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Recent blog posts

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I'm excited! United Way of Rock River Valley is unveiling new branding...and I love it. It's direct, emotional, and a little bit gritty. It tells the story of United Way.

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Thank you to the over 400 donors who have already filled out United Way's survey about a new focus area. Today, August 4, is the deadline to complete the survey so please check your email and fill it out if you haven't already.

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More than 70 percent of millennials volunteered for at least one hour annually. Millennials are among the most “generous” and optimistic generation in history, reports Brigid Schulte of The Washington Post. However, organizations cannot simply rely on employer-solicited contributions when working with this group.

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Two weeks ago, United Way of Rock River Valley, RAASE (Rockford Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation), the Rockford Police Department and the Winnebago County Sheriff committed to and educated the public on end-demand strategy as a way to fight prostitution in the Rockford area, specifically in the Midtown neighborhood.

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In May, our United Way board of directors and staff embarked on the incredible journey known as strategic planning. I can tell right now, most of you are thinking, "I've been down that road before. Strategic planning is a great way to devote time and money to printing a plan and storing it on a shelf." Not so with United Way. We are intent on creating, with this community's help, a living, breathing document that will direct our work for the next three years and for years to come.

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There are many ways to give back to your community, ranging from volunteering to mentoring children and adolescents through local organizations, like the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative via United Way of Rock River Valley. However, one of the most effective ways to stretch your passion to help others is by making charitable donations. These donations put your money to work in local communities in several key ways.

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In this Midwestern City, there is no question that Rockford and surrounding areas boast a deep passion for the game of golf. This region alone possesses over 15 public and private golf courses. Due to the high interest of this sport, Rockford United Labor has been able to build a tradition of giving back to the community. For over 23years, Rockford United Labor has supported United Way of Rock River Valley’s community impact by raising additional money by doing what many of its members enjoy, playing golf.  The success of this annual event, held on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017, has raised over $300,000 in fundraising dollars over the years. These outings, along with many others hosted by labor organizations, benefits United Way and have a positive impact on the children and parents in our community.

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Spending time outside is well-documented for its health benefits among health professionals, reports the U.S. National Library of Medicine. In fact, you are bombarded with an endless array of learning opportunities and mental health-boosting nutrients every time you step outdoors, but these benefits are easy to overlook. Take a closer look at some of the exciting ways parks can help improve community health too.

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While you may have already filed your taxes for 2016, it is never too late to start thinking about ways to save on your taxes for next year. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce your tax bill is to donate to charity. These donations can help you save money and improve your long-term financial stability. In fact, consider how donating to a charity, like United Way of Rock River Valley, could help your finances in these five ways.

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School will be out soon, and while plenty of people will be planning their summer vacation, it is important to remember those in the community who may not have the ability to spend the summer lounging. Instead, you can help make the summer better and more enjoyable by volunteering for community service opportunities in your area. If you are not sure where to begin, consider volunteering for one of these fun, outdoor ways to give back to your community.

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With increased competition to get into the nation’s prestigious colleges and universities, more students need to understand how community service may impact their application. Having the right balance of community service and academic courses can help prospective students get into the college of their choice. As a result, students should understand how admission counselors are weighing community service, what types of community service can improve their chances and how to highlight such experiences in the application.

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While April showers may bring May flowers, finding ways to pass the time can be difficult. However, you can make great use of your time while the rain falls by exploring volunteer opportunities in Rock River Valley. In fact, think about giving back to the community through these easy and rewarding ways to volunteer during the rainy season.

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Deciding to volunteer and signing up to volunteer are two different things. You may have the best of intentions, but finding volunteer opportunities in Rock River Valleys is not always easy. While you can keep an eye out for such opportunities as you go about your day, use these tips to find new, exciting and heart-warming opportunities in your community.

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United Way's Black Male Initiative (BMI) is a pilot program that launched about a year ago. We partnered with Goodwill of Northern Illinois and the Workforce Connection to focus on empowering Black males between the ages of 18 - 24 to overcome challenges related to education and employment. Over the last year, we have connected 16 young men with mentors that provide additional guidance and motivation as they pursue their goals. These are some of the accomplishments to date:

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Volunteering is an excellent way to give back to your community. You can encourage others to persevere through troubling hardship and more, but community service can also have major health and psychological benefits for you as well.

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Yes, we "officially" celebrate Black History Month in February, but it's never too late to shine a light on the important figures that make our community great! Working in the Ellis Heights Neighborhood, I drive by Lewis Lemon Elementary School often. I'd like to share a little history related to the school's name!

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Unemployment in the Rockford, Illinois area is almost twice the National average, which makes finding a job that more difficult. It's especially a major issue for young black men. In fact, nearly 70 percent of young black males between the ages of 18-24 years old are without a job. That's more than four times higher than the rate for young white men.

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With spring’s arrival, the time is perfect to refocus your efforts on attaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Rather than spending thousands on diets and exercise equipment, follow these seven life-hacks for healthy living Rockford residents can rely on.

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