Revenue from Rockford casino will help put minority students through college

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford’s temporary Hard Rock Casino is open, and city leaders say revenue from the project will be invested in the community’s youth.

The temporary Rockford Casino: A Hard Rock Opening Act, opened its doors this week, at 610 N Bell School Road.

“We are projecting about $1.5 to $2 million dollars of revenue annually from the temporary casino,” said Mayor Tom McNamara. “We have allocated $1.5 million to go to Rockford Promise.”

Rockford Promise is a non-profit scholarship program whose stated goal is to support scholars in their studies and then help them achieve their dream careers without financial barriers to hold them back.

Rockford Promise’s Dr. Tasha Davis says the money will allow even more Rockford Public School students the opportunity to further their education at Northern Illinois University.

“It’s just really opening the doors of opportunity for the city of Rockford, for the businesses of Rockford, and for the community as a whole,” Davis said. “When you invest in your young people, that’s a great source of offering equity for everyone involved.

McNamara says the Rockford Promise program has proven to be successful.

“We have increased the number of kids from Rockford Public Schools going to NIU by 380%,” he said. “Of those kids that have taken advantage of the Rockford Promise thus far, 59% of them are minority students and 79% percent of them are first generation college going students.”

“We hope to continue that retention rate with our NIU scholars, because that’s one barrier to cross the financial issues of underserved students. The other is to retain them and get them across the graduation stage,” Davis said.

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