Two Rockford-area nonprofits and a local business are teaming up to support artists and art organizations in Winnebago County.
Kristen Paul is the director of destination development for the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. She said the idea for the Our Journey micro-grants came about after print and t-shirt company Rockford Art Deli started the "Here for Good" campaign to support local businesses hit financially by COVID-19.
“So, we approached them and said we're a nonprofit organization, but we would love to work with another nonprofit, which was the Rockford [Area] Arts Council and see if we can donate these funds back," she shared.
She said, under the program, the Art Deli produces and sells Rockford-themed masks and t-shirts. It gives a part of the proceeds to the two groups to fund micro-grants to the arts community.
Paul said art sends a strong message to the community -- not only to those who live there -- but also to the visitors.
“I mean, you can tell people who love their yard by the way it looks," she said. "And you can tell a community that is loved by its people by the way it's cared for. And I really think that art shows how much people care.”
The micro-grants will provide up to $500 to each recipient. Applications are now being accepted. The deadline for the first phase is June 12.
Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.