RACF celebrates 2022 Community Needs Grant recipients

On Wednesday, the Rochelle Area Community Foundation (RACF) celebrated its 2022 Community Needs Grant recipients at the Lincoln Arts Center. RACF granted over $85,000 to local nonprofits through 26 grants in the cycle.

Over $85,000 was granted to local nonprofits

ROCHELLE — On Wednesday, the Rochelle Area Community Foundation (RACF) celebrated its 2022 Community Needs Grant recipients at the Lincoln Arts Center. RACF granted over $85,000 to local nonprofits through 26 grants in the cycle. 

Organizations that received grants included Camp Cedar Illinois, CASA -15th Judicial Circuit (Ogle County), Creston Booster Club, Creston Dement Public Library, Flagg Township Museum, Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, HOPE of Ogle County, Rochelle Middle School, Serenity Hospice and Home, Vince Carney Community Theater, Central School, Community Action Network, Flagg-Rochelle Public Library, Floyd J. Tilton VFW Post 3878, Foundation for Focus House, Habitat for Humanity of Ogle County, Northern Illinois Food Bank, Rochelle Elementary School District #231, Shining Star Children's Advocacy Center and Tilton Elementary School.

RACF serves the communities of Chana, Creston, Esmond, Kings, Lindenwood, Rochelle and Steward. Organizations eligible to apply for grants are nonprofit organizations with valid 501(c)(3) designation and units of government including but not limited to public libraries, schools and municipalities. 

Wednesday’s event saw grant recipients, RACF board members and donors attend.

“The grant recipients are super excited to be here,” RACF Executive Director Emily Anaya said. “It shows we believe in what they're doing. And that our donors believe. Because they continue to come back and fund. We have donor-advised funds that fully supported many of the programs here. For a grantee to feel that and know that, they're extremely excited and they feel they have purpose and they're doing worthwhile work every single day.”

Anaya said Wednesday evening was all about honoring and celebrating the good in the community, on both the donor and nonprofit sides. The grant cycle makes for “a lot of work” for RACF, including its grants committee reading and evaluating the entirety of every application that comes in and meeting to make recommendations to the RACF board, which carries out the approval process. Grants are then gifted out and checks are presented ahead of the event.

“It is quite time consuming,” Anaya said. “I'd say a good quarter of our time in a year is spent doing these grants."

Anaya believes it’s “extremely important” for the community to know that RACF is there for it and that 100 percent of its funding stays local. 

“We are serving our community and want it to thrive and be vibrant,” Anaya said. “That's what we're doing each and every day. Every grant cycle we go through and every grant we approve follows our mission, vision and purpose."

When grant checks were presented to the nonprofits earlier this year, Anaya and board members were able to go and meet with those involved and see where positive impacts will be made from the grant money.

“It was really neat for our board members to be able to go out and meet all of the different nonprofits,” Anaya said. ‘It's all walks of life. We were able to open it up and give to so many different areas. For our board members to go out and deliver those checks to those organizations, they were able to see first-hand how they were making the impact."

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