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Donations That Help Rockford's Helpers

Yesterday, we brought you a story about Rockford’s Club Blue, which, after five short years, will surpass the $1 million mark in grants and donations to Rockford-area organizations. Now, we’re going to hear from recipients of Club Blue grants and what it meant for them to receive that money. Jane Armitage, Vice President of Development for Remedies Renewing Lives, tells us about the grant they received.

“We received a generous grant from Club Blue Foundation to build the children’s playroom in our new shelter,” she said, “and what it means to the children is, while they’re living in shelter or coming to group meetings, they have a place to go, be themselves, have fun and to heal”

Dola Gregory is founder/CEO of Rock House Kids. She explained that Club Blue’s giving isn’t restricted to monetary donations. After receiving an initial $15,000 grant, Club Blue provided another $10,000 for playground equipment -- and that was just the start of the relationship.

“The relationship is whatever else we needed,” Gregory said. “We had 80 kids that didn’t have winter boots, and it was snowing and blowing; and we called and said that, and I don’t know how many of those women went shopping, but they went shopping and coming in the next day bringing boots after boots for our kids. That meant so much to us.

Dola Gregory -- Executive Director, Rock House Kids

“There have been times we haven’t had anybody to bring the meal, the hot food, and we made a phone call and they get right on it,” she added. “They show up with more than enough food and homemade desserts and everything. So they said, ‘This is only the beginning of a relationship, let us know what you need,’ and they’re true to their word on that.”

Keri Nelson, Executive Director for Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity, said the grant from Club Blue was going to pay for a newly constructed house in which a single mother with special-needs children would find the space and security they badly needed.

Keri Nelson -- Executive Director, Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity

“It is paying for the whole house,” Nelson said. “It’s a $75,000 grant, so it pays our entire, total development cost -- from administrative, construction manager cost, as well as the raw cost it takes to build the house. So it’s possible we’re putting a family in that house, 100% because of Club Blue.”

Philip Masterton (“Phil”, nobody calls me Philip) was born just outside Dublin, Ireland and emigrated with his family as a lad. Growing up in Chicago’s northern suburbs he eventually graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a degree in Mass Media Communications/Radio & TV.
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