About2020-12-02T16:15:44+00:00
ABOUT TRANSFORM ROCKFORD
ABOUT TRANSFORM ROCKFORD

Transforming Our Region From Within

When you make the list of “Most Miserable Cities in the U.S.,” you have two options – you can accept the label and continue living in misery, or you can step up and decide to change. Rockfordians chose the latter, and Transform Rockford was born, a movement designed to rally and guide all of us living in the Rockford region to see Rockford in a new light – one of opportunity, innovation and desirability. This community-driven, grassroots movement was formed to be more than a cheerleader. It began as a catalyst for real change, and as a source for our community members to share their ideas and implement them in order to improve the social and economic well-being of our region. Transform Rockford gives residents a way to get inspired, become engaged, and to see the good, the bad and the great of Rockford and help shape a Community Transformation plan that makes a real difference. And it’s working. Our community-wide goal is to become a “Top Community by 2025” and thanks to the commitment, dedication and creativity of our fellow community members, we are on our way.

Transforming Our Region From Within

When you make the list of “Most Miserable Cities in the U.S.,” you have two options – you can accept the label and continue living in misery, or you can step up and decide to change. Rockfordians chose the latter, and Transform Rockford was born, a movement designed to rally and guide all of us living in the Rockford region to see Rockford in a new light – one of opportunity, innovation and desirability. This community-driven, grassroots movement was formed to be more than a cheerleader. It began as a catalyst for real change, and as a source for our community members to share their ideas and implement them in order to improve the social and economic well-being of our region. Transform Rockford gives residents a way to get inspired, become engaged, and to see the good, the bad and the great of Rockford and help shape a Community Transformation plan that makes a real difference. And it’s working. Our community-wide goal is to become a “Top Community by 2025” and thanks to the commitment, dedication and creativity of our fellow community members, we are on our way.

Mission

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.

Mission

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 Journey

2013 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 More than 1,300 people come together for Transform Rockford’s
first community meeting at the Coronado Theater, where the
“brutal facts” of Rockford are laid out. Attendees join in a call
to action for improving the living and working conditions in our
region. The Transform Rockford movement is born.
20
13
2014 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 A series of 42 visioning sessions are held to gather opinions from the
community. More than 3,000 people from all over the region participate
and share their thoughts and dreams on what a transformed region
looks like. Following these discussions, the Transform Rockford Vision
Drafting team reflects on what the community has to say and drafts our
community’s vision, “to become a Top 25 Community by 2025.”
20
14
2015 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Spoke teams, consisting of more than 300 volunteers begin
the work of identifying detailed strategies for each spoke.
After rigorous research and benchmarking, strategies are
developed and the community is invited to provide feedback.
20
15
2016 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Spoke teams start collecting project ideas through community
input sessions. Twelve input sessions are held with residents
providing feedback on strategies and ideas for projects. In
November, the Community Transformation Plan is presented
to the community. It includes the 14 impact statements and
their respective strategies, project ideas, the community vision
and shared values.
20
16
2017 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Community feedback is given and the Community Transformation
Plan is revised and finalized. Project teams are formed and work
begins throughout our community. Standout projects include:
20
17
815 Choose Civility Education Forum Great Neighborhoods Asset Mapping project Partnership between NIU and RVC,
leading to NIU Engineering @ Rock Valley College
2018 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Project teams continue to form and do work in the community.
The Ready to Learn partnership with Transform Rockford,
Alignment Rockford, Rockford Public Schools and Erikson
Institute kicks off.
20
18
2019 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Join the movement! We need your participation for
transformation to continue.
20
19

