We all seem to have to do more with less these days.
That’s something that our area nonprofits know all too well.
Funding is tight, and more than a little creativity is needed to go beyond the bare-bones missions of the organizations.
A couple of local groups have tapped into an innovative way to improve their operations without taking away precious dollars from needed services.
Family Health Partnership Clinic, which provides health care to the area’s uninsured and underinsured, and Home of the Sparrow, which helps homeless women and children, recently received grants from the Taproot Foundation.
The foundation matches nonprofits with professionals who offer their expertise on a pro bono basis.
“It allows nonprofits to have access to some of the same resources that large corporations have access to,” said Suzanne Hoban, Family Health Partnership Clinic executive director.
Taproot, which operates in five metro areas including Chicago, focuses on design, consulting, management, marketing, human resources and IT.
In the clinic’s case, the Taproot grant, which is worth about $55,000, will go toward “building human resources capacity.”
A team of five professionals will help the clinic during the six months the program runs.
The idea is to do a “360-degree” look at staffing levels and employee evaluation, Hoban said.
If the employees are happy, then they are better able to meet the needs of the clients they serve, she said.
Home of the Sparrow’s grant, worth about $45,000, will improve its annual report.
In the past, the group had a “fancy schmancy” report, said Nancy Hiatt, CEO and president. But the Great Recession changed that.
“We don’t have the staff to put on a project like that [anymore],” Hiatt said.
Annual reports are key to gaining grants and helping donors get a quick snapshot of how the nonprofit is faring, financially and accomplishment-wise.
Home of the Sparrow hopes that the pro bono team will develop a functional, user-friendly report that will serve as a template for years to come, Hiatt said.
Both groups appreciate that they were chosen for the highly competitive grants. Usually Taproot doesn’t take on projects this far from the city.
But that could change if more local professionals take part in the program, Hoban said.
If you would like to learn more about Taproot and how you can volunteer, visit www.taprootfoundation.org.
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Turning Point is celebrating turning 30 with an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday.
The domestic violence agency started as a telephone “help line” and has grown from there, now offering comprehensive services and a shelter.
If you’d like to learn more about the group and the vital work that it does, this will be a good chance to get your questions answered.
The agency’s Woodstock office is at 11019 Route 14 in Woodstock.
Attendees should RSVP by calling 815-338-8081.
• Joan Oliver is a community editor for the Northwest Herald. She can be reached at 815-526-4552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.