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 www.rockfordschools.org/ref.
Rockford Education Foundation
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
Step into the new year with a visit to the Capitol Steps. Good reserved seating is still available for the Rockford Education Foundation’s (REF) 15th annual benefit performance. Don’t wait until the last minute. The Capitol Steps is a comedic and satirical touring group whose material is always fresh and bipartisan. Appearing before sold-out audiences nationwide, the Steps make fun of everybody, especially politicians and governmental officials. Laugh along with the Capitol Steps as they poke good-natured satirical fun at the rich and powerful. Tickets for the single 8 p.m. performance on January 15 are available by contacting the REF office at (616) 863-6317.
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL If you failed to score a pair of tickets to last year’s “sold out” Rockford Education Foundation (REF) annual benefit performance, now is the time to act! In seeking to one-up last year’s hugely successful appearance of Second City, the REF has booked The Capitol Steps for its 15th annual benefit performance. Formed in December 1981 by a group of congressional staffers, The Capitol Steps, a bipartisan ensemble troupe, specializes in current cutting-edge political satire. The group, whose claim to fame is that they put “the mock in democracy,” happily slams both sides of the political aisle. Years later the group, which has grown from seven performers to 25, annually puts on 700 shows across the country. Thousands have taken in their regular Friday and Saturday night shows at the 600-seat Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Amphitheater in Washington, D.C. “The Capitol Steps was an easy choice this year,” said REF Administrator Sue Arend. “With dysfunctional governance and politics on all sides, we might as well laugh rather than cry. We are already taking ticket requests from people who have seen Capitol Steps elsewhere and can’t wait for another visit with the Steps.” We have all watched Saturday Night Live, and many tune into Comedy Central for the Daily Show and the Colbert Show. But, unlike the former, the actors and actresses of The Capitol Steps “sing” their satire to the tunes older crowds have come to love. The Capitol Steps’ performer and co-writer Mark Eaton joined the group in 1993. Formerly, he worked on the Hill for 10 years before becoming a lobbyist. “We are currently taking shots in anything in the headlines,” Eaton said. “People love to laugh at the rich and powerful; they are the best targets for satire. It makes us all feel a bit better to knock a politician or public figure down a few pegs.” Tickets for a visit to The Capitol Steps would make great stocking stuffers, but with ticket sales expected to be brisk, you’d better act fast! Since 1991, the REF has quietly pursued their mission of raising funds that are then granted to community members for programs that meet the area’s education needs. To name some of many, […]
Dinner Saturday, tickets at the door “Our two districts can help each other, even if we want to kill each other on the football field,” said Jill Ericksen, Rockford Education Foundation (REF) board member and organizer of the new Rockford Public Schools Hall of Fame. REF members from the Grandville School District helped organizing Rockford’s new RPS Hall of Fame. A monument which bears the names of the first inductees was installed Tuesday, September 28 at Rockford High School. Patten Monument built the column, a nearly four-ton India jet black granite work which arrived to Long Beach, California via ocean freighter. The raw stone was held up in customs, nearly causing a delay. The new recognition program is 14 months in the making and recognizes Rockford graduates or citizens in four categories. A ribbon cutting for the monument takes place this Friday at 4 p.m. at the high school. The dinner honoring the inductees will be Saturday at the school and will be a “roaming dinner party” with a variety of food from Bostwick Lake Inn, Jonny B’z, Grill One Eleven and the Grist Mill/Honey Creek Inn. Local celebrities will MC the event. “It won’t be like a sit-down dinner. You can roam around and sample all the restaurants,” Ericksen stated. Inductees are ten people, all with incredible stories of accomplishments in different fields. “We have people coming from all over the country,” Ericksen said. One Rockford graduate negotiates world peace between countries, another has invented flexible cement. All are worthy of the recognition. The dinner is open to the public and tickets are available at the door or at rockfordschools.org/ref (click events page), $50 adults, $20 students. Appetizers will be served beginning at 5:30 p.m. Inductees will be added every other year, and a form for candidates will be provided at the dinner.