Rockford Education Foundation hits $1 million in funding

Fourth graders at Parkside Elementary will benefit from new technology requested by their teacher, Gail Falcinelli. Gail received a $2,395.00 grant from the REF.

The Rockford Education Foundation (REF) grants awarded recently were one in a million. The REF funded 45 grants totaling $32,998.63 putting the total dollar amount the foundation has funded over one million dollars.

This fall, grants were awarded across the community. In the Rockford Public Schools, the elementary schools, the middle schools, and the high school all had grants funded. All three of the area private schools were also awarded grants. In addition, three student grants were funded.

“It is exciting to hit that one million dollar mark,” said REF Administrator, Sue Arend. “It demonstrates our commitment to our mission, which is to provide the needed funding for innovative and creative and educational projects.”

The REF also funded a special endowment grant that was submitted by RPS Special Services. This grant, for $18,000, will allow Kirsten Myers, Executive Director of Special Services, to continue with a segment of the Developing Healthy Kids Campaign. This campaign was kicked off this fall as an answer to the growing concern from the community about our children’s mental health.

The grant award from the REF will allow two licensed clinicians from the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan to be in the ninth grade health classrooms to teach their Live, Laugh, Love curriculum. They will also be working with a leadership group at the high school about the Be Nice campaign in order to expand the curriculum at all ages.

“The REF is dedicated to funding innovative programs that are educational,” stated Arend. “The board felt that funding this grant was important to our community.”

The REF awards grants in October and January of each year. It is through the generosity of the Rockford community that the foundation is able to achieve its mission. If you would like to donate or need more information about the REF, please go to

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.