March 9th Program
The State of the City
     Tom McNamara took office as the 41st mayor of Rockford on May 1, 2017. He was re-elected on April 6, 2021 and sworn in to a second term on May 3, 2021.
     Prior to becoming Mayor, Tom served the community for four years as 3rd Ward Alderman, representing constituents on Rockford’s east and west sides, as well as downtown.  As Mayor, Tom has focused on developing and implementing plans to reduce crime, increasing police technology and training, strengthening neighborhoods and schools and encouraging economic development. He has worked to reduce the city’s property taxes and has appointed members to commissions and board who are fiscally responsible and share a likeminded responsibility to use taxpayer funding efficiently and effectively.
     Among the general accomplishments of Mayor McNamara and his team:
  • Led a team that saw an overall 16 percent reduction in violent crime rates.
  • Formed the Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence & Human Trafficking Prevention
    • Opened the state’s only Family Peace Center to support DV/HT survivors
  • Implemented the largest Capital Improvement Programs (CIP) in the City’s history to improve Rockford’s streets, bridges and infrastructure.
  • Aggressively worked to reduce the impact of blighted commercial and residential properties.
  • Recapitalized the Northern Illinois Community Development Corporation (RLDC) partnership of 10 banks to provide $4 million to support small business owners.
  • Obtained a casino license for Rockford, welcoming the Hard Rock Casino to the community, pending Illinois Gaming Board approval.
  • Supported the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) and its role as an economic engine for the region.
    • More than 8,500 employees now work on RFD’s 3,000+ acre property, which is now the 19th largest cargo airport in the US and the fastest-growing cargo airport in the world.
  • Restructured Head Start to increase the number of young children who can access the program
  • Increased the profile and impact of Rockford Promise, to make college more accessible and affordable for RPS 205 students, including forming the Rockford Promise/Northern Illinois University Scholarship Program, which allows RPS 205 students to attend NIU tuition-free.
  • Retired the last of the City’s long-term road debt.
  • Reduced the City’s property tax levy each year since taking office. The tax rate is now under 2.9 percent, a 3.3 percent decrease from 2019.
  • Maintained an overall City workforce with one-third fewer non-public safety staff than our peer communities.
  • Established the Community Relations Commission to advise the City on social justice, law enforcement, and discrimination and equality/equity issues.
  • Led Rockford in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including establishing a joint City/County Emergency Operations Center, launching the Rebounding Rockford working group, develop a loan program to aid small and medium-sized businesses and secured state and federal funding to support businesses impacted by the pandemic.
  • Led the community conversation and action on issues of social justice, equity and equality, including reforms to law enforcement procedures and policies and the passage of a body-worn camera program that will take effect in 2021.

     Mayor McNamara serves on many boards across the community, including the Alignment Rockford Governing Board, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Illinois Community Revitalization Task Force, Illinois Municipal League Board of Directors, JB Pritzker’s Budget and Innovation Team, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Rockford Area Economic Development Council Board of Directors, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Workforce Connection Board.

     The mayor is a graduate of Rockford’s Boylan Catholic High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology and criminology and a master’s degree in non-profit administration, both from John Carroll University in Cleveland. He and his wife Sarah live with their two children in the Churchill’s Grove neighborhood.

     Mayor McNamara's "State of the City" address has become an annual program for Rockford Rotary.  The Mayor was made an Honorary Member of Rockford Rotary on May 25, 2017, just a a few weeks after taking office.  He mentioned at the time that it was his first honorary membership since becoming mayor. 

     This is always an interesting and informative program and one that plays to a full house.  We would encourage our members to try an attend either in person or via zoom.  It is also an excellent opportunity to bring a gust or prospective member.  Former Alderman, Doug Mark, will introduce the mayor and act as Rotary Host.

March 16th Program
All About the Rotary Academy
     Linda Johnson has been involved with the Rotary Academy from its inception.  First as an advisor at West Middle School and then as the chairperson after she "retired" from District 205.  Through all of the years with the ups and downs, Linda has managed to keep the Rotary Academy moving forward.  It is safe to say that were it not for Linda, this program would not have lasted these 20+ years. 
     Linda joined Rockford Rotary on June 23, 2005, and is the only person to serve as President two times in the 107 years of Rockford Rotary.  Her first term was the 2016-17 years and then when we had a perfect storm of Presidential succession, she stepped up and took over as President in 2021-22.
     As the program title implies, Linda will tell us "All About the Rotary Academy" and how we can get involved and show or support for our signature project.
     As an added incentive to attend, Schnuck's pizza and cookies will be served.  
March 2nd Program
Center for Learning in Retirement
     Our March 2nd program featured Rhee Ellen Wright from the Center for Learning in Retirement (CLR).
Center for Learning in Retirement guests.
Our presenter Rhee Wright with President Eric.
Academy Students at RVC
     Rotary Academy students enjoy a pizza lunch while visiting Rock Valley College this week.
     Paul Von Driska's son can be seen helping pass out sodas.
     Students took a campus tour, did a goal setting activity, and played a game related to what they had learned while there.
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Mar 09, 2023
State of the City
Mar 16, 2023
All About the Rotary Academy
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Upcoming Events
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Mar 21, 2023
Board Meetings
Apr 18, 2023
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Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Carla Redd
March 1
Elise Cadigan
March 8
Jay Braffett
March 8
Denny Johnson
March 10
Monica Glenny
March 18
John Mecklenburg
March 20
Tom McNamara
March 29
Scott Lewandowski
March 30
Join Date
Jim Nelson
March 3, 1983
40 years
Laura Wilkinson
March 5, 2015
8 years
Mike Donnelly
March 6, 2003
20 years
Jim Powers
March 11, 1993
30 years
Russ Johansson
March 13, 1987
36 years
John Mecklenburg
March 14, 1991
32 years
Lynn Momberger
March 16, 2017
6 years
Don Kinney
March 18, 2004
19 years
Lyn Allison
March 21, 1991
32 years
Dave Cleven
March 31, 1983
40 years
Janine Idstein
March 31, 2022
1 year
Meeting Responsibilities
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Rockford Rotary - Our 107th Year -