Unlock the Power of Giving: Transforming Communities through Nonprofits

By Cole Bathje, Fund Development Manager

The year end marks times of giving thanks, of gathering, and of shopping as we prepare to give gifts to those who mean the most to us. During this season of giving, would you consider adding your local nonprofit organization to the list? 

Rockford has many wonderful non-profit organizations that play a crucial role in addressing societal needs we face here locally from healthcare to homelessness, legal representation to literacy. As nonprofits, we all have something in common: we rely on the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations to have the dollars to do the work necessary to create change in our communities. 

As you consider a year-end gift, here are three reasons I believe that giving to a nonprofit organization this holiday season can play a pivotal role in helping transform our community locally:

1. Nonprofits Build Stronger Communities:

Non-profit organizations operate in various sectors, each with its own specific area, but often have positive effects that are much broader. For example, Rockford Promise at a glance is a scholarship organization, but as a promise program, it goes so much farther than “just” funding full-tuition scholarships and supporting students through to college graduation. Promise programs lead to a higher educational attainment rate in a community.  In turn, communities with increased educational attainment consistently show decreased crime rates and increased positive metrics such as prosperity, and population and business growth. Giving to nonprofits is an investment in the well being of the community. 

2. Nonprofits Foster Positive Change:

Non-profit organizations also often help bring positive change to other partners within their sector.  For example when a promise program is available in a community, it has been shown to also strengthen the local public school system. Students are excited and motivated by the promise of a tuition-free path to college, and strive to attain the grades necessary to qualify. This student-led shift towards a culture of achievement in turn has a positive effect on the success of the schools. 

That positivity works both ways. Locally, while there is continued work to be done, recent metrics from the public schools are encouraging. According to the most recent State Board of Education Illinois Report Card regarding RPS205, “Among the achievements last year, the report shows that 3rd Grade literacy and math scores are up, middle school and high school freshman are performing on track with all Illinois schools, and the graduation rate rose to nearly 70 percent.” When schools have more students with increasing achievement, in turn, more students are able to take advantage of college opportunities like Rockford Promise.  When individuals contribute to non-profits, they actively participate in building a stronger, more resilient community within sector partners as well. 

3. Nonprofits Build A Brighter Future:

Philanthropic support encourages innovation within communities. At Rockford Promise, we have heard and seen the need for an educated workforce firsthand while meeting with local businesses. Consistently, these companies express a pressing need for skilled individuals, emphasizing the importance of nurturing local talent. In response, Rockford Promise is working to connect Scholars with local businesses for internships. Research shows that 70% of internships result in permanent employment, and fulfills a need for both employers to fill jobs and develop talent, and in turn, for Scholars to secure the next step in their promising careers and futures.  Philanthropic work and conversations within the community reveal gaps and inspire solutions. 

Thank you!

The importance of giving to nonprofits is essential to the future of our communities. Whether you’ve supported a local charity, a global cause, or something close to your heart, thank you. What better way to give a gift this holiday season than to give a gift that will work for generations to come.