About Us

A Foundation for Tomorrow

Our goal is to give $2 million in grants by our 30th anniversary in 2021. In 1991, a visionary group of leaders created REF to fill gaps created by school funding shortfalls by providing funds for classroom and community projects. In its first 20 years, REF awarded $1 million in grants to hundreds of projects and programs that enhance learning in our community.

Board of Trustees

2017-2018 Trustees

The REF Board of Trustees are volunteers who raise funds and award grants to teachers, administrators, students and community leaders to enrich learning in our community. The Board meets bimonthly August through June.

Brian Kraus

Brian Kraus

Chair, Trustee

Joane VanLuven

Joane VanLuven

Secretary, Trustee

Jeremy Amshey

Jeremy Amshey

Trustee

Jenn Davis

Jenn Davis

Trustee

Nancy Jesko

Nancy Jesko

Trustee

Bobbie Blanton

Bobbie Blanton

Vice Chair, Trustee

Jill Silverman

Jill Silverman

Executive Director

Catherine Behrendt

Catherine Behrendt

Trustee

Jill Ericksen

Jill Ericksen

Trustee

Kelsey Schultz

Kelsey Schultz

Trustee

Kelly Timmer

Kelly Timmer

Treasurer, Trustee

Beth Dornan

Beth Dornan

Past Chair, Trustee

Sandy Buchanich

Sandy Buchanich

Trustee

Scott Gerhardt

Scott Gerhardt

Trustee

Amy Vancil

Amy Vancil

Trustee

Dr. Michael Shibler

Rockford Public Schools Superintendent, Ex Officio

Geoffrey L. Downs

Rockford Public Schools Board of Education Representative, Ex Officio

Terry Hibdon

Rockford Public Schools Teacher Representative, Ex Officio

Board of Trustees

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”

– Warren Bennis