Rochelle News-Leader | RACF celebrates 2022 Community Needs Grant recipients

ROCHELLE – On Wednesday, the Rochelle Area Community Foundation (RACF) celebrated its 2022 Community Needs Grant recipients at the Lincoln Arts Center. RACF awarded more than $85,000 to local nonprofit organizations through 26 grants during 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 et Domicile, Vince Carney Community Theatre, 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 nonprofits with a valid 501(c)(3) designation and government units, including but not limited to public libraries, schools, and municipalities.

Wednesday’s event brought together grant recipients, RACF board members and donors.

“Grant recipients are thrilled to be here,” said RACF Executive Director Emily Anaya. “It shows that we believe in what they are doing. And that our donors believe. Because they keep coming back and funding. We have donor directed funds that have fully funded many programs here. For a recipient to feel this and know it, they are extremely excited and they feel they have a purpose and are doing worthwhile work each day.

Anaya said Wednesday night was about honoring and celebrating the good in the community, both on the donor side and on the nonprofit side. The grants cycle represents “a lot of work” for the RACF, including its Grants Committee which reads and evaluates in full each application that comes in and meets to make recommendations to the RACF Board, which executes the approval process. Grants are then distributed and checks are presented prior to the event.

“It takes a long time,” Anaya said. “I would say a good quarter of our time in a year is spent on these grants.”

Anaya thinks it is “extremely important” for the community to know that RACF is there for them and that 100% of its funding stays local.

“We serve our community and want it to thrive and be vibrant,” Anaya said. “That’s what we do every day. Every grant cycle we go through and every grant we approve follows our mission, vision, and purpose.”

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

“It was really good for our board members to be able to get out and meet all 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 come out and give these checks to these organizations, they got to see firsthand how they were making an impact.”

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