Emerging Community Leaders

2021 ECL Cohort's Graduation/ Capstone Celebration at Beckman

Emerging Community Leaders (ECL) through United of Way of Champaign County is a FREE personal development program designed for professionals to learn how they can impact our community through nonprofit volunteerism.

In 2020, United Way partnered with the Chancellor’s office to bring the ECL @ Illinois to University of Illinois employees. Faculty and staff applied to participate in a program that mirrored the community-based ECL and worked with other campus entities through seminars and group projects. Unfortunately, that cohort’s schedule was interrupted with COVID-19 and participants were invited to return to the program in 2021.

The 2021 cohort completed the program with minimal restrictions and learned a great deal on how to be active volunteers in their community.

Some of the key topics:

  • Nonprofit Basics
  • How to be an effective Board/Committee member
  • Fundraising for Impact
  • Finding your best volunteer fit

    Additionally, small group projects gave participants an opportunity to promote public engagement amongst their colleagues and the broader campus. Projects consisted of:
    • Promoting a Diaper Drive for the Bottom Line Diaper Bank, by United Way
    • Designing a questionnaire to investigate university employees’ knowledge of and attitudes towards volunteer opportunities within the community

    ECL @ Illinois meets once a month at Beckman Institute and lunch is provided. Meetings begin in March and continue through October.
    If you are interested in discovering your “why”, building your network across campus and in the community, and giving back through your talents and gifts, please consider applying for the 2023 cohort.

    Learn more at ECL @ Illinois!


    Michelle Gonzales, Special Assistant for Strategic Initiatives in Public Engagement