News

AFL-CIO and human services rally together in support of Illinois families

 AFL CIO Budget Rally

(Rockford, Ill. - 10/07/2015) – Under a unified voice, members of Illinois AFL-CIO, United Way of Rock River Valley and the nonprofit community assembled yesterday at E.J. "Zeke" Giorgi Center to call on leaders of the General Assembly and the Governor to promptly pass a state budget. Now in its fourth month, the budget impasse in Springfield is causing uncertainty and distress across the human services sector and concerns about the long-term impact of future state budget cuts on children and families.

"Nonprofits depend on a timely and fiscally-responsible state budget to provide programs that ensure basic quality of life to our disadvantaged neighbors and that advance the collective economic strength of the region," says Linda Sandquist, vice president of United Way of Rock River Valley. "Lack of a budget resolution means that the state's promise to our local human service providers has been broken."

During a United Way of Illinois survey of more than 400 human service agencies in July, 39 percent of agencies had already tapped into cash reserves to maintain operations and 19 percent reported that they would have depleted their cash reserves by the end of August. In fact, the survey found that four out of ten agencies had less than three months of cash on hand. Locally, many nonprofit agencies are experiencing severe reductions, or even elimination of state funding and are, out of financial necessity, cutting back or sharply reducing their services.

For instance:

  • To date, the Literacy Council has used $42,400 from its reserves. By December 30, 2015, the agency's deficit will be between $60,000 and $100,000 and reserves will be depleted, causing the agency to reduce programming by more than half.

  • Remedies, the area's domestic abuse shelter, is currently owed $400,000 from the state. During the month of September, the agency turned away more than 100 women and children who requested services.

  • A total of 41 hours of service have been cut from the Boys and Girls Club of Rockford resulting in a 63 percent decline in average attendance.

The budget impasse also creates a negative impact on the health of the local economy. The longer the budget impasse continues, the more it threatens the hundreds of thousands of Illinois workers employed by human services agencies. A local unnamed agency, citing employee privacy, recently cut ten percent of its administrators pay and will lay off up to seven staff by November 1.

Today's event served as an update to the community on the economic and social impact of the Illinois State budget impasse. Mike Brown, CEO & President of YMCA of Rock River Valley, Gary Halbach, CEO of Remedies, and Chip Stoner, President/CEO of Boys and Girls Club of Rockford shared their concerns on how the budget impasse is affecting their delivery of quality services. Michael T. Carrigan, President of Illinois AFL-CIO and Brad Long, President of Northwestern Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council, spoke on the impact the budget stalemate is having on the State's economy and working class.

Last month, United Way hosted a similar forum featuring local legislators and nonprofit leaders at the Nordloff Center in Rockford.

"Sustaining human services in the State of Illinois will require a collaborative effort among government, and civic and private sectors. United Way, as the largest private funder of human services in the state, will continue to advocate for a responsible budget that recognizes the value and importance of human services," says Sandquist.

 

Resources:

#SaveILFamilies Action Center

YouTube - 13WREX video

YouTube - 23WIFR video

YouTube - WTVO Eyewitness News video

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.

October School Readiness Book: Young readers learn about finding reassurance and hope in difficult times

School Readiness Associated Bank 

Michelle with Associated Bank introduces 'The Kissing Hand' to pre-k students in Miss Rachel's class at Donald C. Parker Early Education Center. (Photo: United Way of Rock River Valley)
 

(Rockford, Ill. - 10/05/2015) – This month, over 4,000 pre-k students will receive The Kissing Hand / Un Beso en Mi Mano as part of October's book title for Success By 6® Page Turner Reading Program. The program is part of United Way's school readiness initiative that helps children birth to age 6 learn, grow, and enter kindergarten ready to succeed. Members from Associated Bank and United Way introduced the book to classrooms in Harlem and Rockford schools.

In The Kissing Hand, school is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester's fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret call the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love nay time his world feels a little scary. Written by Audrey Penn, this heartwarming children's classic is widely used by pre-k and kindergarten teachers to confront the many emotions children experience during the start of a school year.

