Madison-based mutual insurance company is helping to create nontraditional fundraising opportunities for small nonprofit organizations like Rooted

This spring, CUNA Mutual Group Foundation hosted a collaborative funders conversation in support of Rooted’s community capacity building work in food, land, and learning. Alex Shade, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, brought potential funders together to hear about how Rooted pivoted to meet increased community needs with the onset of the pandemic in 2020. CUNA Mutual Group Foundation has now made a major grant to Rooted of $250,000.

At the onset of the pandemic, Rooted’s work shifted to address a greater need for access to fresh, local food–a need that has not diminished even as the pandemic has eased. The funds raised will strengthen Rooted’s work overall. “We are honored by the Foundation’s grant and grateful to our funders for supporting our community-based collaborations,” said Rooted Executive Director Marcia Caton Campbell.

“The majority of Rooted staff works directly with community members at Badger Rock Neighborhood Center, Troy Farm, and our youth garden education sites. Like all nonprofit organizations, we rely on fundraising to keep our programs going. But as a small nonprofit, we sometimes miss out on opportunities that larger nonprofits with development staff have,” explained Hedi Rudd, Deputy Director of South Madison Programs. “Alex saw this as an opportunity to bring multiple funders together at one time so that we could tell them about our work, our mission, and our communities’ needs. CUNA’s support opened doors for Rooted to meet new funders and share about our work in a supportive environment. Now, it’s up to us to nurture these new funder relationships.”

Rooted and CUNA hope that the success of this collaborative fundraising meeting will pave the way for other innovative, nontraditional development opportunities for small nonprofits. “Over the past several years, I have seen Rooted’s work evolve in response to community interests and needs. It’s exciting to be able to share the creativity of our programs with funders and to feel their enthusiasm and support for our work,” said Rudd.

Rooted is excited to resume outdoor programming this summer through the Badger Rock Community Market and Thursday Nights at Troy. The Wednesday Badger Rock markets will focus on wellness and will offer the community access to resources and activities designed to address lingering effects of the pandemic in a family-friendly outdoor setting. Thursday Nights at Troy will add an affordable dinner to the weekly CSA market share pick up. Dinners are open to all and will feature local chefs.

Rooted WI, Inc. is a Madison-based 501c(3) organization that grounds its work in collaborations in food, land, and learning.

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