Prominent labor leader uses his retirement to raise donations for organizations

Each organization was presented a check for $85,000
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 6:26 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - A recently retired local labor leader was behind two donations to two local organizations that help local children.

John Penn served as a Union Officer for Laborers International Union of North America for 49 years and decided to retire in January. During his retirement party, Penn saw an opportunity to spread good, as donations were collected for The Promise Council and The Stay 4 Project.

The Stay 4 Project launched in 2008, helps low-income students that are at risk of dropping out of school. The Promise Council established in 2009 helps to ensure that students have their needs met while in school.

Penn, a board member for the Promise Council says when it comes to helping children, every little bit counts. “I know the work they do. You see the excitement on the kids’ faces, and it’s just minor things we do for them, but it’s stuff that the kids really appreciate, and we just get that satisfaction.”

Lisa Skinner, the Director for Public Relations for Great Plains Life Foundation says thanks to John, The Stay 4 Project has what they need to help more students. “John actually was instrumental in helping to establish the foundation, bringing together the charitable efforts of labor and management, and they wanted to address the high school dropout crisis.”

When President for the Board of Directors for the Promise Council Linda Bowman saw the amount on the check, she said it gave her shaky hands. “This is the largest donation we’ve ever received. Prior to this $85,000 check, $15,000 was a huge donation to us, and that was our largest.”