REF Grants 2023/2024
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Rockford Education Foundation (REF) School Year & Student Grants

The Rockford Education Foundation's mission is to provide funding for educational opportunities, both basic and innovative, in the Rockford community. REF does this by supporting educational programs and services within the geographic boundaries of the Rockford Public Schools. 

Grant Deadlines:

Small Grants (up to $1,000) 

  • Monday, September 18, 5pm 
  • Monday, January 29, 5pm

Large Grants ($1,001 - $15,000) 

  • Monday, October 9, 5pm
    • Videos due by October 13
    • Large Grant Review Meeting - October 23, 5-9pm
  • Monday, January 29, 5pm
    • Videos due by February 2
    • Large Grant Review Meeting - February 26, 5-9pm

In addition to the online application, Large Grant applications require a 5-10 minute video submission providing an overview and details of the grant request. Videos may be submitted with the grant application or emailed to 

We highly recommend your participation in the REF Large Grant Review Meeting to address any questions or inquiries regarding your grant application. Following the submission of your Large Grant application, you will receive communication to coordinate a time for your attendance at the review meeting.

Student Grants (up to $500)

  • Monday, April 15, 5pm

Student Grant requests must be written by the student(s). Requests clearly conceived by or written by a parent, teacher, or administrator will generally not be considered.

» REF funds grants that are educational in nature.

» REF grants are intended to impact as many learners as possible over a multi-year horizon.

» REF grants are one-time in nature. All grant items must be ordered by April 15th of the same academic year.

» An individual may apply for one (1) Small School Year Grant and one (1) Large School Year Grant for the same academic year. A student may apply for one (1) Student Grant per school year. However, an individual may be listed on another grant application as part of a group.

» Grants pertaining to Rockford Public Schools that are technology-related must be submitted to the RPS Technology Department prior to the application due date (one week is recommended).

» Applications that have the following characteristics generally will not be approved: Requests for Consumable items; Gift cards or other cash-like instruments; Items to be included in upcoming bond issues; Reimbursement of purchases already made; and, Items that will be used to profit personally or used in a for-profit manner.

» Rockford Education Foundation grants are funded by community donations. To help us spread the word about how REF grants enhance education in our community, successful grant applicants will be asked to provide an impact report including photographs, recipient narrative regarding the outcomes, quotes from impacted students, etc. These photographs and impact stories will be utilized by REF in our various media releases.