815-801-3035 info@fornwil.org

Today is a great opportunity to celebrate all that is unique and wonderful about our region: The 815.

Reaching from the far northwest corner or our State where Illinois touches the Iowa and Wisconsin borders, hugging the greater Chicago market, and ending just above the central Illinois border with Indiana, the 815 region is one of the State’s four original area code regions established as part of the North American Numbering Plan (NAAP) in 1947.

Today, our far, northwestern Illinois region of Stephenson, Jo Daviess, and Carroll counties within the 815 region is home to a combined population of just over 82,000 people. Our region is also home to some amazing landscapes, such as canoeing from Winslow south along the Pecatonica River or biking along the Jane Addams Trail, passing along the pastoral landscapes of Stephenson County to hiking through the Northwest Driftless at places like Apple River Canyon State Park or the many land and nature preserves of the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation to camping and boating alongside the Mighty Mississippi at the Mississippi Palisades State Park outside Savanna.

Our region’s cultural community is also vast and varied. The Galena & U.S. Grant Museum tell the story of our nation’s 18th president and his adopted home of Galena, and in Elizabeth, one can step inside a full-sized, antique railway caboose while exploring the parallels between our region’s growth and the expansion of the Chicago Great Western Railway.

The Savanna area is also rich in railway history and home to a rare Hiawatha Passenger Car at its Train Car Museum. And from train wheels to bike tires, one can cycle over the historic Savanna Railroad Yards on the Savanna Bike Trail.

And, if you’re looking for indoor arts and cultural activities throughout Northwest Illinois, the list of options is long and varied: Timberlake Playhouse outside Mount Carroll, Galena Trolley Tours, Winneshiek Playhouse in downtown Freeport, Freeport Art Museum, Stephenson County Historical Society, Cedarville Historical Society, Winslow Historical Society, the Children’s Hands-On Museum of Northwest Illinois, and the list goes on.

All-in-all, Northwest Illinois is home to over 1,000 nonprofit organizations employing 10 percent of our region’s workforce. And while arts and culture are typically where one’s mind goes in relationship to nonprofits, many of our region’s largest employers are also nonprofit organizations including FHN, SSM Health Monroe Clinic, Midwest Medical Center, Highland Community College, Freeport District 145 and multiple other school districts throughout Stephenson, Jo Davies, and Carroll counties, not to mention the local, county, State, and even Federal employees peppered throughout northwest Illinois.

From arts and culture to community development to parks, preserves, and environmental and agricultural services, to Education, Healthcare and Human Services, to first responders and emergency services, nonprofit organizations are the glue that binds communities and our country together. They create a foundation on which amazing communities can grow and thrive, and that’s why our mission at The Foundation for Northwest Illinois states, “… to empower nonprofit organization to develop solutions that help Northwest Illinois communities thrive.”

To celebrate #815Day and as we move into the season of giving, we at The Foundation encourage you to consider donating to your favorite local nonprofit organization. By supporting the nonprofits, you are supporting quality of life here in Northwest Illinois, and, working together, we can continue to see our region develop, grow, and thrive for everyone, every day.

A thriving 815, now that’s something worth celebrating.