How We Transform Our Region from Within

The tides are changing in Rockford, and for the better. Learn how the Transform Rockford movement is inspiring a new approach to self-development that could make our region a Top 25 community.

Transform Rockford was founded with the intent of transforming the region from within.
Since making the case for change to the community in 2013, Transform Rockford has experienced a strong, positive response from the community and now has more than 300 active volunteers and several thousand more signed up to receive news and updates.
Transform Rockford is following a process that has been proven by many organizations to achieve transformational change.
This past year was one of visioning for the Rockford region. As a community, we came together to chart a vision for our preferred future, based on our hopes and dreams. After more than 50 facilitated sessions with participation from several thousand community members, an overall community vision and 12 impact statements were drafted. The community vision and impact statements will guide our work.
With the vision set, 2015 will focus on the next phase of the transformation process: define the strategy. Teams are being formed around the impact statements – the twelve areas that are the focus of change.
Each team will have about a dozen members, with leaders being drawn from the public, private, nonprofit and faith sectors. The teams will be trained on a strategic planning framework that will be used to develop strategies to achieve the vision and desired outcomes articulated in the impact statements.
The framework will ensure that appropriate rigor, data and analysis are applied to strategy development. Core to the strategy development is ongoing community input and review.
Transform Rockford will host a series of Community Conversations, which will facilitate greater engagement and understanding of the issues we face as a community. Topics will be oriented around the impact statements and will include subject matter panels, expert speakers and facilitated community discussions.
Mike Schablaske is executive director of Transform Rockford, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to generate a strategic plan for improving the region’s social and economic well-being. Learn more about Transform Rockford’s mission to create a Top 25 community at
Transform Rockford’s Vision Statement
We are a top 25 community where our people are engaged, inspired and are
leading successful and fulfilling lives.
Our community is recognized as one of the very best regions in which to live. Our residents
are thriving and enjoying a superior quality of life. We have transformed our community by embracing our diversity, fostering a crime-free culture and delivering an excellent education to our children.
We have an agile, innovative and strong economy built on the renaissance of North American manufacturing, logistics, agribusiness and our adjacency to urban centers, such as Chicago. Our infrastructure is robust, our workplace is sought after, and our vibrant neighborhoods and cultural and recreational amenities draw people to locate in our region.