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Unity, Pride, Culture: Fred VanVleet is Rockford’s first sports tourism ambassador

ROCKFORD — Fred VanVleet, a former Auburn High School basketball player who worked his way to the NBA, will spend at least some of his spare time as the city’s first sports tourism ambassador.

The Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau announced VanVleet’s role today while unveiling a new marketing initiative to bring athletes and tournaments to the city called Bring Your Game 2 Rockford, or BYG2RKFD for short.

The marketing is designed to attract athletes in various sports, including basketball, darts and everything in between.

“The brand can apply to myriad game opportunities,” said Nick Povalitis, sports destination and sales manager for the visitors bureau.

VanVleet will be the face of the marketing effort during the one-year agreement, which includes print, video and online advertisements focusing on his drive, determination and success. In the 2017 Sports Planning Guide, a 300-plus page magazine that highlights sports facilities across the country, VanVleet’s story and photos are told in a pull-out spread that also showcases Rockford and the new UW Health Sports Factory.

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Economy & Jobs: New facility gives Belcan Engineering more business opportunities in Rockford

When the branch opened in 2005, it had three employees. By 2010, it had 30, all of whom worked on site at UTAS on Harrison Avenue. The company has roughly 100 employees today, enough that Belcan opened its own 50,000-square-foot facility on Forest View Road on Nov. 16.

Belcan assists UTAS with tailored services for end-to-end product management, engineering, design, systems and software, and supply-chain management. UTAS’ customers range from American aircraft corporations, such as Boeing, to foreign companies like Airbus in France and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. in Japan.

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Education – 2016 Excelsior finalist Rockford University: Committed to ‘excellence in the classroom’

Published Wednesday November 30, 2016 at 4:00 am

The Rockford Register Star’s Excalibur award is given to an individual for community service, excellence and making a difference in the Rock River Valley. The Excelsior award goes to an organization for doing the same. Rockford University is an Excelsior finalist.

Organization name: Rockford University

Address: 5050 E. State St., Rockford

Phone number: 815-226-4000


Year founded: 1847

CEO: President Eric Fulcomer

Total staff: About 210

Volunteers: Several part-time employees and tutors.

Annual budget: $23 million

Mission: Our mission is to educate men and women to lead responsible lives by means of a curriculum grounded in liberal arts learning and complemented and extended by professional and practical experience. Through the total academic and co-curricular experience, Rockford University strives to prepare students for fulfilling lives, careers and participation in a modern and changing global society. A solid education starts here.

Services: Provides education at the undergraduate and graduate level, tutoring services for the community, ESL program and home of the Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence, which provides services to the nonprofit arena.

Accomplishments: Enrollment growth, $15 million invested in capital improvements since 2007, $12.5 million of $17.3 million capital campaign goal, raised, total net assets have increased to $24 million, up $19 million since Fiscal Year 2008, among other financial successes.

What the nominator said: “As Rockford’s oldest and original not-for-profit organization, the impact of the university spans 169 years. It is one of the primary assets of the region and is tied directly to the community not only through its educational programming, but also through its extensive and active community partnerships.” — Eric Fulcomer, Rockford University president.

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Caring: #GivingTuesday; Places to “Give Back” in the Rockford Region

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

One of the best ways to get involved is in your own community. We’ve created a directory to help you find organizations, charities, events and more in your own community.

The below Nonprofits are participating in #GivingTuesday

Carpenter’s Place Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
Junior League of Rockford Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
Global Impact Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
Center for Sight & Hearing Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
YWCA Rockford Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
Natural Land Institute Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
Discovery Center Museum Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
Prairie State Legal Services Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
Alpine Academy of Rockford Nonprofit Website rockford Illinois
Prairie State Legal Services Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
United Way of Rock River Valley Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
LYDIA – Rockford Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
Annie’s Locker Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
K Cancer Baseball NFP Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
The Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford Nonprofit Website Rockford Illinois
Prairie State Legal Services Nonprofit Website
Call 2243215643
303 N Main Street, #600
Rockford Illinois
Burpee Museum of Natural History Nonprofit Website
Call 8159653433
737 N. Main Street
Rockford Illinois
Rock House Kids Nonprofit Website 1325 7th St
Rockford Illinois
Rockford Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation Nonprofit Website
Call 888-823-2364
P.O. Box 7691
Rockford Illinois
Rock House Kids Nonprofit Website
Call 8159625067
1325 7th St
Rockford Illinois

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Arts: Rockford chef builds Wrigley Field out of gingerbread

Updated Monday November 28, 2016 at 11:31 pm

ROCKFORD — Six years ago, Gerald Madero of Rockford put down his construction gear and traded those items in for another set of tools — pots, pans, spoons, whisks, spatulas and mixers.

His construction background served him well as he whipped up his latest masterpiece — a Wrigley Field replica made of gingerbread that measures 4 feet by 4 feet.

“Because I was a carpenter, I had the math skills to build the gingerbread structure,” said Madero, 37. “I had to make curves and all that to make it fit. Not having those skills probably would have made it almost impossible.”

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Leadership & Youth: 2016 Excelsior finalist Alignment Rockford

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Published Sunday November 27, 2016 at 3:30 am

Address: 815 N. Church St., Rockford

Phone number: 779-774-4389


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Unity, Pride, Culture: Stroll on State, this Saturday!

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Join the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for the fourth annual Stroll on State, presented by Illinois Bank & Trust set for 3 – 9 p.m. on Saturday, November 26 in downtown Rockford. The event is free and open to the public.

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“We hope that everyone joins us as we kickoff the holidays and take in the awe and wonder of this magical night,” said John Groh, RACVB president/CEO. “Stroll on State has become a wonderful tradition for the community and is something we look forward to throughout the entire year. Stroll on State is the perfect embodiment of the spirit of Rockford.”

Stroll on State, which is held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, began in 2013. The event has continued to grow and expand in the past few years with more than 66,000 people attending the event in 2015.

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Arts & Recreation: Creating a Roadmap for our Community’s Cultural Goals

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November 30, 2016 @ 5:30 pm7:00 pm
Conveyer / CNVR – 317 West Jefferson Street – Rockford

The Transform Rockford Arts & Recreation Spoke Team has been working for nearly 2 years to identify strategies and projects to accomplish our impact statement: “Diverse forms of creative expression flourish and lead to self-fulfillment and national acclaim”. The creation of and alignment around a community Cultural Plan has risen to the top as a priority project.

The Arts & Rec Team invites you to attend an informational meeting about Cultural Planning, presented by staff of The Cultural Planning Group.

This is not a sales pitch, but rather an opportunity to learn what Cultural Planning is and what it can help the community accomplish. We look forward to welcoming you and many other community leaders in the realm of Arts and Culture. Space is limited – reservations required. If you are unable to attend, please consider sending a colleague or board member in your place.

For details, link here:

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Economy & Jobs: Start-up plastics manufacturer to bring new jobs to Rockford

ROCKFORD — A start-up company called Delicate Plastics Inc. plans to bring 75 new jobs to an old industrial building in an impoverished city neighborhood.

Under a proposed agreement with the city, Delicate Plastics would get $150,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to defray the cost of classroom and job training for the new employees. In exchange, at least 51 percent of the positions will go to low and moderate income employees who may not have previous work experience and who could have criminal records.

The workers will be paid $12 to $15 an hour on average and get job training provided by Rock Valley College.

“This is what we need to see,” said Ald. Linda McNeely, D-13, whose ward includes the project location.

The Rockford City Council could consider the agreement at a meeting Monday.

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