News

United Ways of Illinois call on state officials to end budget impasse

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(Rockford, Ill. - 06/30/2015) – United Way of Illinois sent an open letter this morning to the Governor and leaders of the General Assembly asking them to act together immediately to pass a state budget. United Way is very aware of the uncertainty and distress that these delays and potential cuts are causing across the human services sector and with our partner agencies in particular. We will continue advocating for a responsible budget that recognizes the value and importance of human services.

Below is a transcript of the open letter.

 

June 30, 2015

An Open Letter to the Leadership of the General Assembly and the Governor

As the largest collective private funder of human services in the state, United Way of Illinois has serious concerns about the ongoing budget stalemate and what it means for the people of Illinois.

Non-profit organizations are the backbone for the delivery of state services to our most at-risk and vulnerable citizens. Hundreds of our partner agencies, who have worked for decades on the state's behalf to serve the people of Illinois, depend on elected leaders to pass a timely and fiscally responsible budget — a budget that provides funding for programs that ensure basic quality of life to our disadvantaged neighbors and that advance the collective economic strength of the region.

The 52 local United Ways that make up United Way of Illinois continue to provide support and funding to our partners, but private philanthropy cannot possibly fill the hole left in the absence of state funding. Nor can human service providers continue to do their critical work without a line of sight to what state funding they can operate with this coming fiscal year.

With the state's new fiscal year only a day away with no approved budget, nonprofit organizations are wrestling with untenable uncertainty — planning for lay-offs, reducing client numbers and shuttering programs. United Way research shows that in large regions of our state, more than 75% of our partner agencies depend significantly on state resources to provide services. The nonprofit sector in Illinois has repeatedly answered the call to do more with less, and has delivered efficient, quality services. It relies on the state to pass a clear and timely plan for this fiscal year. Illinois needs to turn this comer and set a new path.

We ask that the General Assembly and the Governor work side by side to serve the citizens of Illinois by promptly passing a state budget.

Again, United Way of Illinois stands at the ready to partner with state leaders to make the most of a responsible state budget that serves the needs of all Illinois citizens.

Sincerely,
Mark R. Burton

Chair, United Way of Illinois
Chair, United Way of Quad Cities

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley advances the common good in Winnebago and Ogle counties, creating opportunities for a better life by focusing on education, income, and health. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.

Middle-school students illustrate their aspirations for a strong neighborhood

Doors of Opportunity

(Rockford, Ill. - 06/19/2015) – Middle-school students from Ellis Heights and Midtown District neighborhoods expressed their aspirations for a strong neighborhood through art projects during a two-day Youth Action Summit as part of United Way of Rock River Valley's annual Day of Action activities. The workshop is part of a global United Way Day of Action, which brings people together to LIVE UNITED and take action to address a variety of challenges in their communities.

United Way, in collaboration with Northwest Community Center, Patriot's Gateway Community Center, Rockford Area Arts Council and Youth Build, provided local students with a safe and healthy forum to discuss challenges in their neighborhoods and to share aspirations for a strong neighborhood. Students were encouraged to paint, draw, and write the things they would like to change in their community and then to decorate a door with their illustrations. The final art project, entitled "Doors of Opportunity", will be on display at Rockford Art Museum June 22 – August 24.

"These doors represent how young people view the future of their neighborhood," says Ashley Burks, United Way Community Impact Manager. "What we see is that some kids want a community free of violence and alcohol. Others see a community free of drugs. Really, what we're seeing is a lot of children want a community that is united and for people to get along with one another."

The Youth Action Summit is a direct result of United Way's Strong Neighborhoods initiative, which identified the need to create more youth empowerment opportunities. The "Doors of Opportunity" exhibit symbolizes the possibilities that young people bring to the progression of their community. The public is invited to visit the exhibit at Rockford Art Museum, June 22 – August 24, and to share their own aspiration for a strong neighborhood using this template.

Visit United Way Day of Action to learn more.


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley advances the common good in Winnebago and Ogle counties, creating opportunities for a better life by focusing on education, income, and health. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.

