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IceHogs Community Fund and Chicago Blackhawks Foundation Awards $20,000 Grant to Think Big!

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The Rockford IceHogs Community Fund and Chicago Blackhawks Foundation have awarded a $20,000 grant to Think Big! as part of $127,000 being awarded for this year’s grant cycle. Think Big! is a Rockford-based organization that supports minority owned businesses by helping to remove barriers that prevent the minority community from business growth and development.

The grant will help Think Big! increase the number of cohorts by two for the “Think Big! School of Business,” increase the number of one-on-one coaching hours for Think Big! clients, and offer how-to workshops to participants. This marks the second year that the IceHogs Community Fund and Chicago Blackhawks Foundation have awarded a grant to Think Big!. Last year’s $50,000 grant helped Think Big! launch the “Think Big! School of Business 2.0” and allowed Think Big! provide mini-grants to 11 minority-owned businesses to overcome obstacles and advance their business.

To date, Think Big! has been able to assist 230 individuals and businesses in the Rockford region.

“We are grateful for the generous gift from IceHogs Community Fund and Chicago Blackhawks Foundation,” said Dr. Sheila Hill, co-founder of Think Big! “As we receive commitments like this one, we are helping minority and women owned businesses start and grow their businesses and drive economic growth across the Rockford region.”

"The Rockford IceHogs can only succeed if our community is strong, and our community will be at its strongest if our economy is robust and if our citizens are well-educated,” said Dave Costello, Manager of Marketing and Community Relations for the IceHogs. “Think Big! is an organization that is making a positive impact in both of those spheres of influence, and our community is better for it.”

“The Chicago Blackhawks believe that a vibrant neighborhood includes community-based entrepreneurs that are creating small businesses that fuel the economy and support local workforce development,” said Sara Guderyahn, Executive Director of the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Think Big! as they provide the wraparound supports and knowledge-building to create a pipeline of entrepreneurs in Rockford.”

In total for this year's grant cycle, the IceHogs Community Fund and Chicago Blackhawks Foundation have awarded $127,000 in grants to support nine Rockford area organizations and 10 unique programs. The awards include $100,000 from the IceHogs Community Fund and $27,000 from the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation. Previously announced awards included:

  • $10,000 (IceHogs Community Fund) to VanVleet Family Foundation to fully fund participation costs for 67 kids to attend Fred VanVleet’s Summer Camp
  • $10,000 (IceHogs Community Fund) to Rockford Park District to support its first ever "Buddy Hockey" program that seeks to help eliminate barriers that often prevent youth, teens, and adults with disabilities from learning to play the sport of ice hockey
  • $10,000 (IceHogs Community Fund) to Rockford Hockey Club to help reduce season fees for players at the 8u level and increase participation at all levels
  • $10,000 (IceHogs Community Fund) to Rock House Kids (RHK) to help serve a larger number of kids during RHK evening programs, including providing more meals and nutritious food options for all kids being served
  • $6,500 (IceHogs Community Fund) to The Greg Lindmark Foundation to generate awareness in the community about the no-cost special services the Foundation offers to local first responders
  • $6,500 (IceHogs Community Fund) to Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford to conduct full ASD diagnostic assessments for children ages 3-12 who are currently on a 12-month waiting list
  • $10,000 (IceHogs Community Fund) to Rockford Razorbacks Lacrosse to provide dues and equipment assistance to 15 underserved kids

More details on additional grants awarded by the IceHogs Community Fund and Chicago Blackhawks Foundation will be revealed throughout the summer.

About the IceHogs Community Fund

The IceHogs Community Fund (ICF), supported by the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation, is invested in making a positive social impact by supporting initiatives that will help make the Rockford region a better place to work, live, and play. Through partnerships with local organizations, the ICF is dedicated to growing the game of hockey by working to broaden exposure and reduce barriers to the sport.

The ICF raises funds throughout the year in a variety of ways, including specialty jersey auctions as well as gameday sales of 50/50 raffle tickets and Chuck-A-Pucks.

About Think Big!

Think Big! is the leading resource for minority owned businesses in the Rockford region, committed to removing barriers that prevent the minority community from business growth and development. As barriers are removed, existing and aspiring entrepreneurs will be inspired and encouraged to Think Big!