Dear Friend of the Eureka Area United Fund:
Ever since civic leaders in the mid-1950s first established a “community chest” type organization to support the work of local charitable groups and service agencies, residents of Congerville, Eureka, Goodfield, and Secor have always answered the call demonstrating a tremendous generosity of spirit. Today the Eureka Area United Fund (EAUF) continues this important work by conducting its annual campaign each October both to raise awareness and to raise financial support for the not-for-profit agencies and organizations that provide invaluable services to our communities. We recognize that as we launch our 2020-21 Eureka Area United Fund campaign, the unprecedented nature of the multiple crises that we face make this fundraising effort the most important that we have ever conducted.
Communities across the nation have not been immune to the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic distress that it has wrought upon our society. The uncertainty of making a living amid such crises has produced various levels of stress that we all have encountered in some way or another—whether it is in the form of nagging doubt, increased anxiety, or fear. For those among us who entered the time of the pandemic already facing economic insecurity or other forms of social distress, the increased burdens brought by the current difficult times have proven to be almost overwhelming.
In our small, rural communities we find neighbors who are struggling to be able to pay their rent or mortgage because of employment uncertainty. Food insecurity is quickly becoming a problem for many who are living on the social and economic margins as they struggle to make ends meet with the limited resources that they have available. Counseling centers are anticipating a larger-than-usual demand for their services as the social isolation many have endured from the traditional bonds of community that have all-but vanished in many respects. While some have tested positive for the virus, many more are testing positive for the challenges of adjusting to the “new normal” that has arisen.
For the organizations and agencies that we serve, the effects of these challenging times have been critical in their own light. Many small not-for-profit agencies that serve our communities have had to cancel or modify traditional fundraisers that ordinarily provide revenue to cover operational costs for the agencies. Even larger organizations are recognizing that the pent-up demand for the services that they provide will be challenging due to resource and budget constraints that they face. While federal funds have provided some degree of stimulus funding and enhanced unemployment benefits, the agencies and organizations that serve on the frontline of our social-services safety net have had to fend for themselves in this time of uncertainty. In communities like ours, where “neighbors helping neighbors” is part of our cultural ethos, the burden faced by these organizations and agencies becomes our burden. We feel compelled to assist.
We recognize that some of you will not be in a financial position where you can support this year’s Eureka Area United Fund campaign. We would not expect you to do so. For those of you who feel that you are blessed with the means to assist, we ask for your support and appeal to that generosity of spirit that has long-characterized our communities. The funds that we raise will be spent exclusively in our communities—none of these funds will be sent off to cover administrative costs of a national organization. Our goal is to raise funds locally to serve local needs. Please join us in accepting the challenge that these difficult times call for a special sense of stewardship; we can be “neighbors helping neighbors” who rise to meet the demands of these uncertain times by helping one another to prevail.
2020-2021 Eureka Area United Fund Board
Junius Rodriguez, President; Liz Danner, Vice President; Dana Wherley, Treasurer; Diana Nichols, Secretary; Stephanie Bishop; Susan Bressner; Dennis Capretz; Tiera Darnell-Charlton; Darci Eastman; Chris Hughes; Dawn Maloney; Janelle Perry; and Bill Schulz