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  • Writer's picture815CRT

81Thrive Awards $555,000 to Seven Nonprofit Organizations

Seven nonprofit corporations were selected by the 81Thrive Initiative for a $50,000 discretionary award to assist with the losses endured as a result of COVID-19 AND up to $25,000 in capacity building supports from the Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence (NICNE).

The organizations selected are: Angelic Organics, Burpee Museum, CASA, Jeremiah Development, Northwest Community Center, Rockford Area Arts Council, and Shelter Care Ministries. Each organization received a cash infusion to use where needed to cover losses due to program and event cancellations, increased demand for services and/or facility closures. Together with the recipient organizations, “we can rebuild organizations and systems impacted by the worst economic storm of our lifetime in a way that builds capacity and long-term sustainability,” said Pam Clark Reidenbach, Executive Director of NICNE. Nonprofits are critical to the health of our community. How we respond to these new realities and the needs of our vital nonprofits will define us as a community for years to come.

“It is imperative that our nonprofits not only survive, but thrive so they are able to provide crucial programs and services for vulnerable individuals, children and families and offer arts and cultural opportunities, all of which also help the Rockford region thrive,” said John Groh member of the 815 Community Response Team. The 815CRT is led by NICNE with the Kjellstrom Foundation, United Way of Rock River Valley, CFNIL, RACVB, Transform Rockford, and Workforce Connections as partners. The CRT recognized after assessing local impact data that filling the gaping financial hole caused by COVID would not be possible. Nonprofits will need to rebuild and redesign in order to be sustainable. Each nonprofit awarded 81Thrive Funds will go through an assessment process with three area nonprofit experts putting a fresh set of eyes on their mission, internal operations and programs, external partnerships, and board leadership. Together with the experts, 81Thrive recipients will plan for the next twelve months to stabilize the organization and better ensure its success.

The first round of funding was provided by The Kjellstrom Family Foundation, Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, The Blazer Foundation, and Bill and Sue Gorski. The Initiative continues to raise money to support a second round for additional nonprofits with a total fundraising goal of $2 million. The first round saw 39 applicants requesting operational support and capacity building services. The need is great. The CRT is committed to harnessing the collective generosity of the community and pooling resources to respond to the needs of nonprofits impacted by COVID-19. Anyone can contribute to this Initiative by contacting Linda Sandquist at the United Way of Rock River Valley at 815-986-4817.


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