Two local non-profits chosen for prestigious award

River Bend Foodbank and Alternatives (for the Older Adult) Awarded 2018 Interest in Excellence Award

“As a non-profit primarily funded by the State of Illinois, we have been critically challenged in the past few years to sustain operations for sixteen counties, thousands of participants without a reduction in services. This opportunity came at the same time we have been going through an intense, internal review of our operations. The two initiatives working parallel – the Baldrige Framework and internal systems change – have been just the right tools at the right time for Alternatives,” said Kathy Weiman, Chief Executive Officer of Alternatives.  

“In one year, we have shifted operations from a significant deficit to a modest addition to our fund balance. Across the agency, we have eliminated duplication and non-value added activities while retaining high quality outcomes, participant satisfaction and high regard from statewide surveyors. We still are immersed in a constant quality/quantity turnaround process and are very pleased to support the frailest in our communities who have earned some support.”   

Alternatives (for the Older Adult, Inc.) is a 501(c)(3), private, non-profit organization serving sixteen counties in Midwestern Illinois. Since 1984, it has been the mission of Alternatives to promote the independence and quality of life for older adults, adults with disabilities and their families.    Alternatives’ professionals are connecting with ONE IN FIVE individuals over the age of 60 in a sixteen county area. Alternatives connect individuals to the right resources at the right time to help them stay safe and as independent as possible, saving Illinois taxpayers more than $12 million due to successful deflection from nursing home costs of care. As we age, there are daily, new challenges and Alternatives staff have the expertise and resources to help navigate through the next steps.   

“We are delighted to support Alternatives as they pursue enterprise excellence based upon the Baldrige Excellence Framework,” said Ben Krupowicz, Executive Director of the ILPEx Recognition Program. “We believe the feedback provided by our examiners will enable Alternatives to achieve their mission of supporting the aging populations in 16 Illinois counties while determining how to best utilize the ever-limited funding for non-profit organizations.”   

“Completing the ILPEx Award application has been a valuable process,” said Michael Miller, President, and CEO of River Bend Foodbank. “Beyond the recognition of our efforts, which we appreciate, the exercise forced us to think and re-think through important considerations that are sometimes taken for granted, resulting in well thought out, strict definition of key elements of our organization. The timing could not have been better for us, leading right into our strategic plan update, priming a renewed improvement effort as we strive toward our goal of ending hunger in eastern Iowa and western Illinois by 2025.”   

River Bend Foodbank is the largest hunger relief organization in the Quad Cities and surrounding communities, having distributed over 14.5 million meals per year to hungry people in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. The mission of the River Bend Foodbank is to lead the community-wide effort to end hunger in Iowa and Illinois. We do this through food distribution in partnership with their 300 agencies as well as Mobile Pantries, Senior Pantries, School Pantries, and Backpack Program.   

“We are delighted to support River Bend Foodbank as they pursue enterprise excellence based upon the Baldrige Excellence Framework,” said Ben Krupowicz, Executive Director of the ILPEx Recognition Program. “The feedback on their Interest in Excellence application will identify how the organization can improve to best serve the Quad Cities community.” The 2018 Board of Examiners – comprised of 52 experts in business, education, health care, and government – spent more than 40 hours assessing an organization’s responses including the key influences on how it operates, and the key challenges it faces. Examiner feedback can help identify gaps in key information, create a focus on key performance requirements and results in identifying topics for action planning.   

The ILPEx Interest in Excellence Award is presented to those organizations who engage with the Baldrige Framework for Performance Excellence via the organizational profile, demonstrating an organizational interest in accelerating change, growth, and continual improvement throughout the organization.   

The ILPEx Panel of Judges is responsible for validating the integrity of the ILPEx award process and determining recognition levels for each applicant. The panel is composed of experts selected from all industry sectors and represents various geographic areas of the state of Illinois. Since 1994, there have been 283 applicants, approximately 1,600 examiners, representing nearly 170,000 hours of work, resulting in appropriately $7.4 million in volunteered time – all to make Illinois organizations more competitive, create jobs, and improve communities. As your preferred resource for growth and enterprise excellence, IMEC also offers training and support to help you address the Baldrige Criteria from leadership to results. For more information on how your organization can benefit from services provided by Illinois Performance Excellence, visit, or call 888-806-4632. For more information on the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, visit