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Monthly Archives: December 2018

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Transform Rockford Reflects On Rockford’s Biggest Wins in 2018

As the year 2018 winds down, Transform Rockford reflects on big wins for the Rockford region in 2018. In no particular order, the top transformational wins in 2018 are listed below:

Family Justice Center Grant – In September of this year, the City of Rockford was awarded with a $450,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women which will help the process of making a Family Justice Center in the city a reality. The new center will be a centralized and trauma informed facility, where specialized organizations will work together so survivors and their children may safely and more easily access the services they need. The $450,000 grant will not only help establish the facility, but will pay for the first 18 months of operation.

Barber Colman Advanced Manufacturing Center – In October of this year, the City of Rockford approved a multi-million dollar development project between Rock Valley College and the Rockford Local Development Corporation on the proposed Barber Colman Advanced Manufacturing Center project. The former Barber Colman textile machine factory, located on South Main Street, will cost approximately $32.3 to renovate with the goal of growing its own workforce in the field of manufacturing. The new center also has potential to encourage more private development on the west side of, clean-up a blighted neighborhood and welcome visitors and residents to the city’s downtown River District.

Erickson Institute Education Partnership – In November of this year, Transform Rockford, Alignment Rockford and Rockford Public Schools announced a partnership with Erikson Institute with a goal of capturing data about the preparedness of our region’s kindergarteners. By using the Early Development Instrument (EDI), kindergarten teachers will assess our region’s youngest students, all the way down to the neighborhood level, and in May results will be released. At that time, our community will learn what’s working, what’s not and how do we align resources accordingly to better manage our student’s physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, communication skills, and language and cognitive development.

Chicago Rockford International Airport Ranked Top 22 – In July of this year, the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) ranked as the 22nd largest airport in the nation for air cargo volume, up from a ranking of 31 in 2016. RFD ranked ahead of major airports such as San Francisco International, Salt Lake City International, Orlando International and others. Nearly 1.4 billion pounds of cargo traveled through RFD in 2017, a 50 percent increase from the prior year. Many factors influence the airport’s growth including UPS and the most recent announcement of Amazon investing in an existing hub for its Prime shipping program at RFD.

Rockford is Making a Comeback – According to the Chicago Tribune’s Sunday, November 18 headline, “Rockford is Making a Comeback.” And it’s not only making a comeback, in October of this year Reader’s Digest named it one of the “15 Best Places to Move to, Before it Gets Too Crowded.” Residents are starting to see the Rockford Region with new eyes. They are feeling prouder of where they live and are showing that they have more confidence in the future.

“2018 was a good year for Rockford. Our region had several positive wins and a lot of these accomplishments will continue to move forward into 2019,” said Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney. “And while we’re seeing great growth and redevelopment, we still keep in mind that we have a lot of work ahead of us to become “Top 25 by 2025.” But I’m confident to say that we are seeing great alignment and collaboration that is foundational to our region’s future to be a place for all people, companies, and organization to thrive.”

To learn more about Transform Rockford and how to get involved, contact Strategy & Communications Manager Katryna Kirby at (815) 977-5840 or

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Transform Rockford Volunteers Hand Deliver More Than 3,000 Children’s Books to Local Students Throughout the Region

Transform Rockford is pleased to announce it hand-delivered more than 3,000 children’s books to local students throughout the region this week, surpassing its original goal of 2,000 books. This was all part of the first annual community-wide holiday book drive which took place November 19 through December 7. Community members, businesses and local organizations rallied together and donated new and mint-condition books from infancy through pre-K level, with the goal of bridging the winter break reading gap and putting books in the hands of young students enrolled in early childhood education programs. 

“We are so pleased with how our first annual book drive turned out and it’s all thanks to our great community,” said Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney. “This is one way Transform Rockford is committed to growing our culture of learning and supporting our students and families.”

More than 60 volunteers helped wrap the books and several Transform Rockford Steering Committee members, residents and police officers hand delivered the books to students enrolled at Summerdale Early Childhood Center, Dennis Early Childhood Center and Kishwaukee Elementary School in Rockford, Donald C. Parker Early Education Center in Machesney Park, Washington Academy pre-K program & Lincoln Elementary School pre-K program in Belvidere, Caledonia Elementary School pre-K program and various day care centers throughout the region.

“It truly felt like the entire region came together on this book drive,” said Transform Rockford Steering Committee Chair Bobbie Holzwarth. “Boxes and boxes of books were donated, residents and business leaders came together to wrap books & hand-out the books, and thousands of local students were overjoyed to receive their very own book. It was a huge success!”

To learn more about Transform Rockford and other initiatives that are taking place, contact Strategy & Communications Manager Katryna Kirby at (815) 977-5840 or