Each month during the school year, pre-k children receive their very own age-appropriate book selected by early childhood specialists. Children begin to build their personal libraries and parents receive tips on ways to engage their young child in learning at home. Teachers also incorporate activities developed around each book title into their classroom curriculum. Books and materials are provided for English- and Spanish-speaking families.

United Way of Rock River Valley, in collaboration with City of Rockford Head Start, The Diocese of Rockford, Harlem School District #122, Kreative K, Montessori, Rockford Lutheran School, and Rockford Public Schools District #205, assists educators in developing pre-literacy skills in students that are essential for kindergarten readiness. Since the majority of brain development occurs between birth and age five, quality early learning and care programs have a profound impact on lifelong success and support cognitive, social and emotional development.

For more information, visit United Way's Success By 6 initiaitive or contact Ella Nelson, Impact Coordinator, by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.

New job training workshop targets Ellis Heights and Midtown neighborhood residents with key employment skills

Strong Neighborhoods Workforce Development Institute

(Rockford, Ill. - 09/28/2015) – United Way of Rock River Valley, in collaboration with Workforce Development Institute and Rockford Rescue Mission, is holding a brief information session on a new job skills training workshop targeting unemployed residents in Ellis Heights and Midtown District neighborhoods. Through the Strong Neighborhoods Workforce Development Institute, unemployed and employer-referred adults can strengthen key job skills such as goal setting, interpersonal skills, problem-solving, negotiation skills and self-motivation. Training will be held at Rockford Rescue Mission's main campus on West State Street starting in October.

The partnership between United Way and Workforce Development Institute is a result of United Way's Strong Neighborhoods initiative, which will dramatically improve the quality of life for children and families in two of the region's most challenged neighborhoods. Through neighborhood engagement discussions, United Way discovered residents' needs for better education options closer to the neighborhoods, and training related to strengthening employment skills. The Workforce Development Institute was first launched in Freeport Housing Authority.

 

DETAILS

When: Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Where: Crusader Community Health on West State Street, Board Room (1200 West State Street, Rockford, Ill.)

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.

Update on the economic and social impact of the budget impasse

 AFL-CIO Budget Impact Update

United Way of Rock River Valley and the Illinois AFL-CIO invite you to an Illinois State Budget Impact Update. The purpose of this event is to update the community on the economic and social impact of the State of Illinois budget impasse.

Your attendance is vitally important as together we continue to champion the services provided by the local nonprofit sector. Speakers from our sector will discuss the difficulties facing our clientele and our community as a result of the lack of state funding. Local Legislators have been invited and will have the opportunity to speak about the budget impasse.

Please make arrangements to attend. Make sure to bring your ID and arrive early, as check-in is required in this building.

 

Details

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
E.J. "Zeke" Giorgi Center
200 South Wyman, Rockford, Ill.
11:00 a.m.

 

Speakers

Michael T. Carrigan - President, Illinios AFL-CIO
Gary Halbach - CEO, Remedies
Brad Long - President, Northwestern Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council
Linda Sandquist - Vice President, United Way of Rock River Valley
Chip Stoner - President/CEO, Boys and Girls Club of Rockford

United Way leaders among the 25 Black Leaders to Watch awards

25 Black Leaders to Watch

(Rockford, Ill. - 08/31/2015) – Ashley Burks and Matthew Simpson of United Way of Rock River Valley along with two board members were among those honored at last Friday's 25 Black Leaders to Watch event, hosted by Soul News Network.

 

Ashley Burks-100x100Ashley Burks, United Way neighborhood impact manager for Midtown District, was honored as a Young Leader on the Rise.

 

 

 

 

Jedediah CantrellJedediah Cantrell, United Way board member and vice president of operations at SwedishAmerican Health System, was honored as a Woman to Watch.

 

 

 

 

Danielle PotterDanielle Potter, United Way board member and senior manager of community recreation for Rockford Park District, was honored as a Community Mover and Shaker.

 

 

 

Matthew SimpsonMatthew Simpson, United Way neighborhood impact manager for Ellis Heights, was honored as a Community Mover and Shaker.

 

 

 

 "United Way is fortunate to have the benefit of their outstanding talent and leadership in advancing our important mission in the community," says Paul A. Logli, President/CEO of United Way of Rock River Valley.

Visit Soul News Network for a complete list of 25 Blacks Leaders to Watch.

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.