more. The combined organization will be better equipped to assist our community with the various dimensions of health: social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual and physical,” said Margaret Swanson, PhD, president of the board. “These incredible organizations have been ‘living’ together since 1998 and not only share a location, they share similar missions. And what a wonderful idea, in this pressing time of economic instability, for organizations with similar missions to come together as one.”

Over the years, the organizations have experienced greater collaboration across programs and sharing resources. Combining the organizations’ administrative functions will allow for greater efficiency, as well as flexibility.

The Hult Center for Health Education and the Cancer Center for Healthy Living have maintained their own names and continued their respective services and programs. Peorian Matt George was named the executive director for the combined organization.

The effects to the programs will be minimal. “This merger is a good thing for the community. Programs will stay the same but give us an opportunity to create new partnerships and work in a more efficient way. Both agencies were healthy, but the merger gives us the best opportunity to prosper moving forward,” says George.

“This opportunity gives us the chance to combine talented staff, develop a new business model, form a larger board, effectively implement our strategic plan, enhance programming and show the individual and corporate donors we are fiscally responsible with the funding and donations we receive,” he added.

The Hult Center for Health Education and the Cancer Center for Healthy Living present two of the most popular fundraisers in the Peoria area—the Lobster Boil and Uncorked. “One-hundred percent of all proceeds benefit people of all ages in the community to live stronger, healthier lives and to help those touched by cancer live life to the fullest. Our services help support our community and our family, friends and neighbors, and we are very proud of that,” said George. “What we do here is community-driven by a great staff that strives to make a difference. It is simple—it all comes down to helping people.”

For more information about either organization, log on to or iBi