Pictured above: Jane Genzel, Executive Director of Peoria Opportunities Foundation.

The EBCC Impact: Making Homes in the East Bluff

A Conversation with the Peoria Opportunities Foundation

By: Grayson Bourke

The East Bluff Community Center (EBCC) is a hub for many nonprofit organizations that are vital to the East Bluff neighborhood’s prosperity. At EBCC, these nonprofit organizations provide essential services such as afterschool care, affordable housing opportunities, and recreation programs such as youth boxing and basketball to East Bluff residents and their families. Our nonprofit partners who rent space in the EBCC include but are not limited to Boys and Girls Club of Greater Peoria, Knock Out Kings Boxing, WAZU 90.7 Strictly Hip Hop, and last but not least, Peoria Opportunities Foundation.

Peoria Opportunities Foundation has been operating out of the East Bluff Community Center since 2013. Peoria Opportunities Foundation’s (POF) purpose is to develop affordable housing with an emphasis on developing self-sufficiency and economic wealth for low-income families and individuals. Their current project, East Bluff Homes, is the development of thirty affordable, new homes in the East Bluff neighborhood. Jane Genzel, Executive Director of POF, says that “organizationally, POF’s commitment is to the East Bluff” and “it is important to be knowledgeable about what’s going on and looking for opportunities to collaborate.” Being located at EBCC in the East Bluff allows for nonprofits such as POF to collaborate and maximize impact within the neighborhood.

Recently, POF hired Ashley Gordon, who is POF’s Resident Services Coordinator. Ashley has a wide scope of skills, which include case management, community outreach, and building relationships with individuals and families. Her role is to connect the neighborhood’s residents with each other and to resources that help them overcome any barriers that they may have. When asked why Ashley joined the team, she says, “I am excited to work with the community and assist people with whatever needs they may have.” POF and the EBCC are both grateful to have her on board.

The EBCC could not do the important work of community engagement and neighborhood stabilization without the help of partnerships with nonprofits like Peoria Opportunities Foundation. EBCC provides a safe, welcoming campus to collaborate, plan events, and maximize impact. POF likes being based out of EBCC for that reason and has been here for eight years. Do you know of any local nonprofits that could benefit from utilizing space at EBCC? Do you know of any nonprofits that could provide services or programming at the EBCC? If so, please email us at ebcc@eastbluffcommunitycenter.org or give us a call at (309) – 839 – 0781 anytime from 9:00am – 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. 

Pictured above: Ashley outside of the Peoria Opportunities Foundation office in the EBCC