The Journey

2013 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2013 More than 1,300 people come together
for Transform Rockford’s first community
meeting at the Coronado Theater, where
the “brutal facts” of Rockford are laid out.
Attendees join in a call to action for
improving the living and working conditions
in our region. The Transform Rockford
movement is born.
2014 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2014 A series of 42 visioning sessions are held to
gather opinions from the community. More
than 3,000 people from all over the region
participate and share their thoughts and
dreams on what a transformed region looks
like. Following these discussions, the
Transform Rockford Vision Drafting team
reflects on what the community has to say
and drafts our community’s vision, “to
become a Top 25 Community by 2025.”
2015 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2015 Spoke teams, consisting of more than 300
volunteers begin the work of identifying
detailed strategies for each spoke. After
rigorous research and benchmarking,
strategies are developed and the community
is invited to provide feedback.
2016 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2016 Spoke teams start collecting project ideas
through community input sessions. Twelve
input sessions are held with residents
providing feedback on strategies and ideas
for projects. In November, the Community
Transformation Plan is presented to the
community. It includes the 14 impact
statements and their respective strategies,
project ideas, the community vision
and shared values.
2017 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2017 Community feedback is given and the
Community Transformation Plan is
revised and finalized. Project teams are
formed and work begins throughout our
community. Standout projects include:
815 Choose Civility Education Forum Great Neighborhoods Asset
Mapping project
Partnership between NIU and RVC,
leading to NIU Engineering
@ Rock Valley College
2018 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2018 Project teams continue to form and do
workin the community. The Ready to Learn
partnership with Transform Rockford,
Alignment Rockford, Rockford Public
Schools and Erikson Institute kicks off.
2019 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2019 Join the movement! We need your
participation for transformation
to continue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Transform Rockford?2019-03-13T01:47:23+00:00

Transform Rockford is a community driven, grassroots movement with the goal of rallying and guiding our residents to see the Rockford Region in a new light. Transform Rockford is taking our community members’ ideas and dreams of dramatically improving the social and economic well-being of our region and plugging it into a tangible Community Transformation Plan where residents can get inspired, engaged and be proud of where they live. And ultimately, Transform Rockford is facilitating and implementing the plan to help our region become a “Top 25 community by 2025!”

When did the Transform Rockford movement get started?2019-03-13T01:48:59+00:00

In 2013, Rockford was labeled a “Most Miserable City in the U.S.” by Forbes. Our citizens decided they would not stand for that label and that’s when the conversation got started. On November 14, 2013, Transform Rockford held its first community meeting at the Coronado Theater. With more than 1,300 people in attendance, the “brutal facts” of the Rockford area were laid out and community members joined in a call to action for improving the living and working conditions in our region. Learn more about our journey.

What is Transform Rockford doing?2019-03-13T01:51:49+00:00

Transform Rockford’s teams provide support in four key areas through implementation of the community transformation plan. Those four areas include:

  • Engagement Support – We engage our residents and help drive events and programs to bring our community members into the movement. We recruit volunteers, educate the media, get residents inspired and ultimately encourage them to get involved in the transformation of our community
  • Project Support – We provide support to community initiatives that already exist and align with our community transformation plan. We also provide support to new projects and initiatives. How we support those initiatives is through planning, design, goal-setting, & implementation
  • Alignment Support – We provide support to ensure alignment between all key stakeholders
  • Scorecard & Metrics – We track to see if our community is truly moving in the right direction. We bring-in current, up-to-date data that shows us on quarterly basis how we’re doing in the various areas. Ultimately, this data helps us determine if we’re on track to becoming a “top 25 community by 2025” and shows us the areas in where we are lacking

Some of Transform Rockford’s work and support is more tangible and other times it’s more behind the scenes. Ultimately, all work being done aligns with the community transformation plan with the end-goal in mind of becoming a “top 25 community by 2025.”

Who is involved in Transform Rockford?2019-03-11T19:27:27+00:00

YOU! The entire Rockford Region is invited to engage in the transformation process. From our residents and students to local government, nonprofits, small businesses, faith-based groups, education systems, healthcare systems, manufacturing companies and others across the Rockford Region, everyone is invited to get involved and make our region a community that other communities aspire to be.

Does Transform Rockford have a staff team and steering committee members?2019-03-26T17:50:41+00:00

Yes! Transform Rockford is comprised of four staff members and 13 Steering Committee members who work in various businesses and organizations throughout the region. In addition, we have eight community leaders who sit on our Strategic Support team.

