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The True Hearts of Simantelites

Simantel is known for its involvement in the community. While the agency itself is just a business, it’s the heart of the people who make up the agency that give Simantel its good name. Through our work, we show that servant leadership and generosity are more than just lip service, but core values that define who we are as a company and a culture.

As part of our 40-ish anniversary year, Simantel’s annual Just Cause initiative to assist a local nonprofit organization was expanded to focus on “40-ish acts of kindness” throughout the community to celebrate the ways our employees live out one of our core values in their everyday lives. The ways they give back is different – some donate their time, efforts, money or other resources, but they all make a difference. And, as we discovered, there were a lot more such acts than 40-ish… so much, in fact, that we kind of lost track. This look at the many initiatives above and beyond the charities Simantel supports annually is a window to the passions that drive our employees on a personal level.

As this landmark anniversary year comes to an end, we wanted to highlight the work of Simantelites who give of their time, talent and treasure to improve their communities. And more importantly, to highlight the organizations working tirelessly to improve our community. So, in no particular order, here are just a few of the big causes near and dear to the hearts of Simantelites!

#1: Health & Wellness

From cancer research to mental health, we give back to a wide range of health-related causes. This past June, Simantel sponsored the American Red Cross’ Superhero Summer Blood Drive in Bloomington and East Peoria, with multiple Simantelites rolling up their sleeves to help patients with critical donations in their time of need. And one of our own is a regular donor and participant in Whitney’s Walk for Life, which has raised over $1.7 million for suicide prevention and mental health awareness in the Peoria area since 2004.

#2: Youth Sports

Sports are huge for many of us Simantelites. Around the country, we support local youth sports teams in a variety of ways, from cheering in the stands to raising funds for uniforms and equipment. “My family loves baseball and we love to keep it a family affair!” says Lori Johnson. “My husband coaches the team and I help however I can: whether it’s keeping GameChanger, running a carpool or working in the concession stand.”

#3: Animal Welfare

Of course, we love our furry friends, too! Located just outside of Peoria in Hanna City, Illinois, SAMS Stray Animal Midway Shelter is one of our local favorites. SAMS is dedicated to reducing the number of euthanized animals in central Illinois, one adoption at a time. From cleaning cat cages, to walking dogs, to simple tasks like sweeping and doing dishes, Simantelites are dedicated to helping this small but mighty nonprofit on its meaningful mission.

#4: Childhood Education

Far too many children in our community begin the school year without the tools they need to succeed. After learning about these gaps, we decided to hold a School Supply Drive to help the students at Elise Ford Allen Academy in Peoria Public Schools. This past July, we set up a box to collect donations — as well as an Amazon Wish List so our remote workers could also participate. In addition to that group effort, another Simantelite volunteered at “Backpack Peoria,” an annual event at Dream Center Peoria that provides necessities like free dental exams, school physicals, Covid shots, haircuts and, of course, backpacks.

#5: The Arts

Simantel is a creative agency, so it’s no surprise we’re big supporters of the arts. From volunteering at Ignite Peoria — central Illinois’ premier showcase of local makers, artists, performers and other creatives — to serving on the Board of Directors of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra and the Sun Foundation, we are active and engaged in this work. Simantelites (both current and former) are also highly involved with Big Picture Initiative, which is changing the face of Peoria through public art, street festivals, a student-run community magazine, and much more.

#6: Racial Justice & Equity

The formation of Simantel’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee is helping to build a more inclusive workplace culture — in addition to driving positive results, understanding and engagement. Outside the walls of Simantel, one of its members also serves on the Peoria City/County Joint Commission on Racial Justice and Equity, which is working to instill racial justice and equity within Peoria County and City governments and across our entire community.

#7: Food Insecurity

Throughout Peoria’s Tri-County region, some 43,000 residents — including 14,000 children — don’t have reliable access to affordable food. That’s why a pair of recent group outings were focused on the critical issue of food insecurity. In September, an excursion to Midwest Food Bank found Simantelites packaging bulk food items for distribution to local food pantries, while another group of Simantelites helped unload and set up groceries at Market 309. “You can tell the work they are doing is truly making a difference in their community,” said Megan Gibbons, “and I was honored to be a part of it for a few hours.”

#8: Poverty

The Hope Store at Dream Center Peoria provides clothing and household items free of charge to its clients, as well as to other community organizations who need items for the clients they serve. In October, a group of Simantelites helped sort donations and set up the store for its guests and clients. “I loved getting to tour Dream Center Peoria to learn about all of their community outreach and fulfilling needs in our local community,” said Kendra Sipes. “Volunteering for The Hope Store was a great way to make a small impact.”

Generosity and community are founding pillars here at Simantel. And we couldn’t be prouder to show this commitment through the dedicated work of our people beyond our corporate resolutions. That work will continue for as long as Simantel is around — for another 40-ish years… and beyond.

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