Support for Our LGBTQ+ and Immigrant Communities

Supporting LGBTQ+ Communities

The City of Champaign supports the rights of our LGBTQ+ communities and has appointed LGBTQ+ Liaisons to provide an informed voice to the City Manager on LGBTQ+ issues in the Champaign community.  The LGBTQ+ Liaisons also work with the City’s Equity and Engagement Department to develop community and employee events, along with participating in community-wide events like the Champaign-Urbana Pride Fest and Parade. The LGBTQ+ Liaisons work collaboratively with the City’s Human Relations Commission and other City staff to promote equity and human rights for the LGBTQ+ communities.

Kris Koester, LGBTQ+ Liaison/Administrative Services Manager
Public Works Department
217-403-4700 | [email protected]

Martha Rice, LGBTQ+ Liaison/Police Services Representative
Police Department
217-351-4545 | [email protected]

Danielle Griffet, LGBTQ+ Liaison/Police Officer
Police Department
217-351-4545 | [email protected]


Champaign Recognized for Inclusive LGBTQ+ Policies and Services

4 people standing holding Champaign Pride signs

In 2021, the City of Champaign was again recognized by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for the City’s inclusive LGBTQ+ laws, policies, and services. The Foundation ranked Champaign as the 2nd highest rated city in the State of Illinois in its 10th Annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI). The MEI is updated annually and used to measure how inclusive municipal policies, laws, and services are for the LGBTQ+ community. The MEI rates cities on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement, and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality. Learn more about the Municipal Equality Index at hrc.org/mei.

The Uniting Pride (UP) Center of Champaign County is the only LGBTQ+ resource center in the greater east central Illinois region. They serve clients from Champaign County and the surrounding areas through support groups, community events, educational programming, guest speakers, referrals, and resources. They also host the annual Champaign-Urbana Pride Festival and Parade.

The University of Illinois Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations created a resource page with supports for LGBTQ+ community members here.


Supporting Immigrant Communities

Group of people in front of Welcoming Week sign

Champaign County is home to one of the largest immigrant populations in Illinois. In 2017, Champaign-Urbana was one of 25 communities nationwide selected for the Gateways for Growth Award to receive custom research from the New American Economy (NAE) on the demographic and economic impact of immigrants in Champaign County, as well as technical assistance from NAE and Welcoming America to support the planning process. Members of Champaign County’s immigrant communities, service providers, government, businesses, public sector institutions and faith communities worked together to create a plan for social, civic, and economic integration of the immigrant community.

Cover of Champaign County Welcoming Plan

Click image to read the Champaign County Welcoming Plan

The Champaign County Welcoming Plan recognizes the contributions of a growing immigrant community and the vital need to create an inclusive environment for all residents of the county.  The Champaign County Welcoming Plan provides a framework to pursue a more equitable and inclusive future.

  • 25,552 immigrants live in Champaign County. That is 12.2% of the population.
  • 53.4% of immigrants in Champaign County entered the U.S. in 2010 or later.
  • 31.6% of total population growth in the county is attributed to immigrants between 2015 and 2019.
  • 31.9% of the foreign-born population in Champaign County are naturalized citizens.
  • Champaign County was one of only nine counties in Illinois (out of 102) with a growing population between 2010 and 2019.

Sources: 1. US Census Bureau: ACS 5-Year Estimates (2015-2019, 2011-2015); ACS Single-Year Estimates (2019); 2. New American Economy: New Americans in Champaign County (2018); and 3. Champaign County Regional Planning Commission: Champaign County ACS Report (2021).

Welcoming Week logo with quote "Belonging Begins With Us"

The New American Welcome Center at the University Y works to make our community a place where all immigrants can thrive and flourish. They do this by engaging local institutions and mobilizing community resources to ensure equitable access to services, economic opportunity, and meaningful belonging. NAWC signature programs include a multilingual helpline, immigration legal services, community navigators, and community bridge-building events.

Immigrant Services of Champaign-Urbana‘s purpose is to help immigrant families overcome their adversities and together build a future where their assets and talents fulfill their hopes and dreams. Family liaisons and community guides work with families to determine their needs. Support includes groceries, health supplies, household goods, baby & toddler items, transportation, and rent and utility assistance. Staff and volunteers also help families navigate to find resources, including securing medical care and available benefits, housing, jobs, English-as-a-Second-Language classes, legal assistance, and more.