Rockford Christian Schools gets land from First Midwest Group to build grade school
ROCKFORD- Developer Sunil Puri on Tuesday announced that his family and his First Midwest Group business has given 8 acres of land valued at more than $2.7 million to Rockford Christian Schools to build an elementary school...READ MORE
Storage business, Starbucks moving into former Kmart in Loves Park

LOVES PARK — Cars are lining up outside a new Starbucks, and ATI Physical Therapy is moving into the same building near the intersection of Riverside Boulevard and Forest Hills Road...READ MORE


Rockford mayor, developer celebrate new clinic, promise more to come

ROCKFORD — Mayor Tom McNamara and First Midwest Group President Sunil Puri announced the completion a rare west side development that officials hope will soon become more commonplace...READ MORE


Puri Family Donates Building to PAWS Humane Society

The Puri Family donated their Cherry Valley Golf and Games Building to PAWS Humane Society, it's first ever location...READ MORE



The 2017 Puri Family Outstanding Principal Award

Belvidere South Middle School Principal, Ben Commare, was awarded the 2017 Puri Family Outstanding Principal Award...READ MORE



Puri Family Investing in Excellence Assistant Principal Development Program 2017 

ROCKFORD - The Golden Apple Foundation and First Midwest Group has named Jennifer Macek of Roosevelt Community Education Center the winnter of the Investing in Excellence: Assistant Principal Development program for 2017...READ MORE


Developer has passion for the young and the elderly

Sunil Puri, founder and president of First Midwest Group, has a particular passion for helping young people and the elderly...READ MORE


First Midwest Group - Long time supporter of Remedies Renewing Lives 

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- A domestic violence incident happens every 84 minutes in our community according to Remedies and they say it's the call our officers respond to most. READ MORE...


Illinois 173 Expansion Project complete after three years

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – A road improvement project that took three years to complete is now done and that means drivers have speedier and safer access to I-90 in Northern Winnebago County...READ MORE


Rockford Lutheran School introduces PURI Center of Research and Engagement

ROCKFORD — Rockford Lutheran School leaders, students, teachers and parents celebrated the completion of a $700,000 media center addition today on the school's Junior/Senior High School campus, 3411 N. Alpine Road...READ MORE



Leaders of next generation honored at Young American Awards banquet

ROCKFORD — Businessman and philanthropist Sunil Puri today passed along words of wisdom he learned from his parents and grandparents to a room filled with some of the brightest teenagers from across the region...READ MORE



Prairie Hill Elementary Principal honored with Puri- Golden Apple Foundation Outstanding Principal Award

SOUTH BELOIT (WREX) -Kathy Noorlag has worked at Prairie Hill Elementary school for 16 years, and for the past five years she has worked with Principal Kevin Finnegan, the winner of the 2016 Puri-Golden Apple Foundation Outstanding Principal Award...READ MORE



Rockford's Renee Schott named Golden Apple's 2016 assistant principal

ROCKFORD — Renee Schott of Jefferson High School today was named the 2016 winner of the Golden Apple Foundation Investing in Excellence: Assistant Principal Development Program...READ MORE


YMCA Announces New Branch With Puri Family Donation

The YMCA of Rock River Valley is branching out to serve southeast Rockford and the Cherry Valley region.  The YMCA of Rock River Valley is branching out to serve southeast Rockford and the Cherry Valley region. We are excited to announce the donation of our new facility from Mr. Sunil Puri and his partner Dan Arnold...READ MORE


Rockford Lutheran School breaks ground on new media center

ROCKFORD — Rockford Lutheran School's new media center will be a comfortable, engaging 4,384-square-foot space designed to inspire collaborative and innovative learning for the next 50 years...READ MORE


Rockford businessman Sunil Puri presents the Golden Apple Outstanding Principal Award to Roosevelt's Heidi Houy

Rockford businessman Sunil Puri presents the Golden Apple Outstanding Principal Award to Roosevelt's Heidi Houy...READ MORE


New domestic violence shelter coming to east Rockford 

Dozens of dignitaries and supporters gathered on Wednesday at 220 Easton Parkway near Rockford University for a groundbreaking. The location is central to where many of those who seek help from the domestic violence and addiction treatment program live, said Sunil Puri of First Midwest Group, which donated the land...READ MORE


Welcome to the Puri School of Business at Rockford University founded by alum Sunil Puri 

ROCKFORD — About 250 people, including educators and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, celebrated at a reception Friday for the grand opening of Puri Business School at Rockford University...READ MORE


Call Center could bring 500, or more, jobs to old K's Merchandise site in Rockford 

ROCKFORD — Plans are afoot to open a call center in the old K’s Merchandise building on Mulford Road near East State Street... READ MORE



Sunil Puri: Developer 'with huge good heart' shapes Rockford's identity

Real estate powerhouse Sunil Puri, perhaps more than anyone else in the past 20 years, has reshaped the region’s physical and economic identity... READ MORE


First Rockford Group, Inc. President Sunil Puri to be honored by Rockford University

ROCKFORD – Rockford University honors one of its own Friday, April 25th when it awards honorary membership to Sigma Beta Delta to Sunil Puri...

