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Monthly Archives: September 2018

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Transform Rockford Introduces New Team

Transform Rockford is excited to announce it has a new team in place to help Rockford get on path to becoming a Top 25 community. The team is comprised of local residents who grew up, live in the area and are committed to making positive changes to the region.

David Sidney, Executive Director

David Sidney has been with Transform Rockford since the beginning. He served as a volunteer leader of the Shared Values team and facilitated several visioning sessions. He served as Project Director, a staff position since January 2016 and was named Executive Director June 1, 2018. Before working for Transform Rockford, David was an urban planner, first with Gary W. Anderson Architects and then with the City of Rockford. David is a Rockford native and graduate of Auburn High School and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in urban planning from the University of Illinois. In addition, he has a master’s in Christian ministry from Northern Seminary. David is married to Michelle and has a son, Judah, and another child on the way.

Jason Holcomb, Project Development Manager

Jason Holcomb joined the Transform Rockford team in 2018 after working for nearly ten years as a disability advocate both in the non-profit and private sector. He began volunteering at Transform Rockford in 2016 serving on the Project Support Team. He also completed a seven-month internship with Transform Rockford as part of his master’s program. Jason is a graduate of Christian Life High School and holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College and master’s degree in social work from Indiana University. Jason is married and the proud owner of two cats.

Katryna Kirby, Strategy & Communications Manager

Katryna Kirby is the newest member of the Transform Rockford team, starting in September of 2018. Prior to joining the team, Katryna most recently served as Public Relations & Community Engagement Specialist at SwedishAmerican and Account Executive at Chartwell Agency in Rockford. She also serves as Board President for Seward Park District located in Seward, IL. Katryna is a Byron High School graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in recreation, park and tourism administration from Western Illinois University. She resides in Pecatonica with her husband Pete and two children, Jude and Cora.

Diane Zammuto, Operations Coordinator

Diane Zammuto joined the Transform Rockford team in August of 2018. A lifelong resident of Rockford, Diane has been a strong supporter of educational institutions and an advocate for children. For the past ten years, Diane served as an assistant to the Development Coordinator at Keith Country Day School and was the lead organizer for the annual Classics and Chrome Car Show. Diane resides in Rockford with her husband and has four grown sons.

“Transform Rockford is excited to have a new team in place who will work hard to facilitate positive change in the Rockford region,” said Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney. “These individuals care deeply about the region and bring several skills and talents to the team that will help us manage and foster relationships with businesses and community members and help improve the social and economic well-being of the region.”

Transform Rockford was formed in late 2013 when more than 1,300 people attended a community meeting and learned the “brutal facts” of the Rockford area. Members joined in on a call to action for improving the living and working conditions in the region. Today, the Transform Rockford team is in the implement projects and measurement phase where projects are moving forward, action is taking place and results are being shown.

Transform Rockford is providing strategic support to forty-five community based projects, including the Grade Level Reading program, a partnership with Alignment Rockford to provide support for the third grade reading initiative to ensure every child is reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade. One way the project received support recently was through the Read 815 campaign where students in Winnebago County were challenged to read one book per week during the summer months.

The Great Neighborhoods project also is currently underway. The project engages neighborhoods to focus on the assets it has, to begin mapping those assets and to ultimately uncover what makes their neighborhood great, unique and desirable. Transform Rockford created a Great Neighborhoods resource guide, neighborhood directory and website for community members to utilize and learn best practices. Recently, Transform Rockford and The Great Neighborhoods project helped beautify blighted properties in downtown Rockford by decorating and adhering weather-resistant boards over windows to help spruce-up the neighborhood.

“It’s truly an exciting time for Transform Rockford and for the region as a whole,” said Transform Rockford Steering Committee Chair Bobbie Holzwarth. “The Transform Rockford team is getting its hands dirty and with our many volunteers, community partners, and stakeholders, making valuable changes in our region.”

To learn more about Transform Rockford’s progress and how to get involved by either joining in on a community conversation or volunteering on a team, visit or call (815) 977-5840.

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Transform Rockford 815 Choose Civility Team to Host Second Annual Summit for High School Juniors and Seniors

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The second annual 815 Choose Civility Summit will be held on Tuesday, October 2 from 12 – 2:30 PM at The Nordlof Auditorium, 118 North Main Street, Rockford. The Summit targets high school juniors and senior leaders and influencers who reside in the 815 area who are committed to making impactful change in their respective schools. 815 Choose Civility is a community initiative formed as part of Transform Rockford, a group working to transform the community from within with the goal of becoming a top 25 community by 2025.

The 815 Choose Civility Summit will feature a panel of experts, including Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, Winnebago Chairman Frank Haney, Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine, Rockford Police Assistant Deputy Chief Carla Redd and local students. Nicole Stein from WREX will moderate the program.

In addition, the program will include discussions on civility and what it means to be “civil,” fake news vs. real news and provide a collaborative activity on civility. At the conclusion of the program, a challenge will be pushed out to the schools and each student will sign and take the Civility Pledge, “I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is honest, respectful, considerate and kind, even toward those with whom I disagree.””

“The second annual 815 Choose Civility summit is a great way to inform and inspire our local students on the importance of civility,” said 815 Choose Civility Member and Attorney with Hinshaw & Culbertson Sherry Harlan. “These students are the future of our community and the more we can educate them on civility, the better the chance they will take ownership and create a culture of civility in their own classroom and at home.”

To learn more about the 815 Choose Civility community initiative, visit the Facebook page at or contact Transform Rockford at (815) 977-5840.

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Second Annual Day of Compassion Event to be Held September 29

One Body Collaboratives, in partnership with Transform Rockford, is excited to announce it is hosting its second annual Day of Compassion Event on Saturday, September 29 from 9:30 – 11:30 AM at Trinity Learning Center (TLC), located at 207 North First Street, Rockford. The event is an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of collaboration and alignment of resources to meet needs of individuals and families.

One Body Collaboratives currently partners with 16 churches in the region that host Gap Ministries which distribute items to those in need in the community. Residents are encouraged to attend the Day of Compassion event and donate items that are most in demand, including baby necessities, household items/supplies, school supplies/uniforms, food, clothing and more.

“We’re extremely excited to host the 2nd annual Day of Compassion event that brings together collaboration between our churches, ministries and residents,” said One Body Collaboratives Executive Director Mary Cacioppi. “Our local churches are too often vast, yet greatly underutilized resource pools in our community. This event is a way to celebrate and centralize all valued players while helping to rebuild lives in our community.”

In addition, Compassionate Impacts, a Transform Rockford project, will be highlighted during the event. The project creates ways to engage the community in acts of service to help those in need by facilitating “Service to All, and Service By All.” The goal is to transform the community’s compassion by encouraging random acts of kindness to aligned efforts with impactful outcomes. A demonstration of the Compassionate Impacts software will also be available to view at the event, which provides a web-based platform for all community members to work seamlessly together to help fill existing service and resource gaps.

“The community identified this model of resource alignment during the development of the community’s Transformation Plan,” said Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney. “Faith-based organizations and communities are contributing their pool of resources in an aligned manner to change the way we serve others and be served, for lasting transformation in our region.”

To learn more about the Second Annual Day of Compassion Event and view a list of needed items, visit or contact Mary Cacioppi at or (815) 985-1311.