PEORIA — The St. Jude Children's Hospital Midwest Affiliate now has $12,580 more for research and operations after the state of Illinois handed over unclaimed property to the not-for-profit on Monday.

State Treasurer Michael Frerichs presented the funds to the organization, based at OSF HealthCare Children's Hospital of Illinois, as part of an ongoing effort to return unclaimed funds to not-for-profits in the wake of the enduring state budget battle.

"We made it a priority to find that money and get it into their hands," Frerichs said about the effort to aid charities.

The treasurer's office holds custody of unclaimed property throughout the state. That includes lost bank accounts, insurance policy payouts, abandoned safe deposit boxes and a host of other items that are turned over after they've gone unclaimed after at least five years.

In the case of the St. Jude Affiliate, the money came from two unclaimed — or unsent — checks, either donations or payments for services, an outstanding gift certificate and a rebate, Frerichs said.

The money had been sitting unclaimed in the treasurer's office for at least a decade.

"When they use that to help provide medical services or research for pediatric cancer, I think everyone would agree that's a better use of money than sitting in a Springfield bank account," Frerichs said.

"We didn't realize there was money out there for us, and the claim process could not have been easier," said Shelley Lee, patient services coordinator at the facility, in a news release. "The St. Jude Midwest Affiliate relies primarily on individual contributions to fulfill our mission, so these unexpected funds will go directly toward the care and services we provide the children and their families."

Individuals or organizations can search the treasurer's website to find out if the state is holding any unclaimed property for them at www.illinoistreasurer.gov/ICASH

Chris Kaergard can be reached at ckaergard@pjstar.com or 686-3255. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.