We had a really nice chat with a good friend this morning. Paul Logli, president and CEO of the United Way of Rock River Valley spent some time with us describing the different and ongoing efforts of the United Way and their community partners to make Rockford a better place to live for everyone.

One of the many ways help and hope are being offered is through the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative, a program that aims to affect change through:

a place-based strategy that will dramatically improve the quality of life for our children and families because strong neighborhoods make a strong community.Together with neighborhood residents and community partners, United Way is developing a common agenda that will will allow us to assess neighborhood assets and needs, find solutions, and identify metrics in order to evaluate impact.
We have formed a Community Impact Team that will serve as "boots on the ground" in each neighborhood, developing authentic relationships with the residents and learning about their dreams for a better life.

There's also the I Read early grade reading program, in which volunteer reading mentors are matched with:

kindergarten students and prepares students to read proficiently by 4th grade. Volunteers tutor up to three students each week during the school day and are encouraged to remain with their students through 3rd grade. Reading mentors may tutor up to three students weekly for 20 minutes each during the school day in the classroom or other designated areas within the school.

There are many ways to give back, or pay it forward in the community. Take the Rock River Valley Pantry, for example. You can always make your contribution of food to the pantry, but you can also volunteer to put in some time at the pantry to help their stocking and distribution efforts.

Or, you could dig into your pockets to help the Rock River Valley Pantry's "Peanut Butter Endowment."

From their website:

The Peanut Butter Endowment was created to provide funds for purchasing food for clients when not enough is donated. The Pantry will use the interest from the Peanut Butter Endowment to do so. All monies will be held in the Peanut Butter Endowment which is managed by Savant Capital Management, Inc. Once the principal amount is invested, we will only use up to 4% of the interest earned. Any interest earned above that will be reinvested.

Here's more on the Peanut Butter Endowment:

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