Can a community profit without a healthy nonprofit sector?

If someone asked you what makes Rockford great, what would you say?  Perhaps you’d mention the presence of three excellent hospitals and a city-wide network of clinics, or the abundance of social support services, from Family Counseling Services to Northern Illinois Hospice and Grief Center  to Rosecrance to domestic violence support centers such as Remedies.

Maybe the incredible wealth of cultural opportunities, from Coronado Performing Arts Center to Rockford Art Museum, from Midway Village to Rockford Youth Symphony Orchestra, would top your list. Would you rattle off the names of some of our numerous higher education institutions – Rock Valley College, Rockford College, NIU, University of Illinois College of Medicine?

If your interests lie out of doors, you might note the abundant parks, golf courses, natural spaces, and river walk, most open for free use by the public thanks to our fabulous Rockford Park District and Winnebago County Forest Preserve District. You might also note the great diversity of opportunities for people of faith to worship in churches, temples, synagogues and mosques.

This short list highlights not only some of our community’s greatest assets, but also another distinction: all of these assets are a part of our thriving nonprofit sector!  When a community is able to recognize, support, and champion the “social profit” that a healthy nonprofit sector provides, the for-profit community also benefits.  Indeed, it is only the mutual appreciation and collaboration of all parties that will help move our community, any community, forward. In today’s challenging economic environment, it is truer than ever that by finding common ground we are better able to facilitate meaningful and measurable social change for the better.

A true champion for the idea that there are “No Profits Without

Robert Egger, author of "Begging for Change."

Robert Egger, author of “Begging for Change.”

Nonprofits” will be visiting Rockford on May 8. Robert Egger, founder and former president of D.C. Central Kitchen and current founder of L.A. Kitchen, will be the keynote speaker at a luncheon program titled “Begging for Change: Promoting Community Innovation to find Fresh Solutions to Solvable Issues.” Egger will also be present at a Media and Nonprofit Leader Forum prior to the luncheon at Rockford College, to which the community is welcome to attend.  Interested in hearing more about his message? Visit his website or read his article “No Profits Without Nonprofits.”