(Rockford, Ill. - 04/21/2014) – BMO Harris Bank and the Rockford IceHogs once again teamed up to promote literacy in Rockford schools by donating $6,000 to "Goals for Grades." The program supports "I READ," United Way of Rock River Valley's early-grade reading initiative.

Through the "Goals for Grades" program, BMO Harris Bank donated $20 for every goal scored by the IceHogs during each regular season game in the 2013/2014 season at the BMO Harris Bank Center. A total of 125 goals were scored, leading to a donation of $2,500, which BMO Harris Bank then increased to $6,000. BMO Harris Bank and the Rockford IceHogs presented the check to United Way of Rock River Valley during the IceHogs game on April 19.

"The 'Goals for Grades' program is one of several ways we partner with the IceHogs in enriching our community and celebrating the achievements of our local team," said Andrea Ward, Market President, BMO Harris Bank. "It demonstrates the high value we place on education. We are proud that we will continue this tradition for a fourth season next fall."

"Reading is the foundation of learning," said Paul A. Logli, President/CEO, United Way of Rock River Valley. "BMO Harris Bank and the Rockford IceHogs' investment in early-grade reading support our efforts in helping children learn to read properly so they can focus on reading to learn."

"I READ" is a partnership between United Way and the Rockford and Harlem School Districts that pairs reading mentors with kindergarten students and helps prepare students to read proficiently by fourth grade. Reading mentors meet with students weekly during the school day and are encouraged to remain with their students until they complete third grade. About 400 students have been matched with volunteer reading mentors for the current school year.

"We are once again proud to partner with BMO Harris Bank in support of the I READ program," said Gordon Kaye, Executive Director and General Manager of RAVE. "United Way's early childhood education initiatives have made a drastic impact in the community, and their continued efforts to address this critical need are vital to the long-term success of the students affected by that programming."

This donation follows the completion of another partnership between the Rockford IceHogs, BMO Harris Bank, Beefaroo and a local non-profit, where over 2,700 pairs of socks were collected during the 2nd annual Rockford sock drive to benefit Project Undershare. BMO Harris Bank donated $4,000 to support Project Undershare this year.

About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Banking products and services are provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. and are subject to bank or credit approval. BMO Harris ® and BMO Harris Bank® are trade names used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and CDN $593 billion in assets (as of January 31, 2014).

About United Way of Rock River Valley
United Way of Rock River Valley advances the common good in Winnebago and Ogle counties, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, income, and health. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.

About RAVE
The Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Authority is the board that oversees the downtown arena, Coronado Performing Arts Center and Davis Park, with the mission of revitalizing downtown entertainment. The board was appointed by Rockford Mayor Morrissey, Loves Park Mayor Lindberg and Winnebago County Chairman Christiansen in March 2010.


Media Contacts:
Tiffany Smith, Chicago, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (312) 461-7815
Roman J. Salamon, Rockford, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (815) 299-5015
Gordon Kaye, Rockford, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (267) 216-7903

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