Our Mission and Vision

Our mission is to provide children with special needs the opportunity for an inclusive education in Catholic schools within the Diocese of Peoria. We envision our Catholic schools to be a place where every student is valued as a unique child made in the image and likeness of God.

What We Do

The FIRE Foundation of Central Illinois, an independent 501(c)(3) organization, makes it possible for partner Catholic schools in the Diocese of Peoria to raise awareness and raise funds that can be used to provide professional development, hire special educators and paraprofessionals, and to acquire accessible tools and technologies that create successful learning experiences for all children. With grants from FIRE, schools are able to welcome students with Down syndrome, significant learning disabilities, Autism spectrum disorder, and students who face other special learning challenges. In inclusive learning environments, children grow up knowing and appreciating each other’s unique gifts.


There is a very important spiritual dimension to what we are doing. Jesus did not discriminate. And that is our teaching, the message of the gospel: that everyone made in His image and likeness should be treated fairly, given the same opportunities and become one in the family of God.
– Bishop Emeritus Raymond Boland


Your Support Changes Children’s Lives

Although willing, not all Catholic schools have the resources needed to welcome students with special needs. We are working to grow throughout the Diocese of Peoria and your support will help us spread FIRE’s flame so that more children can learn and thrive in a Catholic academic community and thus enriching all students with the blessings of inclusive learning.

When you support the FIRE Foundation of Central Illinois, you embrace love and acceptance.

Our History

FIRE Foundation of Central Illinois was started by Jay and Renée Percell, to provide their daughter, Adele, with the opportunity to one day attend Catholic School. The Percells were motivated to start FIRE Foundation of Central Illinois after attending the 2018 Inclusion Summit of the NCEA, where the idea of inclusive Catholic education became possible. FIRE Foundation of Central Illinois is modeled after the FIRE Foundation in Kansas City which has been supporting inclusive Catholic education since 1996. FIRE Foundation of Central Illinois is one of six FIRE affiliates igniting inclusive Catholic education across the country. Please join us in supporting this very important mission which affirms the teachings of the Catholic Church. 

Contact Us

For more information on Inclusive Catholic Education within the Diocese of Peoria, call 602-743-1460 or email info@firefoundationcil.org.