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First Rockford Group, Inc. Sponsors RPS205 ACT Prep Course

ROCKFORD – First Rockford Group, Inc., an Illinois-based real estate development corporation, will again sponsor...


Local philanthropist and alumnus Sunil Puri gifts $1million in land to College

Rockford, Ill., – First Midwest Group Founder and President Sunil Puri,’82, presented the deed to just over five acres of commercial...


Fundraising Efforts Begin for Rock River Fishing Pier Project
ROCKFORD (RPD) -- The Rockford Park District and Rockford Park District Foundation kicked off fundraising efforts today for the David F. Johnson Accessible Fishing Pier Project. A news conference was held at the future site of the permanent accessible fishing pier located along the Rock River, just south of the Auburn Street bridge. The accessible pier would be accessed via the Rock River Recreation Path and wheelchair parking is nearby.

About the Project

The ability to fish requires accessibility, but for those with physical disabilities, those opportunities are very limited. At this point, even the largest body of water in the Rockford area, the Rock River, has no wheelchair accessible features. “Handrails and other accessible features are not typical along the shorelines of local rivers, lakes, and ponds. This accessible pier would mean anglers with disabilities would have a safe spot to take part in the sport they love,” said Events and Recreation Projects Manager John Beck.

Members of the Rockford chapter of AMBUCS (a service club promoting independent lifestyles for people with disabilities) and local fishing clubs approached the Rockford Park District to offer to help raise funds for pier construction. The cost for this project is approximately $110,000. If at least $50,000 is raised, the CBW Foundation will provide a challenge gift of $25,000.

Fundraising Efforts

The Rockford Park District Foundation is helping to raise money to build the accessible fishing pier. The pier will be named after David F. Johnson, an avid fisherman, Rockford alderman, and local disability advocate. “Dave was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at the age of 14. Despite his health, his true passion was fishing, and he loved teaching others how to fish. This project honors his many years as a strong advocate for accessibility to buildings, for public transportation, and sidewalk curb cuts,” stated Valerie Johnson, Dave’s wife.

For 30 years, Dave and world class fisherman Babe Winkelman were friends and fishing buddies.

To help raise money for the accessible fishing pier, Winkelman and other area friends, like Founder and President of First Rockford Group Sunil Puri, are hosting a fundraiser called “Babe Winkelman’s Tribute to Professor Bass, Davey Johnson” on June 14, 2012. The fundraiser will take place at Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 200 S. Bell School Road, Rockford, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a VIP reception beginning at 5 p.m. for anyone who contributes $100 or more. Tickets are $30 each, and $300 for a table of 8.

Purchase tickets or make a donation at the following Blackhawk Bank locations:

-2475 N. Perryville Road, Rockford
-3101 11th Street, Rockford
-9609 Forest Hills Road, Machesney Park
-5206 Elevator Road, Roscoe
-2141 N. State Street, Belvidere

Tickets can also be purchased at:

-Rockford Park District Foundation, 401 S. Main Street, Rockford
-Lynch Family Chiropractic, 3806 E. State Street, Rockford

Make checks payable to: DFJ Accessible Fishing Pier Fund. The fundraising event includes a fish fry and special silent auction with 30+ items from Dave’s fishing/outdoor art and object collection. All money raised goes to the David F. Johnson Accessible Fishing Pier.

For more information about Babe Winkelman’s Tribute to “Professor Bass, Davey Johnson,” contact event organizer Valerie Johnson at 815-262-9717 or

For additional information or questions about how to make a donation to the accessible fishing pier, contact Lisa Alexander, Rockford Park District Foundation Donor Relations Coordinator, 815-987-1632, or e-mail:



"One-On-One" with Sunil Puri
Rockford developer Sunil Puri doesn't mince words about the state or our local economy.

"We have not done a good job of encouraging home grown businesses. I'm not talking about developers. I'm talking about people who actually produce widgets. I respect and celebrate people who create those core jobs."

There are more than 12-hundred local employers with more than 25 employees. Puri says that's where our attention needs to be focused.

