Education is Critical to Keeping Jobs in America

The Great Plains LIFE (Laborers' International Funding for Education) Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 2004. Our mission is to address the high school drop-out crisis and strengthen the work force by providing support to encourage and inspire low-income, at-risk students to graduate from high school and assist them in future educational opportunities.

Contact Us:
Great Plains LIFE Foundation

Phone: (309) 828-3406
Fax: (309) 807-5082
Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

If interested in becoming a mentor or intern, please contact the office by phone (309) 828-3406 or email us at

Meet Leigha

Growing up in an apartment, there was just Mom and me. It's funny, but even at a young age I knew that we didn't have much and that others had more than we did. I learned later that we had always lived below the poverty level. Because mom had to work I was often sent to stay with a friend of hers or my grandma and grandpa whom I adored. Many times I'd stay alone and have to find some way to entertain myself so I watched a lot of the kid's shows on PBS and Animal Planet. The one thing we did have around the house was books. I learned to read very early and couldn't get enough of it. I loved grade school and although I was a good student, I would often get in trouble for reading during class time. In fact the only detentions I received over the years were all for that very reason....

To continue reading Leigha's story,
click the link on the right
"Stay 4" is a program designed to identify, help, and retain students who demonstrate the ability to succeed, yet are considered to be at risk of dropping out of high school. Upon completion of the program, students are awarded financial support through the Great Plains LIFE Foundation.

One of our students, Leigha, tells us her story:
The Crossroads Center 456 Wylie Drive Normal, IL 61761

A Life Changing Gift...
Your ongoing support will ensure that "Stay 4" is playing an important role in the lives of young men and women from disadvantaged backgrounds; giving them the tools necessary to continue their education and become self sufficient contributing members of our communities.

Your gift truly will last a lifetime!
Upcoming Events:

Resource Committee Meeting - Tuesday, February 9th
5:30pm at Heartland College
For more information, call us at (309)-828-3406

2016 Memorial Mile Run - Monday, May 30th
The Memorial Mile is the inaugural one mile race that benefits the Great Plains LIFE Foundation “Stay 4” Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping at-risk students graduate from high school and assisting them to find educational opportunities after they graduate.
More information coming soon!

In 1970, the US had the highest rate of high school graduation rates among the 27 industrialized countries.  Today we’ve fallen to 22nd in the world and the only country where young people are less likely than their parents to graduate.  According to figures from March of 2015 by Education Week, 3,030,000 total high school students drop out annually. There are almost 2,000 US high schools that graduate less than 60% of their students. It’s creating major problems within our communities while having a devastating impact on the country’s security and economy. For the US to remain a world leader and compete in the global economy this trend must be changed. The "Stay 4" Project® is designed to address these issues.
On January 14th the Great Plains LIFE Foundation lost a dear friend with the passing of the Honorable Jay Smithson.  As Mayor for the City of Ellsworth and President of the McLean County Mayor’s Association, Jay ensured that the group was always a part of the annual 20 Stars for LIFE fundraising event and represented the association personally on 2 different occasions.  He was committed to the students in the foundation’s “Stay 4” Project and served on the Resource Committee.

Jay was a man who was dedicated to his family, community, and country.  He made an impact on everyone he met, and most assuredly on the Great Plains LIFE Foundation and our students.