shallow United Way of Rock River Valley (Rockford, Ill.) announced Friday, January 25, a partnership between Associated Bank and United Way’s Volunteer Center. As part of the agreement, Associated Bank becomes the official sponsor of United Way’s Volunteer Center website, wevolunteer.org, which recently upgraded to a robust web-system that connects volunteers and nonprofit organizations to each other. The new user-friendly web-based program, Get Connected powered by Galaxy Digital, matches volunteers, advocates and donors with important needs and exciting ways to get connected in the community. Organizations can update new volunteer needs, events and job opportunities and with the click of a button, community members can respond to needs that suit their own interests.

“On behalf of Associated Bank, I am pleased to be able to assist the United Way in bringing forth a program that will unite nonprofits in the Rock River Valley with willing volunteers” says Andrew Shallow, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Team Leader at Associated Bank. “Our hope is that through this program, we will continue to assist in fostering stronger, more stable communities that will ultimately lead to a more positive future for us all.”

Associated Bank has a strong commitment to the Rockford area with colleagues providing more than 500 hours of community service through programs such as the United Way School Clean-up Project and Boys and Girls Club Revitalization efforts. The bank continues to invest in the community through monetary donations to the Rockford Area Economic Development Corporation and United for Youth – Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

The new web-based program allows individuals to track their volunteer hours and share their experiences through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. For schools and businesses in the community that wish to track their students or employees volunteer contributions to the community, a group can be created on the site to do just that.

The system was officially launched in November 2012. Since then the website has received 5,000 page views and over 750 registered users. Over 100 volunteer and in-kind needs, job openings, and board and committee position opportunities are posted.

As a way to increase awareness and use of the system, United Way of Rock River Valley also announced “United Way Get Connected Challenge” for students and adults. To enter, students and adults must register as a user of the site, become a “fan” of an agency and respond to an agency “need” by February 21, 2013. Four eligible students will receive a $500 scholarship and two eligible adults will receive a $1,000 donation to their agency of choice. The community wide challenge is made possible thanks to support from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, Field Fastener, Barnes International, UAW Community Action Program and Jim and Pam Keeling. Official contest rules are listed on www.wevolunteer.org.

For more information on United Way of Rock River Valley Volunteer Center, visit www.wevolunteer.org or e-mail Anna Kaye, Volunteer Center Director, at volunteer@unitedwayrrv.org.

Andrew Shallow, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Team Leader at Associated Bank, addresses the media during a news conference to announce the new partnership between United Way's Volunteer Center and Associated Bank. (Photo United Way of Rock River Valley).