One Body Collaboratives is leading an effort to create a community wide Poverty Reduction Strategy.  Our Poverty Reduction Strategy Team provides a platform for us to bring key community leaders together to reduce poverty in a comprehensive way. Creating a Poverty Reduction Strategy and building opportunities for upward mobility for all residents in Winnebago County requires every sector working together. This includes business, financial, education, philanthropic, faith-based, non-profit, government and advocates addressing the widespread impact of poverty.  As a community we have a large number of organizations working to reduce poverty through many programs and services.  Despite all of our good works, our collective impact hasn’t reduced the level of poverty in our community. 

Our planning process will utilize data from the Urban Institute's Boosting Upward Mobility from Poverty and Advancing Equity project to identify racial and ethnic disparities and barriers to booting upward mobility from poverty in our community.  We are launching this process because the City of Rockford and Winnebago County is falling behind on indicators that demonstrate how likely someone in our community is to advance out of poverty.  We plan to use this opportunity to assess systems in our community against the Mobility Metrics and identify weaknesses or gaps.   Our five focus areas include: 


Our Process

Shared Vision: Reducing poverty is a complex problem. Solutions are created through intentional, multi-sectoral collaborations where the efforts of many converge and align with a shared vision.  Our Poverty Reduction Strategy Team is comprised of key leaders in a variety of sectors in our community that are engaged in poverty reduction.

Assessments: We will develop assessment tools that will help us determine our community’s commitment to poverty reduction as well as choosing the areas that we will focus on impacting. Additionally, we will determine a system of data collection and shared measurements to report outcomes.

Alignment: Working with our State Representatives and Senators, we will align our poverty reduction strategy with that of the State of Illinois and create dialog in both directions to ensure alignment of our efforts.  This will also help us to obtain future funding that is aligned with the outcomes we want to achieve.

Advocacy: Municipalities play a significant role in providing critical services such as affordable housing, public transportation, and library services. Thus, the support and leadership of our County Board Chairman and Mayor as well as municipal councils can be pivotal in creating comprehensive poverty reduction initiatives.  We will advocate for participation from our local government in our process, as well as for the implementation of our poverty reduction strategies and recommendations to be applied at the local government level.

The Poverty Reduction Strategy Team will develop a set of strategies and recommendations for our community to implement to achieve our poverty reduction goals. We will focus on long-term sustainable solutions that significantly reduce poverty and ultimately reduce people’s dependency on social services to help them meet their basic needs.  Our approach will be to identify strategies that will reduce poverty by either increasing the income of families or decreasing expenses, will make people more independent, and will place families on a path out of poverty.

We also have obtained the full support of Winnebago County Chairman Joe Chiarelli and City of Rockford Mayor Thomas McNamara to create a Poverty Reduction Strategy.  Both have also pledged support, partnership and advocacy in this effort, as well as staff members to serve on the Team and sub-committee.  Additionally, our recommendations will be championed through the appropriate staff members and committees at the City and County level to implementation. 

Working Groups
Working Groups are being created for each of the Focus Areas listed above, and will be led by our sub-committee, which includes: 
Jas Bilich, Winnebago County
Mary Cacioppi, One Body Collaboratives
Owen Carter, City of Rockford Health & Human Services
Ron Clewer, Gorman & Company
Michael Jarvis, Winnebago County Health Department
Anqunette Parham, City of Rockford Health & Human Services
James Patterson, Community Foundation of Northern IL
Trisha Tousant, YMCA Rock River Valley. 


To stay updated on our project, join our Bridges to Prosperity Rockford Region Facebook Group, you can find it here: Bridges To Prosperity Rockford Region | Facebook

To learn more about the Upward Mobility Framework created by Urban Institute, click here.