Dear Neighbors -
How do we tell the IVCanDO story? So, what exactly does IVCanDO, do?! These are questions we both ask ourselves and get asked often. We have our hands in so many different areas here at IVCanDO, that sometimes it's hard for us to succinctly describe the broad range of work we do within our community, but our mission statement does a good job:
The Illinois Valley Community Development Organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to collaborative programs and inclusive partnerships that improve and change lives across communities of rural southwest Oregon. With a community based strategic plan focused on People, Place, and Prosperity, we champion sustainable development for vibrant economic, social, and cultural conditions.
So what does that mean? It means we care about the places and people we live with. We seek out, support, and work with community partners that help make the Illinois Valley and greater rural southwest Oregon a great place to live. We bring in and create programs that improve our way of living and support our lifestyles. And we advocate for the people that love to call the Illinois Valley home.
This year, we have been laser-focused on supporting the residents, small businesses, and natural areas in our community with the programs we provide. Here are some examples:
- Our partnership with Oregon State Parks, as the Adopt-A-Park agreement holders for our local state parks allows us to maintain these areas with the help of our dedicated volunteers. Did you know that the improvements that have happened in recent years at Illinois Valley Forks State Park and Rough and Ready Botanical Area have been contributed to because of the hard work and dedication of IVCanDO staff and volunteers?
- Cans for Kids continues to provide a lucrative way for local youth programs and organizations to fundraise to make sure that a wide variety of safe and supportive educational and extracurricular activities are available for our younger residents. This program has funneled over $150,000 back into our community!
- Our partnerships with Josephine County Food Bank, Energy Trust of Oregon, and local health districts have amplified the voices of Illinois Valley residents to ensure that these organizations are offering services that our community really needs through surveys, focus groups, and outreach support. We've been told by community partners that they simply wouldn't have been able to gather feedback from IV residents without our support and expertise. Wow!
- Many small businesses in our community use our Revolving Loan Fund program to help jump start their business idea or fund expansion projects to provide a wide array of services that may not otherwise be found in the IV. We are proud of the support that we offer for small businesses and entrepreneurs!
- Local organizations rely on our connections and expertise to become powerhouses of change and support. We help convene groups, provide consulting services, participate on local steering committees and boards, and increase visibility of their programs to help them succeed. The power of partnerships!
Although we do like to "toot our own horn" because we like and are proud of work we do, we really couldn't succeed without the support of community members like you. Every volunteer, donor, or program participant involved with IVCanDO contributes to the success of our programs and the vitality of our community.
So, what can you do to help? There are lots of ways!
- Join us in volunteering for a couple hours here and there (check out current opportunities below!)
- Show your support for our work with a monthly donation (every dollar counts... it really does!)
- Inquire about how we can help YOUR small business and participate in upcoming business workshops (we have 3 exciting workshops with Reinventing Rural coming up!)
- Serve on local boards or steering committees (because your voice and expertise is needed!)
- Let us know how we've helped you! Are you a RLF loan recipient? Participated in a focus group? We want to hear from you! Reply to this email and let us know how we are doing!
- Forward our newsletters to friends and family, share our Facebook posts, and spread the word about our programs!
Without you, we couldn't do all that we do. Thank you to each and every one of you for being ardent supporters of our organization and for loving where we live, just like we do!
Thank you for all that YOU do, Illinois Valley!
(Photo above courtesy of Dale Sandberg, IV resident)