Volunteers Serving Tirelessly

by Jessica Tharp with Ally Hoerr
Better Business Bureau of Central Illinois

Local legends fill critical needs in our community every day.

You need storm damage repaired, ASAP.
Your relative needs a medical equipment donation.
You need professional guidance for your personal business.
Your child needs special care/education.

All four of these statements involve critical needs in our community filled by nonprofit organizations each and each day. We want to highlight the dedication of individuals who volunteer their time to serve on the boards of these organizations. Their hours and years of dedication to many nonprofit organizations—and to us—make them “local legends.”

Directors of an organization are the makers of policy. They set goals and make the important decisions. Election to a director’s seat signifies a trust by one’s contemporaries, but the job is more than an honor and recognition, for with it comes the responsibility for the organization’s future.

In addition to their own careers and responsibilities, these volunteers from different areas of the business and professional community are faced with the monumental task of ensuring the continuing operation, growth and direction of the nonprofits they serve. These local giants graciously share their experience and knowledge to the benefit of the organization to deliver the greatest impact on the community and remain relevant to its constituents.

Basic responsibilities of a nonprofit board of directors include:

  • Determining the organization’s mission and purpose;
  • Ensuring effective organizational planning;
  • Guaranteeing the organization has adequate resources and manages them effectively;
  • Determining and monitoring the organization’s programs/services and assessing its performance; and
  • Enhancing the organization’s public image.

Each director serves as the liaison between the organization’s staff, constituents, members and the public. In 1920, the local BBB was born, with the help of nine founding directors. Because of these visionary leaders and their guiding force, central Illinois adopted the BBB’s mission for trust. These nine people with full-time careers, families and friends took the time to set standards for a better marketplace. And thanks to the hundreds of volunteer directors that have served since that time, this organization—and many others community-wide—has thrived, remaining relevant nearly a century later.

In 1997, Jim McComb was voted an Honorary Lifetime BBB Director. After serving 27 years on the BBB Board of Directors, holding numerous positions, Jim said it best: “When I think about the unselfish commitment from the people [fellow directors], and the time and talent they have contributed, I’m just moved.”

Many directors have served tirelessly for the nonprofit organizations in this community. Space prohibits naming each one individually, but we owe them all a debt of thanks for their dedicated contributions, which ensure the many programs and services that enhance the quality of life in central Illinois.

The history of this region is still being written, as each day, dedicated volunteers serve for the betterment of our community. There are not enough awards to go around to recognize all of the amazing work that has been done, is being done and is yet to be done. We are forever grateful for our local legends and the legacy of leadership they bequeath on our community. iBi