gold trees on a black background. text reads: February 25, 2023, you are invited to Black Winter - A Formal Gala in Celebration of Black Scholarship -

Celebrate Black Excellence in Scholarship at Black Winter

This Black History Month, Rockford is pulling out all the stops and celebrating the legacy and future of Black excellence in scholarship, leadership, and philanthropy at the one-of-a-kind Black Winter gala. Black Winter will be held at Rockford Art Museum (711 N Main Street) on Saturday, February 25th from 6:00 – 9:00pm.

This formal event (black tie suggested, fabulous expected!) is presented in partnership by the Friends of Black Winter, a group of organizations and individuals who are working together to uplift the stories of local Black leaders and deepen the resources available to Black students to support their educational pursuits. Black Winter is a fundraiser for existing scholarships for Black students, six of which are administered by the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois and one which is being launched by the 815 Chapter of Urban Intellectuals. See names and brief descriptions below.

To inspire attendees and community generosity, the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois has pledged to match up to $50,000 in donations made to the six CFNIL-administered scholarships. These funds are permanently endowed, meaning they will support new students every year, in perpetuity!

The event will feature live music from Chicago-based band Sam Thousand, custom cocktails and delicious bites from local Black-owned businesses, and an immersive, interactive program including displays heralding notable local Black leaders, philanthropists, educators, and entrepreneurs, and remarks from event partners, past and current scholarship recipients, and distinguished guests. Strike a pose and capture the elegance of the evening with photographs on the black carpet, upgrade your ticket to enjoy the VIP Lounge and a “fast pass” to drink service, and dance the night away in the beauty of the Rockford Art Museum, all while supporting local students! 

This is a night you will not want to miss.

Learn more, purchase tickets, and make donations at 

Black Winter’s Featured Scholarships:
Administered by CFNIL:

Administered by Urban Intellectuals 815 Chapter:

  • Urban Intellectuals Early College Drive (ECD) Scholarship - African American H.S. students in Winnebago County with a minimum GPA of 3.0 accumulative, dedication to academic excellence, community development. Focus: to help AA students close the education and wealth gap by creating opportunities for students to complete HS with associates degree or trade certification from local community college.

About Friends of Black Winter
Black Winter is an event to recognize, uplift, and celebrate the legacy of Black excellence in scholarship in the Rockford region.  This special evening is a fundraiser for scholarships established to support the educational pursuits of local Black students. Black Winter is presented in partnership by: 

  • Urban Intellectuals
  • Gabrielle Torina, Alderman of Rockford's 5th Ward
  • Maurice West II, Illinois State Representative for the 67th District
  • Community Foundation of Northern Illinois
  • Wabongo Leadership Council