Yearly grant allocations changed to align with Middle School Success initiative

United Way of Rock River Valley is changing its grant allocations to Winnebago County agencies to strategically convene and align partner agencies around its Middle School Success focus and the strategies that support it — Strong Neighborhoods and Early Childhood Literacy.

The decision follows years of gradual transition from multi-program funding to a more targeted and strategic approach to specific community challenges. The change was driven largely by a new generation of donors who demand specific, measurable impact and a desire to avoid a pass-through process and donate directly to individual organizations. Now, in addition to long-term trends, it has become apparent that the situation developing around Covid-19 is a major disruptor to United Way’s current community campaign. United Way is troubled as to how the pandemic will affect future campaigns in the face of employee furloughs and terminations at many of its workplace accounts and is trying to anticipate what the Post Covid-19 “new normal” is going to look like.

All grant allocations made to Winnebago County agencies will be honored through the end of United Way’s fiscal year, June 30, 2020. In addition, agencies have been told that they may use their current grant allocations to support operational expenses or other shortfalls they are experiencing due to the pandemic. All designations from employees at workplace campaigns will be honored during the current and future community campaigns.

Many organizations will continue to receive financial support from United Way. United Way will provide grants to community organizations that are working in priority areas dealing with early childhood literacy, middle school success, and the Strong Neighborhood Initiative. Additionally, United Way is considering a method of honoring endowed resources and continuing to provide support for basic community services for the most vulnerable people in our community. All of this work will be accomplished through partner agencies.