Transform Rockford

About Us

Engage all community stakeholders, raise awareness of the region’s priorities, align resources and foster accountability towards impactful community transformation.

Our Community's Vision & Values

Our Vision

We are a region of choice where all people are valued, engaged, inspired, and have access to opportunity for leading successful and fulfilling lives.

Our community is recognized as one of the very best regions in which to live. Our vibrant neighborhoods and cultural and recreational amenities draw people to locate to our region. All people are thriving, have a sense of belonging, and enjoy an excellent quality of life.

We have transformed our community by embracing our diversity, caring for our most vulnerable, providing equitable access to opportunity, investing and cultivating marginalized communities, and delivering an excellent education to all our children.

We have an agile, innovative, robust, and resilient economy built on manufacturing, logistics, and agribusiness with growth and expansion opportunities for dynamic innovators, creators, makers, and entrepreneurs. Our infrastructure is robust, our workforce is sought after, and we capitalize on our adjacency to urban centers.

Our Shared Values

We, as community members of the Rockford Region, desire to achieve our vision for transformational change and ·will uphold the following shared values as the foundation for a civil and cultivating environment:

Transform Rockford


Cultivate and support an environment that fully engages our community’s differences and diversity to ensure that individuals and organizations are heard, valued and supported.


Show concern for the welfare of each person and foster a community culture that thinks and acts as one interactive and interdependent region.


Embrace the knowledge and experiences of others by being attentive, listening well and celebrating diversity as a strength and source of shared learning.


Foster an open process for maximum participant input and access to all information to enhance understanding and community ownership.


Strive for integrity and reliable communication. Become committed to the highest levels of honesty and truthfulness.


Balance our brainstorming and decision-making process with all points of view and measurable information.


Pursue excellence and accountability of self and others by not shifting blame or taking improper credit. Participate to the fullest of our ability.


Won’t compromise any jurisdiction’s or organization’s identity or decision authority, but rather look to partner and integrate shared values, goals and philosophies.

Championing Our Community’s Vision & Values

We are the champion of the Rockford Region’s vision and values. First and foremost, we believe unwaveringly in our community. Our commitment to our region’s growth and prosperity is deeply ingrained in our DNA, and this dedication fuels our tireless efforts to make positive changes. Furthermore, we possess a profound understanding of the vast potential within the entire region. We see the untapped opportunities and are driven to unlock them for the benefit of all. Our relentless focus on the community’s vision and values ensures that we remain steadfast in our pursuit of progress, unwavering in the face of challenges. Lastly, we have earned the credibility and proven our ability to turn aspirations into reality. Our track record of successful initiatives demonstrates our capacity to get things done, fostering trust and confidence in our ability to lead the Rockford Region towards a brighter future that aligns with our vision and values.

The Journey

The First Eight Years

When ranked as one of the “Most Miserable Cities in the U.S.,” you face two options: accept the label and endure misery, or take action. Rockfordians chose the latter, forming Transform Rockford in 2013. Transform Rockford became recognized as a champion for the community and a protector of its vision. Through our work, we were able to bring diverse groups of people together- establishing a new expectation for seeking input for residents. In addition, our community witnessed increased collaboration among leaders and organizations, greater confidence from area businesses and expanded opportunity for residents. This improving climate allowed many integral projects to begin and become embedded in the work of others, but our community’s transformation was just beginning.

Community Meeting

The Need to Adapt

In 2020, the ordinary was disrupted. Connectivity was impacted or broken, reimagining prevailed and purpose rose to a new level of organizational and personal importance. Faced with the call for systemic social change and the existing aftermath of the pandemic, Transform Rockford took time to look inward and assess its role and effort in order to refocus, repurpose and re imagine our path to transforming our community from within.

Research & Analysis

In order to gain clarification of our unique role, the Steering Committee members went to work actively connecting with key stakeholders and conducting an environmental scan of the community’s work in nine of the Impact Areas of the Transformation Plan. We evaluated key existing projects and identified missing elements and low-hanging fruit in each area. This in-depth research and analysis helped Transform Rockford prioritize our focus and helped determine where we best serve as a supporter or aligner.

Community reviewing work
Wally on Main Street

Refocused & Ready

In April of 2022, the news outlet that once called us “miserable” referred to our community as “vibrant.” To continue our upward trajectory, we, as a community, must continue to actively build on our region’s improved climate of cooperation, intentional alignment and collaboration, in order to facilitate our transformation into a REGION OF CHOICE. We will continue to do what we do well – engage all community stakeholders, raise awareness of the region’s priorities, align resources and foster accountability towards impactful community transformation.