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First Midwest Group Gives $20,000 to United Way of Rock River Valley

(RRStar, Aug 21, 2009, Corina Curry)-The United Way of Rock River Valley will contract with a local grant writing service this year to increase the amount of money the organization is able to dole out to its 48 partner agencies.


The contract is made possible by a $20,000 gift to the United Way from First Rockford Group.

Unlike most United Way donations, the First Rockford gift is restricted, explained United Way CEO Paul Logli, and can only be spent on the contract with Write Away Inc., a company that specializes in seeking and securing grant funds for nonprofits, municipalities and educational systems.


“The idea is that hopefully we’ll be able to turn this $20,000 into hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Logli said today after announcing the gift from Sunil Puri, president of First Rockford Group.


Write Away will initially focus its grant building energies in the areas of early childhood development and learning and the state’s new 211 information system aimed to provide easy access to county services and resources.


After the initial push, Write Away may be used to further seek public and private grant funds supporting other areas of United Way’s reach.


The United Way is an umbrella organization that works to raise funds for area social service agencies providing everything from food, shelter and employment training for the poor to after-school programs for kids and addiction counseling.


The way it will work, Logli explained, is Write Away will research and identify grant opportunities, and the United Way will convene groups of nonprofits to jointly apply for the funding.


“This is not about bringing money into the United Way,” Logli said. “It’s about resource building.”


With staffing at 1980 levels because of budget cuts, many of which took place in the past year, Logli said the agency doesn’t have the people or time necessary to complete complicated and competitive grant applications.


The United Way kicked off its 2009 fundraising campaign Aug. 20.


The goal is $4.5 million, $100,000 more than what was raised during last year’s campaign and $300,000 more than what was actually collected.


Campaign results will start rolling in by late November or early December, Logli said.

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