Rockford Education Foundation searches for “Funniest Person in Rockford”

November 24, 2011 // 0 Comments

Winner to perform live with The Second City!  Think you’re funny? Here’s your chance to prove it! If your comedy routines kill at the water cooler or leave your family in stitches, you might just be the funniest person in town. Here’s your chance to prove your comedic skills as the Rockford Education Foundation (REF) and The Corner Bar launch a search for the “Funniest Person in Rockford.” The winner will perform live with famed comedy troupe “The Second City” during its performances for REF January 20 and 21, 2012, plus receive two VIP tickets to the show. While billed as the search for the “Funniest Person in Rockford,” the competition is open to anyone in West Michigan. Now through November 30, REF is accepting 1-3 minute video submissions at its web site ( On December 5, 20 videos will be posted to REF’s Facebook Page ( where fans will vote for their favorite videos through December 31. On January 2, 10 finalists will be named based on “likes” at the REF Facebook page. Those comedians will perform live at The Corner Bar on January 12 and a panel of judges will select the winner who will perform with Second City on January 21 and 22. Entrants must be age 18 or older and fill out an application and submit their video at video content must be family-friendly and comedy routines appropriate for all audiences. Tickets for The Second City are $35 and are available by calling REF at 616/863-6317 or through REF’s web site Event sponsorship opportunities are also available. The Rockford Education Foundation (REF) was established in 1991 to provide resources for increased educational opportunities for people of all ages in the Rockford Community. The REF is an independent, non-profit corporation, governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees from the community. Teachers, students, and community members with innovative ideas have received grants for wide-ranging, educational purposes. Grants are awarded twice yearly based on the merit of the request and its ability to promote educational excellence. For more information or ticket purchases, contact: Sue Arend, REF Administrator at 616-863-6317 or visit REF returns Second City for encore performances By CLIFF AND NANCY HILL When Chicago’s legendary comedy troupe, The Second City, last […]

REF returns Second City for encore performances

November 24, 2011 // 0 Comments

Keep Your Laughter Local  by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL When Chicago’s legendary comedy troupe, The Second City, last appeared in Rockford in January of 2010 it was a sell-out from the “git-go”. Appearing then to headline the Rockford Education Foundation’s (REF) annual benefit concert, Second City returns again for 2 evening performances of their “Laugh Out Loud Tour” on January 20 & 21, 2012. “Second City was a sell-out when they last performed in 2010,” said Beth Dornan, REF Trustee. “Bringing them back for not 1 but 2 shows along with the added twist of allowing a local comedian the opportunity to perform with them is sure to mean another hit for the REF and even more money raised for educational grants for Rockford.” Let’s embrace a “think local” attitude here. Instead of taking our monies outside of the Rockford community to attend LaughFest 2012 in Grand Rapids in March, why not support the good works of the REF and laugh your sides out right here at home in the cozy confines of the Rockford High School (RHS) Auditorium. “During the 2-day January stay, as an added plus, the Second City troupe is doing two 2-hour workshops with RHS performing arts students. One workshop of 15 beginning level students and other of 15 intermediate level students all who will experience a good time participating in the creation of comedic skits along with touching on such topics as improvisational techniques, comedic timing, and the ability to harness creativity,” said Sue Arend, REF Administrator, adding, “This is a win-win for everyone involved, both students and teachers alike, and the entire Rockford community as well.” When Second City last appeared in Rockford, your reporters warned of a possible sell-out and sure enough it happened. Yes, there will be two performances during the upcoming January appearances but that doesn’t guarantee ticket availability. Ticket sales thus far have been brisk and we’d suggest placing your ticket orders sooner rather than later. Smiley faces are much preferable to sad faces, right? As we advised in 2010, Second City performance tickets would make GREAT Christmas gifts for that person who has everything, is hard to please, or is just a plain old Grump who needs a bit of hilarity in their life […]

