It is with great pleasure that we announce a new addition to the team, Cira Bennett, Great Neighborhoods Program Director. This role will be responsible for the implementation and program direction of the Great Neighborhoods initiative, a project which was incubated as part of the Transform Rockford community plan.

About Bennett:


Bennett brings over 10 years of experience in the non-profit sector which includes her work with organizations such as Goodwill and the United Way of Rock River Valley. She is a freelance writer in her spare time and exhibits her passion for the Rockford region by volunteering on the boards of Burpee Museum and the Boone County Health Department, and by serving with the Healthy Work Collaborative of Boone County. Bennett holds a Bachelor of Business Management and Leadership and a Master of Organizational Leadership both from Judson University. What Bennett loves most about Rockford is its intentional spirit to be a better place to live, work, and play. Additionally, she is most excited about making a direct impact on neighborhoods becoming the best that they can be.

“We’re fortunate to have Cira join the Great Neighborhoods initiative and lead the next phase of work for the program” explained Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney. “This is a role the Great Neighborhoods initiative team and Transform Rockford organization has been seeking to fill for several months and it was important they chose the appropriate person with the appropriate skill set. Her knowledge of community and regional resources will be crucial in making the Great Neighborhoods program a success. We are delighted to have her join the Great Neighborhoods program team and the Transform Rockford organization.”

Bennett will begin her role on May 4, 2020.

About Great Neighborhoods:

Great Neighborhoods, an all-volunteer team, is one of the earliest projects to emerge from the Transform Rockford Community Plan completed in 2017. Great Neighborhoods launched an asset-mapping process in 2018 with 3 pilot neighborhoods, with a goal to use a strength and asset-based approach and resident-led planning for neighborhood development. Since then, the Great Neighborhoods team has worked with 18 neighborhoods to assist in asset-mapping their strengths and opportunities. The team has conducted quarterly neighborhood summits, developed a website, resource guide and informational videos. The next phase will be assisting neighborhoods in developing strategic plans and an overarching community-based neighborhood re-development strategy. They will also be embarking on a marketing and branding strategy that every neighborhood can participate in that will have an impact on image, perceptions, and attitudes.  “We’re excited to shift from an all-volunteer team to having a dedicated staff person to accelerate our work throughout the Rockford region,” said Great Neighborhood Team Committee Chair Gary W. Anderson.

About Transform Rockford:

Transform Rockford’s mission is to facilitate the creation and implementation of a strategic plan by the community for the purposes of dramatically improving the social and economic well-being of the community and its residents. The vision is to be a Top 25 community where residents are engaged, inspired and are leading successful and fulfilling lives.