USO of Illinois is thrilled to announce the formal launch of Answer the Call, a $3 million fundraising campaign to strengthen the USO of Illinois, modernize our Centers, invest in new programs and provide outstanding services and facilities to military service members in Illinois. This is a special philanthropic effort that is above and beyond our annual fundraising activities.
Over the last two years, we have developed a vision for USO of Illinois to become a stronger, more nimble organization. This is an unprecedented campaign for us, one that will enable the USO of Illinois to respond to and anticipate a rapidly changing environment for our military.
Specifically, campaign funds will enable us to:
Improve our Centers at Great Lakes, O’Hare, Midway and Rock Island:
Support for our Centers is our highest priority in this campaign. Each year, our Centers welcome nearly 250,000 service members and their families. Our Centers are the heart and soul of the USO of Illinois — they serve as restorative gathering places for troops and their families. It has been over 15 years since the USO of Illinois has made any renovations to its centers. Campaign funds totaling $2 million will enable us to completely renovate our Great Lakes Center and improve the floor plans and furnishings at each of our other Centers.
Launch USO Pathfinder here in Illinois to support military in transition:
Over the next three years, more than 600,000 service members will transition from military service. More than 2/3 of veterans report difficulty in making that transition. USO is a trusted brand and supporter to the military that delivers from boot camp to deployment, homecoming to transition. The Answer the Call campaign includes significant funds to launch our USO Pathfinder program here in Illinois, offering a continuum of support and a coordinated network, supporting service members as they find their new mission after military service. Our program simplifies the transition process, augments existing military and government programs and serves as a bridge to opportunities in new communities.
Strengthen the USO-IL team and facilities:
the USO of Illinois serves more than 326,000 military and military family members each year. From its Chicago headquarters, our hardworking team of 14 staff coordinate 700 volunteers, dozens of programs, and a diverse and highly engaged Board of Directors. Campaign funds will re-establish a USO of Illinois headquarters and develop additional resources to ensure our programs are delivered at the level of excellence our military has come to expect.