What is the goal of each team?2019-03-13T01:52:51+00:00
  • Steering committee – The steering committee owns the transformation methodology, supporting the movement, removing roadblocks for success and engaging the broader community
  • Strategic support team – The strategic support team enables project success and community ownership of the transformation plan
  • Project teams – Project teams champion and implement best practice solutions with residents and stakeholders to achieve our community’s vision of becoming a “top 25 community by 2025”
  • Transform Rockford Staff – The staff team supports the coordination and alignment of all Transform Rockford teams
What are these 14 impact statements/spokes I’ve heard about? And, what is an impact statement/spoke?2019-03-05T22:01:48+00:00

An impact statement (they can also be referred to as spokes) is an area in which the community wants to focus on to see positive change. The community identified 14 impact statements during the early days of Transform Rockford. Those 14 impact statements include:

How is Transform Rockford funded?2019-03-13T01:53:46+00:00

Transform Rockford is a 501c(3) organization that is privately funded through small donations from friends and residents, to major community sponsors, and from businesses who care about the future of our community.

I want our region to transform, how can I get involved?2019-03-13T01:55:26+00:00
  • Like our social media pages – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
  • Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to learn about projects, initiatives, events, positive Rockford news and more
  • Volunteer! Grab a friend and sign-up for one of our upcoming volunteer opportunities
  • Donate and help keep the movement going
  • Contact us! While we can’t text message, we can email and we can chat with you on the phone. If you have questions or want to learn more, give us a ring!

Steering Committee

Steering Committee

Roberta Holzwarth

Holmstrom & Kennedy

The people and opportunity to be involved, do interesting work, and have fun here have made coming home to Rockford one of my best decisions.

Christie Jarrett

Chair, Stenstrom

Rockford is my inspiration and my workplace; everything that happens in the city is a small part of my family and my business.

Bill Gorski

Treasurer, Community Member

I love Rockford because it is a community of great diversity, authenticity, and resilience.

LoRayne Logan

Vice Chair, Workplace Staff & Search

I love Rockford because of the multitude of ways in which people can connect. The community is large enough to be interesting and enjoyable yet small enough for residents to have good friendships and a sense of community.

Ben Bernsten

Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois

Tom Gendron

Emeritus, Woodward

Jim Keeling

Hinshaw & Culbertson

I love Rockford because as a small city/big town it is easy to get to know and work with incredible people of different backgrounds all with a shared goal of continual community improvement and opportunity while simultaneously enjoying all our city has to offer.

Paul Logli

United Way of Rock River Valley

Rockford has a rich history of innovation and creativity. Here, a person’s dream becomes reality.

Daniel Saavedra

Saavedra Gehlhausen Architects

I love Rockford because it’s a city that finally understood that maintaining our traditions, but at the same time, having a progressive attitude are the magnets needed to attract businesses and achieve a great affordable quality of life!

Theresa Kegley

Movement Fitness

Leon Smith

Rockford public Library

Honorable K. Patrick Yarbrough

Retired 17th Judicial Court, Associate Judge

Staff

Staff

David Sidney

Executive Director

I love our downtown, parks, and forest preserves!

Diane Zammuto

Operations Coordinator

I don’t love Rockford because it’s my hometown, I love Rockford because it’s a town that feels like home.

Spitaman (Spitty) Tata

PROGRAM MANAGER

Cira Bennett

Great Neighborhood's Program Director

Strategy Team Co-Leads

Strategic Support Team

Jeff Stewart

Scorecard & Visualizations Team Co-Lead

We chose Rockford years ago because of access to large urban centers while being distant enough to be affordable. We stayed because of the regions diverse recreational assets.

Zabrina Ramirez

Scorecard & Visualizations Team Co-Lead

David Byrnes

Project Support Team Lead

I love Rockford because it’s a great place to raise a family, plus there is so much to do here.

Lauren Zerey

Plan Drivers Team

Rockford has the small town feel with just enough of the big city hustle

Jeff Farenwald

Alignment Support Team Lead

I love Rockford for the great local restaurants, outdoor music all summer long and friendly, welcoming people who really are committed to making this area great!

Mike Schablaske

Alignment Support Team Lead

Contact Us

Contact Us

Your voice matters! If you have a question, comment or idea, share it here.

Phone Number 
815.977.5840

Email 
info@transformrockford.org

Work Hours
Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm

Address
303 N Main, Suite 110
Rockford, IL 61101