“Peoria is a very giving community.” That’s a sentiment I’ve heard time and again over the years, including again this very week. And part of the reason that’s true is due to the collective efforts of a wide range of clubs and organizations.
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, in the Peoria area alone—groups of all kinds, with different purposes. Service clubs, like the Kiwanis, Lions Club and Rotary, are defined first and foremost by their service mission. According to rotary.org, the Rotary Club of Chicago was the world’s first service club, formed in 1905 by Paul Harris, “an attorney who wished to capture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth.”
Eight years later and closer to home, the Rotary Club of Peoria received its own charter, making it one of the oldest Rotary clubs in existence. A proud Rotarian for 20 years, I’d like to congratulate the downtown chapter on its 100th anniversary in 2013. Over the years, the club has placed “service above self” through numerous community projects, most recently with the creation of Peoria Rotary Adventure Grove, an interactive play area to be located in Glen Oak Park. And let’s not forget the other Rotary clubs throughout the area who do similar good work, from Peoria Rotary – North to clubs in East Peoria, Morton, Pekin, Washington, Chillicothe, Metamora and beyond!
Professional associations are traditionally based around a particular industry or profession. In this issue, Eric Dubrowksi, chief financial officer of Peoria County, extolls the general benefits of professional associations—and specifically, the Institute of Management Accountants—while Cindy Byrd does the same for the American Society for Training and Development and its Heart of Illinois chapter. We’ve also highlighted the work of Jon Burklund of Burklund Distributors, who rose to chair the American Wholesale Marketers Association, a national organization working on behalf of the distribution industry.
Some groups are geared primarily for business networking and referrals: Women in Leadership and Business Networking International (BNI) are among those we’ve featured. Toastmasters International, which boasts of 18 different clubs in the Peoria area alone, helps its members enhance a specific skillset: public speaking. Other groups serve a mix of purposes, and we’ve done our best to showcase a variety of them, from the brand-new (Startup Peoria) to long-time pillars of the community like the Peoria Women’s Club, Peoria Jaycees and Junior League of Peoria.
There are also private clubs (Creve Coeur Club, Country Club of Peoria, IVY Club), fraternal groups (Knights of Columbus, Shriners) and veterans organizations (VFW, American Legion). And the one thing all these groups share? The power of relationships. That’s the key to getting big things done—things we couldn’t do as individuals. Hats off to all the organizations that are making a difference in our region! iBi