United Way executive director embraces new role of fostering community in McDonough County
McDonough County United Way Executive Director Heather Jones has had a wonderful working experience since joining the organization in January.
“In the very short time that I have been with the United Way, I have felt welcomed by both the organization and the community,” Jones told West Central Reporter. “I am honored to have the opportunity to work with such generous, community-minded board members, residents and businesses.”
Jones chose to work for United Way as the result of entering a new stage in her life with her oldest daughter soon being a high school graduate and her youngest daughter recently obtaining her driver’s license.
“Now that my daughters are older and gaining more independence, I felt like I wanted to be a part of something that would allow me the opportunity to use my gifts to help our community in a broader, more reaching way,” she said. “My job with United Way does exactly that. I will have the opportunity to partner with community leaders and advocates who are fighting for the health, education and financial stability of every person within McDonough County. I have a chance to be a part of making a lasting impact on our community.”
Jones believes United Way can help the county be a strong, thriving place to live and work.
“The Macomb community is currently facing many tough challenges, but I believe that Macomb and the McDonough County community can overcome these issues with positive collaboration between residents, government, local businesses, organizations and agencies,” Jones said. “I feel that the United Way can help in this collaboration through our ongoing work with our partner agencies and our supporters. By working together, we increase the awareness of the community's needs and can join together in making the greatest impact to bring positive and lasting changes.”
Jones was born in Rushville and currently lives outside of Macomb. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor of science degree in family and consumer sciences/child development and family life. Her past jobs have included being a family and parenting coordinator with a domestic violence shelter in Decatur, and a substitute teacher for the Macomb District 185 School District.
“I had chosen to be a substitute teacher while my girls were in school because it offered me the flexibility I needed to be a mom first,” Jones said. “If my girls were sick or had appointments, I was able to be there for them without having to worry about my job. It also afforded me the ability to be an active volunteer, I have actively been a part of PTO as well as planning and coordinating countless events and fundraisers to benefit our local schools.”
In her spare time, Jones enjoys reading and spending time with her friends and family, which includes her two daughters and her husband Shawn, to whom she has been married for almost 20 years.