"How about going to them and if each one of them created a job that would be 12-hundred new jobs. Why is it so wonderful and celebrated when we bring new people to town when we can not focus on our home grown? I don't know who the next Mr. Sundstrand is but they're here and we need to encourage them."

I asked him, "So we need to appreciate our own and what we have?"

He said, "Absolutely and I think it is so much easier to go to those 12-hundred employers and create 12 hundred jobs between them than go out there and try to get 12 hundred new jobs. We need to focus on people who have roots here."

Puri says he shares the frustrations that concern many local residents.

"What is there to celebrate about a community with a 12.8% unemployment, it's just come down to ... in the top 5 in real estate taxes in the nation, number 9 in crime in the nation."

I asked, "You have the means to live anywhere in the world and given those statistics you just cited, what keeps you here?"

He said, "You know again, these are statistics. I don't feel it. Do I feel I'm the 9th worst crime in the nation? I don't. This is a wonderful place to live. I raised my kids here, I chose to come here. I have no plans on leaving."

With his own children in Rockford public schools, Puri says he's seen district 205 come a long way. He believes now is the time to replace outdated buildings.

"We know we have people unemployed in the trades, we will get better prices, we know interest rates are never going to be lower than where they are ... this is the time to re-invest."

Puri says good paying jobs are the key to Rockford's future.

"All of this is only possible if we have those core jobs..the school, the teacher can not be the parent. That is only there if the parent at home is at peace and that comes from being able to have a job to be able to support your family with dignity and pride."


Brookview toasts its Puri Family Outstanding Principal winner

ROCKFORD — Students at Brookview Elementary School erupted with cheers as Principal LuAnn Widergren walked in the school gymnasium...


Sunil Puri: Rockford College never ever gave up on me

ROCKFORD — Rockford businessman and philanthropist Sunil Puri credits Rockford College with not only giving him an accounting degr...

First Rockford Group, Inc. Sponsors RPS205 ACT Prep Course

ROCKFORD – First Rockford Group, Inc., an Illinois-based real estate development corporation, will again sponsor the Rockford Public Schools’ successful ACT prep courses. The 8-week weekend courses span January through March and allow students to gain better understanding and practice for the ACT exam, one of the major indicators of the likelihood of college acceptance. 

 The ACT prep courses are open to all Rockford Public School high school juniors who pay a $20.00 registration fee that is refunded after completion of the prep course. Students must attend 50% of the Saturday prep courses at Guilford High School.

 “Our first year results were very promising with students increasing their ACT scores by an average of 3.6 points, compared to the practice test they took in the spring of their sophomore year,” said Dave Carson, Rockford Public School’s Executive Director of Career & College Readiness. “Many of our students aren’t able to afford or gain access to other types of ACT prep materials. This voluntary program provides a chance for all juniors to work hard and improve their chance of scoring well and attaining scholarships and entry to colleges.”

 This Prep Course has a proven record of a 2 point score improvement.  Those 2 points translate into $9,600 in additional grant monies and financial aid for each student.

 First Rockford Group’s sponsorship of the program totals approximately $40,000. They will be providing ACT prep books for 400 high school students, lunch from Famous Dave’s BBQ Restaurant for all 8 of the Saturday prep classes, cash prizes for top-achieving students, an evening at Volcano Falls for the top achieving school and trophies for the RPS high schools with the greatest course enrollment and the greatest improvements in test scores.

 “All three of my kids attend Rockford Public Schools and one is a senior at Auburn High School,” said First Rockford Group’s founder and president, Sunil Puri. “I know it takes hard work to do well, and I want to help provide that advantage for all of our high school students. When they work hard, score well and move on to colleges and successful careers, it’s good for our entire community.”

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Proud Supporter of:

Boy Scouts of America
Coronado Theater
Epilepsy Foundation
Global Spiritual Organization Inc.
Golden Apple of Rockford
Goodwill Industries
Innovation Illinois
Illinois Parks and Recreation Association
Keeling Puri Peace Plaza
Laurent House
Mercy Rockford
Nicholas Conservatory
OSF St. Anthony Foundation
OSF St. Anthony Medical Center
Perryville Path
Puri School of Business
Puri Family Center for Research and Engagement
Remedies Renewing Lives
Rock Cut State Park
Rock River Pantry
Rockford Area Economic Development Council
Rockford Christian Schools
Rockford First Church
Rockford Lutheran School
Rockford Memorial Development Foundation
Rockford Park District
Rockford Park District Foundation
Rockford Public Schools
Rockford Public School District ACT Program
Rockford University
Rosecrance Foundation
Sportscore I and II
Starlight Theatre
Swedish American Foundation
United Way
Womanspace Garden
YMCA of Rockford
YWCA of Rockford