Local CEO sleeps on a roof for 3 months and counting - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Local CEO sleeps on a roof for 3 months and counting

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Friendship House CEO, Robert Montgomery Friendship House CEO, Robert Montgomery

It's been more than three months since a new CEO took over Christian Charity, Friendship House, in Peoria.

Robert Montgomery pledged to raise half a million dollars for the Peoria community and since then he's been raising much more than money.

Montgomery has raised expectations for how the city should rally behind its citizens,  he's raised awareness about how many people are struggling but may not meet the on-paper criteria for being 'poor', and he's also raising the figurative roof. 

Montgomery sleeps on the building's roof every night, to inspire the community to donate time, money and resources.

So far he says they've raised $90,000 dollars toward their $500,000 goal, but they still have far to go.

"Most of the people who know what we do are people who actually benefit from Friendship House, but the average person that goes downtown everyday to work, they don't really realize the great work that we do here. So I wanted to scream it from the rooftop what we do in Peoria." said Montgomery explaining why he undertook the fundraising campaign. 

The organization, run by ten people, including the CEO, has several programs under its roof.

A food pantry, medical services for senior citizens, clothing outreach, youth mentoring, financial literacy training, to name a few -and they don't plan on slowing down any time soon. 

"There's a lot that needs to be done." affirmed Montgomery. 

Montgomery joked about how cold and windy it's been on the roof lately, but confirmed he'll stick it out for as long as it takes to raise the money.

On the roof, Montgomery has a simple layout with a tent, a few chairs, a tiny portable heater, some snacks and even a grill. For awhile he even had a fridge, but after some safety hazards arose, he got rid of it.

Montgomery's first tent collapsed. Since then, he's purchased a new, sturdier one

When he first arrived in Peoria, the CEO would even shower at Planet Fitness, a local gym,  then make his way back to the building for work. Montgomery has an apartment now, but remains dedicated to his cause and chooses not to sleep there.

"Being here... helps me to understand a little bit of what they're going through and how humbling it would be if I had no other options." he said of people in Peoria who may be homeless or without consistent housing.

The CEO is still $400,000 short of his goal and encourages anyone who can, to donate. If you're interested in helping,  the number to Friendship House, located on 800 NE Madison Ave, Peoria, IL 61603, is (309) 671-5200.

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