Those new to Greater Peoria — or the Midwest in general — generally notice this right away: People tend to be super-friendly and welcoming here. Strangers wave when you drive down the street; passersby smile and say hello on sidewalks and trails. That makes meeting people, making friends and getting involved easy here. These resources will also help you get connected.
Greater Peoria is a melting pot of races and ethnicities, with a range of organizations actively promoting their cultural histories, celebrating diversity and raising funds for local nonprofits. Here are some groups to check out:
- The Asian Indian Community Collaboration of Peoria works to build a culture of giving back. Members prepare meals for Ronald McDonald House and offer education-related activities for students.
- The German American Central Society holds year-round events at its clubhouse (the Lindenhof) and Hickory Grove Park — along with the annual Peoria Oktoberfest.
- The Italian American Society dates back to 1929. Members gather monthly at general assembly meetings and throughout the year at socials, picnics and dinners.
- The Itoo Society is one of the oldest Lebanese organizations in the U.S., founded in 1914. The organization hosts the popular annual Shish-Ka-Bob in June and Itoo Supper in November.
- The NAACP Peoria is one of the association’s oldest branches. Local members are active in the fight for racial equity, participation, opportunity and justice.
- The Peoria Chinese Association, founded in 1965, celebrates and promotes Chinese culture in Greater Peoria — including a Chinese New Year Celebration Show.
- The Peoria Women’s Club has been educating women in the fine arts, literature, public affairs, travel and more since 1886. Members meet in the second oldest continuously occupied women’s clubhouse in the U.S.
- The St. Patrick Society of Peoria sponsors one of Greater Peoria’s most popular events, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17, along with Peoria Irish Fest each August.
Looking for ways to give back to your new community? The Heart of Illinois United Way is among the highest performing in the country based on per capita giving — showcasing our generous and giving community. They also host an online volunteer center that will connect you to area nonprofits and their volunteer needs.
Many communities in Greater Peoria have local branches of national and international service clubs. Visit these websites to find the one closest to you:
If business networking is your goal, start with groups like the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, Peoria Black Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peoria Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council and Young Professionals Organization of Greater Peoria. You’ll find it easy to access and interact with local leaders here — if you want to effect change and make a difference, the opportunities are endless.
The Peoria Area Association of REALTORS is another excellent resource — not just to help you find a home, but also to help you connect with others with similar interests in your new community.
Places of Worship
Church, mosque, temple, synagogue — wherever and however you choose to worship, there’s a place for you in Greater Peoria. We couldn’t possibly list them all here, but a quick Google search will show you your options. You can also connect to various religious resources at the following links: