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Gagliardo: Big and small ways to help local nonprofits

Published: Monday, April 7, 2014 9:21 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, May 5, 2014 4:05 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – Twice in the last month I’ve picked up a newspaper to find an article written about a nonprofit agency on the brink of closing its doors. In a time when more and more families need help, it’s discouraging to see agencies capable of making a difference being eliminated due to lack of funding.

Grundy County has many organizations that are here to serve county residents and do an excellent job of doing so. However, some of these organizations receive no state or federal funding and rely strictly on the community to support them.

Other organizations are funded by state or federal monies, but are finding their programs are often the first to be cut when budget items disappear. So what, if anything, can we as a community do to ensure you, your children, and your grandchildren have future access to local services if and when they are needed? In the short term you can:

• Give monetarily to those organizations whose missions you believe in or those you have received help from in the past.

• Offer to volunteer your time at an organization. Often times having volunteers allows organizations to refrain from hiring staff to carry out certain day-to-day tasks which in turns saves them money.

• Ask an organization how you can help them with upcoming fundraising events. Something as simple as helping promote their events could make a large impact.

• If you are looking to make a long term impact you can:

• Make a large donation to an organization. Although I realize many individuals, me included, do not have the means to do this, there are some individuals who do. When I say a large donation I mean a donation of office space guaranteed rent free for the next five, 10, or more years. Or a monetary donation large enough to ensure a specific program can remain intact for many years to come.

• Talk with us at the Community Foundation of Grundy County about creating a fund that best suits what you are looking to accomplish in your gift giving. Funds can be set up at the community foundation for a specific purpose or for a specific agency. Funds that are set up with the community foundation allow donors to leave a legacy that will impact their community for decades to come.

So what if you are looking to be charitable, but don’t know where help is needed?

If you are an individual who would like to know more about area not-for-profits, I would encourage you to attend a Grundy County Interagency Council meeting. Interagency Council meets the third Tuesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Morris. Most of the local not-for-profits attend these meetings to network with one another, as well as discuss programs and services they offer. Each month one agency presents to the group on their agency. This is a great way for all of us organizations to stay up to date on each other’s current programs and services.

We at the community foundation also have a not-for-profit wish list available. Organizations were asked to complete a form containing several questions about their mission, goals, and needs. These were complied to form a wish list that can give potential donors an opportunity to see what some of the local agencies greatest needs are. Although this list may not have every not-for-profit represented, it is a good starting place.

For information on creating a fund at the Community Foundation of Grundy County, on the Grundy County Interagency Council, or the wish list, contact the Community Foundation of Grundy County at 815-941-0852.

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