A Publication of WTVP

On September 20th, the board of directors of the Peoria Civic Federation (PCF) formally approved the logical next step in its evolution by unanimously voting to become part of the Heartland Partnership. The current PCF board members also approved becoming the initial board members of a reconstituted Heartland Partnership Foundation. The Heartland Partnership board had approved their appropriate motions the day before.

The Heartland Partnership Foundation will also be known as the CEO Roundtable, with its chair serving as vice chair of the Heartland Partnership board. With the CEO Roundtable now institutionalized as the Heartland Partnership Foundation, an existing 501(c)(3) organization, we can receive and disburse funds and grants consistent with the strategic plans of the Heartland Partnership. In addition, the following officers were approved for the CEO Roundtable:

Chair: Michael Bryant, Methodist Medical Center

Vice Chair: Rita Kress, Kress Corporation

Secretary/Treasurer: Mark Spenny, CEFCU

Our community owes a great deal of gratitude to Glen Barton, the past chair, and Doug Stewart, the first chair, of the Peoria Civic Federation. Over the years, Peoria has always had the benefit of outstanding community leaders, and Barton and Stewart certainly epitomize Peoria’s best. Following these two individuals will not be easy.

Stewart assumed the PCF Chairmanship at a time when there was a perceived void regarding leadership of economic development activities in Peoria and the surrounding region. Under his leadership, the community and business leaders developed a consensus on key economic development activities. With the recruitment of Jim McConoughey as president and CEO of the Heartland Partnership, it re-emerged as a strong economic development organization. It became clear that uniting the PCF and the Heartland Partnership was the right direction for both. It was under the artful leadership of Barton (and Joe Henderson of H-P) that the merging of these two organizations occurred. The key community groups committed to economic development and quality of life improvement in Peoria are now united with a single purpose.

As we look forward to the new relationship during the next several months, normal transition issues will occur. However, it will be important for the CEO Roundtable to both clearly communicate its new role within the H-P and to the broader community as well. In addition, formalizing the priorities and relaying them to the broader community are equally important.

Currently, the development of the Museum Block is a huge and immediate priority. In addition, I am hopeful that there will be a re-emergence of a Heartland Regional Plan, i.e. vision and strategic plan, for the Greater Peoria Region. There are clearly many opportunities available to move the region forward, but we cannot do them all at once.

The CEO Roundtable is now a permanent part of Heartland Partnership with support staff and committed leadership, and is no longer a purely voluntary organization. We can provide more support toward accomplishing important economic and community initiatives for the Greater Peoria Region. That was, and still is, our purpose! IBI