In 1953 it was called the Rockford Community Trust. It had a name, a little money and some very big plans.
Recognizing the potential of the fledgling organization, it became a founding member of the National Committee on Foundations and Trusts, predecessor to the Council on Foundations and along with the Chicago Community Trust and Milwaukee Community Foundation.
It has grown into an organization of ever-increasing resources and extends to the Boone, Ogle Stephenson and Winnebago counties.
It has more than $90 million in assets, has made grants totaling more than $60 million and manages over 447 charitable funds.
Today, this Community Foundation is the largest endowed scholarship and grantmaking foundation that serves the diverse needs of Northern Illinois. Throughout the years, the Foundation has remained true to its original mission of helping donors realize their charitable dreams and improving the lives of people in Northern Illinois. We attract, grow and preserve endowment for the people of Northern Illinois.
In May 1953, the city’s most distinguished leaders serving on the boards of the Rockford Community Chest and the United War Chest Board create the Rockford Community Trust. It is funded with $12,351. The Trust’s purpose is to accept and distribute charitable gifts and bequests, to ensure that the donor’s wishes are carried out in perpetuity, and to build a permanent “nest egg” for long-range community needs.
Early grants include:
• $1,650 to Freeman School to provide playground and therapeutic equipment for disabled students
• $1,000 to the Winnebago County Chapter of the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis to purchase supplies of Salk vaccine to combat the community’s polio epidemic
• The Trust acts as custodian for the Washington Park Community Center Building Campaign, managing more than $30,000 to promote and complete the project