It’s common to see partnerships between funders and nonprofit organizations. What’s less common is funders gathering their resources and working together. But that’s just what’s happening in Warren County.
“When you find partners that share your passion for your community, it’s a no-brainer,” says Jeannie Weber, Executive Director of United Way of Greater Warren County. Weber found the perfect partners a few years ago in Galesburg Community Foundation and the Twomey Foundation—two organizations with a shared passion for lifting up local communities.
These three partners pooled their resources to provide matching funds for the establishment of Community Funds in Alexis, Monmouth, and Roseville. If towns could meet a $70,000 fundraising goal, that amount would be matched. “The towns were taking on an enormous challenge,” says Joshua Gibb, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “During a pandemic, mind you! And they stepped up and did it.”
The result is an expanded landscape of funding sources for county nonprofits and projects. “At first, we weren’t sure how this would work,” says Twomey Foundation Board Member Sarah Walters. “But working with these partners, together we figured out how we could create another important resource for Warren County—one that also advances our mission.”
The Twomey family operated a grain storage company for generations and started the Twomey Foundation more than 25 years ago to give back to the farming community and the people of Warren County.
For 50 years, the United Way of Greater Warren County has invested in local nonprofits and programming. “We see this as an investment,” says Weber. “We all want the same thing, to see our hometowns thrive.”
Even for those that move away, the love for home remains strong, and Community Funds offer a means of connecting with the communities they cherish. “In Roseville, for example, nearly half of all the initial gifts came from beyond the county, and we saw gifts from 12 different states,” says Gibb. “These funds help to keep money at home, but they also bring generosity back to the community from people who love their community but have since moved away.”
These funds are in their early stages, but already they are making a difference in each community. “Our work is long-term,” says Walters. “Because we created these partnerships, these funds are going to be sustainable and thriving for generations.”