Strong Neighborhoods

A collaborative, community-led approach to neighborhood change

Strong Neighborhoods are places where all members of a household can meet their basic needs, access opportunities and plan for the future. They also feature high quality organizations that work collaboratively among themselves and with other community stakeholders to ensure people thrive. 

Strengthening communities will ensure that all residents will have access to opportunities and the ability to take advantage of them.

Through Strong Neighborhoods, United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties seeks to reach bold goals within partner communities across our geographic footprint. With this approach, we are doubling down on neighborhoods as powerful centers of change and progress. Together with partners, we seek to foster equity and inclusion while supporting macro-economic vibrancy, vitality and livability within our communities.

Why neighborhoods? Healthcare, childcare, housing, education and basic needs are all anchored in neighborhoods. As such, neighborhoods shape the outcomes of children and families.

Our Partner Communities

United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties has identified two pilot communities for Strong Neighborhoods. These communities were selected based on an analysis of key demographic and capacity indicators. These communities reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of our region. 

Elm House - Kankakee's 2nd and 6th Wards

United Way partnered with the City of Kankakee and Kankakee School District 111 to establish a Strong Neighborhoods house at 591 S. Elm Avenue in Kankakee in June 2020. In October 2020, Strong Neighborhoods hosted a block party outside Elm House for local residents. Families and friends gathered across the block of 500 Elm Avenue enjoying food and games.

Interested in getting involved? Join the Elm House Strong Neighborhood Network on Facebook.

Pembroke Strong Neighborhoods Network

United Way partnered with Hope House Family Restoration Center and PJ's Place to establish a Strong Neighborhoods Network in Pembroke Township. The network held a Community Action Day in September 2020.

Invest in people. Invest in neighborhoods. Invest in a stronger Kankakee and Iroquois Counties.

Many residents are proud to call our region "home," but many of our neighbors and our neighborhoods are hurting. United Way is committed to working alongside community-based organizations and residents to help rebuild and heal – creating a more just and equitable society.

Thank you for your generosity, your partnership, and your commitment to ensuring all neighborhoods across Kankakee and Iroquois counties have the resources needed to thrive. YOU make a difference.


Sponsorship Opportunities

  • Naming rights to a room within house
  • Logo and name listed on donor wall within house
  • Recognition on website and printed materials
  • Customized volunteer opportunities for your employees
  • Logo and name listed on donor wall within house
  • Recognition on website and printed materials
  • Customized volunteer opportunities for your employees
  • Name listed on donor wall within house
  • Recognition on website

If you are interested in sponsoring Strong Neighborhoods, please contact Fiana at or 815.932.7476.

Steering Committee - Kankakee Elm House

Jessica Andrade | Community Resident

Mary Archie | Community Resident

Makenzie Flores | Community Resident

Michael O'Brien | United Way Representative

Rosalia Pizano | Community Resident

Samantha Rocknowski | City of Kankakee Representative

Andrea Short | Kankakee School District Representative


neighborhoods matter.