In August 2004, with the assistance of a grant from the Community Foundation, the Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence (NICNE) was founded as a program of Rockford College. NICNE’s mission is to build a strong, vibrant nonprofit sector critical to a healthy community. NICNE aspires to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations to reach the highest levels of service and management excellence, providing education, training, information, consultation, and resource support.
July 1, 2018, NICNE began a new alliance with Northern Illinois University. NICNE's offices and programs are now housed at NIU - Rockford and within the department of Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development.