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Grants going toward an education program and lighting project for the Center for Prevention of Abuse

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Joe Deacon
Carol Merna, CEO for the Center for Prevention of Abuse, discusses grant funding from Ameren Illinois that will go toward the agency's violence prevention education program and a project to install energy efficient LED lighting.
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The Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria will install energy efficient lighting and continue a violence prevention education program for Tri-County students, thanks to financial gifts from Ameren Illinois.

The project to switch out lights throughout the main campus in favor of LED replacements is expected to cost about $39,000 — covered entirely by Ameren — while saving the nonprofit organization about $3,500 a year in energy expenses.

“The funds that we will save from being a part of Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency Program will go right back into our coffers, and that will help pay for the care provided to those that come to CFPA looking for a pathway to peace,” said Carol Merna, the center’s CEO.

Efficiency incentives from Ameren will cover $11,000 of the project cost, and the company chose to pick up the remaining $28,000.

“There's a little bit of a cost leftover that doesn't cover everything to upgrade the lights, but this time Ameren came in and paid that difference for all the women shelters across the state,” said Gretchen Wirtz Primeau, an Ameren Energy Efficiency program representative. “So there is zero cost for the center to pay for these lighting upgrades.”

“Through our energy efficiency programs, we have funding to offset the cost of energy efficiency upgrades, and we have a program called the Small Business Direct Install program that's specifically for nonprofits and small businesses that are trying to reduce their bottom line,” added Angie Ostaszewski, Ameren energy efficiency advisor who also serves on CFPA’s board of directors. “We all know that for the smaller organizations it can be a struggle, especially in a pandemic to manage all of those costs.”

Additionally, Merna said the $15,000 grant from the Ameren Cares charitable giving program will fund the nonprofit’s lessons focusing on social and emotional well-being.

“Last year, we reached about 30,000 students in more than 100 learning communities, and we're very proud of those numbers. That's nearly one-third of the student population in the Tri County area,” Merna said Tuesday during a check presentation ceremony.

“The demand for our services continues to grow each and every year, and this grant will help us fulfill the increasing number of requests that come in each day so we can make sure to keep offering our best education to all the young people in our communities.”

Merna said the education program teaches students about building healthy relationships and resolving conflicts peacefully while preparing them to recognize violent behavior and signs of abuse.

“The Center for Prevention of Abuse has so many vital programs that serve our community — adults, children, families — and we're proud to continue our support of the violence prevention education program,” said Ameren public relations representative Kenny Blum. “It's giving the children in our community the tools and knowledge they need to stay safe.”

Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.