In the mid-1940s, a small group of friends and neighbors began to meet in a garage near Auburn and Day streets to plan social and neighborhood events. Calling itself the Auburn Day Association, the group organized a neighborhood cleanup, helped develop a fire district on Rockford’s northwest side, and participated in efforts to address drainage and sanitary concerns in the area. The group, run entirely by volunteers, was chartered as a nonprofit organization by the state in 1948.
Fast-forward to the 1960s, a decade of milestones. The organization changed its name to Northwest Community Center. A board of directors was elected and a full-time executive director was hired. The center also became one of the first nonprofits to receive funds from the new United Way. As activities and programs grew, so did the need for a new facility. With help from local donors, the center relocated into the 15,000-square-foot building where it remains today.
The 1980s saw the development of the Corbett Community Building on the NWCC grounds, made possible by a donation from Dr. Willard Corbett. Another local benefactor, Harry Lello, donated the money to start the Lello Neighborhood Library at the center. The center expanded its programming with additional state-funded social services.
Today, as NWCC looks forward to celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2023, we are proud to be one of the most successful small human service nonprofits in the Rockford area. Each year, NWCC and our partner organizations serve 15,000 youths and adults through a variety of recreational and educational programs. The center occupies 25,000 square feet across two buildings on our 8-acre campus.