Webel Focused on Relationship Building as Carl Sandburg College Foundation Director

  Aaron Frey
  Monday, July 1, 2019 1:07 PM
  Campus News

Galesburg, IL

On one of her first days at her new job, Emily Webel met with a man who had previously done some work to assist the Carl Sandburg College Foundation.

Webel, who began as the Foundation’s director of advancement June 1, asked him a simple question: Why?

“Well,” he said, “I believe in the College.”

He went on to share stories of employees of his who had gone to Sandburg and of how it had benefited his children, who were alumni of the College. His message was clear: Sandburg’s footprint extends far beyond those who step onto its campus.

“While he wasn’t an alumnus himself, he believes in the school,” Webel said. “I think I’m coming to a really great place in that Sandburg is revered in our community.”

It’s a relationship that Webel, an Oneida native and ROWVA High School graduate, experienced firsthand before taking on this role.

Her father, Ted Mottaz, was an instructor for 30 years in Sandburg’s previous agriculture program. When she returned last month, the childhood joy of running up and down the hallway ramps and the smell of the ag shop were still fresh in her memory. It also made her think back to the weddings of her father’s students that she had attended.

“I thought that was really amazing because it was a really relational program, which I’m hopefully going to bring into this position too,” Webel said. “Building those relationships and making them last.”

As director of the Carl Sandburg College Foundation, Webel oversees the raising and receiving of gifts to provide financial support for Sandburg students, programs and projects. But Webel views the Foundation’s function as more than simply a fundraising arm.

“I know that’s our overarching goal, but it’s more relationship building,” Webel said. “People will give to a cause that means something to them, or a structure or a program that brings back a memory or they see themselves being a part of something.”

A University of Illinois graduate, Webel took summer classes at Sandburg and taught sixth grade in Monticello as her first job out of college. She stepped away from teaching when she and her husband, Joe — a business development specialist for the Maschhoffs, the fourth-largest hog production company in North America — started a family. They live on a farm with their six children (Anna, 14; Josie, 12; Amelia, 10; Jack, 8; and 4-year-old twins Mary and Caroline) in southeastern Knox County, where they raise Simmental cattle.

When Webel returned to the workforce, her stops had a common link of ways to give back. She held positions with Illinois Farm Families, the Heart of Illinois United Way in Peoria, the Clinton Health Matters Initiative in Knox County and the Peoria County Regional Office of Education before coming to Sandburg. Her new role fits right in.

“I love kids, I love education. Nonprofit education is heart work for me,” Webel said. “I have to go home at the end of the day and feel like I’m making some sort of difference at a greater level.”

Now she invites others to join her in making a difference by supporting Sandburg and its students through the Foundation.

“Our community is so giving of their time and their talents,” Webel said. “They believe in this community. We’ve been through a lot with all the changes that have happened in the past 20, 30 years in this community, but we still plug away, especially an institution like Sandburg.

“We open doors for people who are nontraditional students to pursue other careers. We open doors for kids who aren’t quite sure what they’re going to do with their life. They can take a breath here and have a smaller class and get some guidance. We offer opportunities for high school kids. There’s so much opportunity out there for our community members.”

MORE INFORMATION: Carl Sandburg College Foundation

Emily Webel

Emily Webel

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Aaron Frey