On-going fundraising helps REF raise grant dollars

April 28, 2011 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Education Foundation (REF), a non-profit and independent organization, serves the Rockford community by funding educational grants. The REF holds different fundraisers throughout the year in order to raise money to support educational opportunities. Each year the REF funds over $60,000 in grants. Recently, Sue Arend, REF Administrator, discussed the foundations fundraising efforts. “The foundation has an ongoing fundraising campaign titled Brick By Brick – Laying a Foundation for the Future.” said Arend. “This campaign began in the fall of 2010 in conjunction with Rockford Public Schools Hall of Fame.” The Hall of Fame was created to honor men and women from the Rockford Public Schools community who have reached a high level of achievement, and/or contributed generously to service work, both locally and globally. A six foot tall black granite monument was created to commemorate the inductees. Every two years a new class will be inducted and their names will be engraved on the monument. The REF is selling brick pavers that can be engraved with a personal message. These bricks are part of the patio that surrounds the Hall of Fame monument, located at the Fine Arts Entrance of Rockford High School. The brick pavers are a perfect gift idea for this time of year. An engraved brick paver is a gift that lasts and commemorates all of the important occasions in life: Graduation, Mother’s Day, Birthdays, and Father’s Day. It would also be great for an end of the year teacher or coach appreciation gift. The Bricks are 4×8 and cost $75.00. If you are interested in ordering a brick to commemorate your special occasion you can contact the REF at (616) 863-6317 or visit the REF website You can also find REF on Facebook.    

REF is on ‘the Watch’ for educational opportunities

February 17, 2011 // 0 Comments

Foundation funds 43 grants worth $26,480 The “Watch Minder” is technology that enables a teacher to communicate with a student during class time through direct messaging that doesn’t disrupt other students, and it’s one example of innovation in Rockford schools that’s being funded by Rockford Education Foundation (REF) grants. The Watch Minder sends a vibration to signal students they have a message. This is valuable for students who need reinforcement to stay on task or praise for completing an assignment on time. It’s a project that has just been funded by the REF during its winter grant review. This program is one of 43 grants totaling $26,480.00 that were awarded by REF in January. REF’s mission is to fund grants that will increase educational opportunities for people of all ages in the Rockford community. Fall and winter grants were awarded this year to Assumption School; Belmont, Cannonsburg Crestwood, Lakes, MeadowRidge, Parkside, Roguewood, and Valley View elementary schools; Our Lady of Consolation School; Roguewood Spanish Immersion; North and East Rockford middle schools; Rockford Freshman Center; Rockford Community Services; Rockford High School; Rockford Christian School and River Valley Academy. The foundation is funded by gifts from individuals, businesses and organizations. The REF awards grants twice yearly and has awarded just over $900,000 in grant money to the Rockford community since its founding in 1991. The foundation has several fundraisers throughout the year, including its annual Phone-a-thon February 15-17. Volunteers will be calling Rockford area residents asking them to consider donating to REF. For information on the REF, visit

The REF will be calling on you!

February 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

More than 120 volunteers will be calling on the Rockford community to support education programs during the annual Rockford Education Foundation (REF) Phone-a-thon February 15-17. They will be calling residents those evenings, asking for donations to the REF to fund school and other education projects and programs in Rockford. The Phone-a-thon is one of the primary fundraisers for the foundation. “Thanks to our generous donors, the foundation awarded over $60,000 in grant money this year,” said Theresa Webb, Phone-a-thon chairperson and member of the REF Board of Trustees. “Unfortunately we had to turn down thousands of dollars in grant requests.” Budget cuts and the state of the economy have made REF grants even more important to Rockford public and private schools. “The requests for grants are up, and we wish we could fund every worthy program,” said Sue Arend, REF administrator. “We’re grateful for the generosity of our community in responding to our calls during the Phone-a-thon because the more money we raise, the more we have to fund grants to further educational opportunities in our schools and community.” The REF is supported solely by charitable donations by individuals, businesses and organizations. Those interested in making a donation prior to the Phone-a-thon or volunteering to make calls during the event can contact REF at (616) 863-6317. Phone-a-thon Feb. 15-17 raises needed funds for education programs

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