About Us

     Our Story….

In July 1915, Kankakee County hired an advisor, Miss Eva Benefiel, a graduate of the University of Illinois, to develop a home improvement association.  This was the first county to be organized in Illinois and only the second in the entire United States.

In the beginning, the idea of the Home Advisor was misunderstood.  Instead of regarding Miss Benefiel as an educator, she was regarded as a sort of maid in the home.  Eventually, with surely great patience and perseverance on her part, people recognized Miss Benefiel's true function.  Mercer County organized in 1917, and thirteen more counties organized by 1919.

Some women organizing a county in 1918 rode horseback seven miles to board a train, which then took them fifteen more miles to Champaign, the county seat.  On January 14, 1925, the first formal Annual Meeting was held and officers elected for one year.

Copies from IHBE (Illinois Home Bureau Federation) Minutes of 1925:  The Illinois Home Bureau Federation came into being in January, 1924 by the action of the State Conference consisting of the Representatives of the various counties.  As what these pioneering women did for the IAHCE women of today, we now are shaping what life will be for the next generation when IAHCE celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2024.

An Aim for the Homemaker

To have the home...
  • Economically sound
  • Mechanically convenient
  • Physically healthful
  • Morally wholesome
  • Mentally stimulating
  • Artistically satisfying
  • Socially responsible
  • Spiritually inspiring
  • Founded upon mutual
      affection and respect
—Juliet Lita Bane, Home Economist, 1919
Our Mission Statement

The Illinois Association for Home and Community Education enhances the lives of individuals and families through quality educational programs and experiences encouraging responsible leadership and service to the community.