Home security upgrades for Midtown residents restore sense of safety in neighborhood

Lights and Locks

Tim Watkins, Project First Rate, explains to Deb Nicholson, Nicholson Hardware, and Ashley Burks, United Way of Rock River Valley, the installation process of motion-censored lights for the Lights and Locks program.
 

(Rockford, Ill. - 05/01/2015) – Several residents in Midtown District will receive security upgrades to their homes this summer to restore a sense of safety in the neighborhood. The Lights and Lock program, a collaboration between United Way of Rock River Valley, Nicholson Hardware and Project First Rate, will provide motion-censored lights and secure locks for 10 homes in Midtown. Contractors and electricians with Project First Rate will work together with residents to install the upgrades.

Lights and Locks program is a direct response to needs discovered through 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. Residents acknowledged well-lit and secure homes help reduce crime and increase pride of the neighborhood.

For more information on United Way's Strong Neighborhoods initiative, contact community impact managers Ashley Burks or Mathew Simpson by calling 815-968-5400.
 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley advances the common good in Winnebago and Ogle counties, creating opportunities for a better life by focusing on education, income, and health. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.

May School Readiness Book: Creature-filled extravaganza informs and entertains curious little bug lovers

Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!

(Rockford, Ill. - 05/28/2015) – This month, over 4,000 pre-k students received Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!/¡Insectos! ¡Insectos! as part of May's book title for Success By 6® Page Turner Reading Program. The book is part of United Way's school readiness focus that helps children birth to age 6 learn, grow, and enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

Buzzing bees, fuzzy caterpillars, hopping grasshoppers, fluttering butterflies, and curly, roly-poly bugs fairly bounce off the pages in Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!/¡Insectos! ¡Insectos! Author Bob Barner delivers this creature-filled extravaganza, which pairs a delightful, nonsense rhyme with bold, full-color collage illustrations, to inform and entertain curious little bug lovers everywhere.

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 activities on each book to engage their young child in learning at home. Teachers also incorporate curriculum developed around each book title into their classroom. Books and materials are provided for English- and Spanish-speaking families.

The Page Turner Reading Program, in partnership with City of Rockford Head Start, The Diocese of Rockford, Harlem School District #122, Kreative K, Montessori and Rockford Public Schools District #205, assists pre-school teachers in developing pre-literacy skills 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 on United Way's Success By 6® Page Turner Reading Program or its work in school readiness, contact Linda Sandquist by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 815-968-5400.

 

Additional Resources:

English Parent Piece

Spanish Parent Piece

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley advances the common good in Winnebago and Ogle counties, creating opportunities for a better life by focusing on education, income, and health. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.

April School Readiness Book: Experience the wonder of the ocean through rhyming text and realistic illustrations

Hello Ocean

Ronald Welte, a delegate of Rockford United Labor, helps introduce April's School Readiness book to pre-k students at Summerdale Early Childhood Center.
 

(Rockford, Ill. - 04/27/2015) – This month, over 4,000 pre-k students received Hello Ocean/Hola Mar as part of April's book title for Success By 6® Page Turner Reading Program. The book is part of United Way's school readiness focus that helps children birth to age 6 learn, grow, and enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

Sparkling, evocative illustrations and joyful text describe a young girl's journey of discovery as she uncovers the secrets of the sea using each of her five senses. In Hello Ocean/Hola Mar author Pam Muñoz Ryan and illustrator Mark Astrella use great imagery to emphasize the differences between the five senses and incorporate literary elements such as alliteration, metaphors, and rhyme and rhythm.

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 activities on each book to engage their young child in learning at home. Teachers also incorporate curriculum developed around each book title into their classroom. Books and materials are provided for English- and Spanish-speaking families.

The Page Turner Reading Program, in partnership with City of Rockford Head Start, The Diocese of Rockford, Harlem School District #122, Kreative K, Montessori and Rockford Public Schools District #205, assists pre-school teachers in developing pre-literacy skills 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 on United Way's Success By 6® Page Turner Reading Program or its work in school readiness, contact Linda Sandquist by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 815-968-5400.

 

Additional Resources:

English Parent Piece

Spanish Parent Piece

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley advances the common good in Winnebago and Ogle counties, creating opportunities for a better life by focusing on education, income, and health. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.