A Publication of WTVP

With its partners, the Caterpillar Foundation is working to turn the spiral of poverty into a path to prosperity.

The mission of the Caterpillar Foundation is crystal-clear: to alleviate poverty. Working toward this significant goal, the Foundation partners with organizations in our surrounding community to put people on a path to prosperity. With state and local funding sources in limbo, community organizations are relying even more heavily on the private sector to ensure the needs of our communities do not go unmet. The time is now, and the need couldn’t be greater.

Poverty exists in Peoria. Sadly, the 61605 zip code—just blocks from Caterpillar’s headquarters—is one of the 100 poorest zip codes in the United States, according to U.S. Census data. Working with area partners like the United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, CWTC (Community Workshop and Training Center) and LISC (Local Initiative Support Corporation), to name a few, the Caterpillar Foundation is partnering in our community to alleviate the root causes of poverty in our backyard by investing in programs focused on basic human needs, education and the environment.

There is an African proverb that reads, “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, walk together.” At the Caterpillar Foundation, we believe that no one organization or individual can alleviate poverty alone. We know that when we work together, we are stronger. That’s why we’re focused on uniting businesses, nonprofits, governments and citizens to work together to end extreme poverty. We refer to this collaborative effort as Together.Stronger.

Imagine what is possible if we all work together. Take, for example, a young boy in Peoria. I’ll call that boy Sam. Sam is a third grader whose mother is raising him on her own while putting herself through school and working a full-time job. Sam’s mom is doing the best she can, but at times she struggles. Thankfully, with the help of programs provided by a number of local organizations, Sam’s educational and basic human needs are being met.

Because of organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs, Sam has a place to go after school while his mother is at work. In times when his mother is struggling to put food on the table, he has enough to eat, thanks to the Midwest Food Bank. Clinics sponsored by local medical and dental providers help ensure Sam gets the care he needs. Meanwhile, he and his mom have never been prouder of their home in the East Bluff neighborhood, thanks to recent landscaping and exterior lighting improvements made possible by LISC’s Community Core Initiative. Working together, we are stronger.

Making a Difference
Separate from the Caterpillar Foundation’s work with area partners, Caterpillar employees consistently demonstrate we are stronger together. They are making a difference in our community by volunteering their time and talents.

Volunteers like Wes Gray, a marketing services supervisor in Caterpillar’s Marketing & Digital Division, are positively impacting the lives of children. Wes volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters and was named the 2015 Heart of Illinois Big Brother of the Year. Recently-retired Caterpillar employee Ed Scott has volunteered for many years with Junior Achievement and was awarded a volunteer service award by the organization earlier this year. In addition, in recognition of our many employees who collectively volunteered more than 10,000 hours during the 2014-2015 school year with Junior Achievement, Caterpillar received the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award.

For the last several years, employees from Caterpillar’s Legal Services Division have provided pro bono services through organizations like Prairie State Legal Services. Our employees also lend their support to Habitat for Humanity. Just last year, approximately 500 employees from our Morton facility sponsored and built a Habitat for Humanity house for a deserving family in the community.

In addition, Caterpillar employees and the Caterpillar Foundation support the United Way each year with millions of dollars in generous giving. More than $6.8 million—a record sum—was raised for local United Ways in central Illinois last year. The United Way is a strong partner because it assesses the community’s needs, finds efficient programs that deliver measurable outcomes, and works to eliminate those needs in the future by identifying the causes and creating long-term solutions.

With our partners on the ground, the Caterpillar Foundation is working to turn the spiral of poverty into a path to prosperity for our global community. Together, we are stronger. Our global commitment is rooted here at home. Learn more about our work at iBi

Michele Sullivan is President of the Caterpillar Foundation.