RFM is awarded Rebuild Illinois Shovel Ready Sites Grant

February 25, 2021

Today Governor Pritzker and DCEO announced $11m in Rebuild Illinois Shovel Ready Site grants awarded to 11 new development projects across the state. These investments will unlock over $50m in total investment in the state – creating 800+ jobs and unlocking long-term economic growth and community benefit for years to come. Projects include enhancements for transit hubs, community centers, affordable housing, business training centers, and more. For more info: https://wsiltv.com/2021/02/25/gov-pritzker-announces-11-million-in-rebuild-illinois-capital-grants/

Tammy Iskarous, the Exec. Director of RFM stated, “We are so thankful to be selected as a recipient of this grant. We want to thank the Governor and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for believing in the work that RFM continues to accomplish in Madison County. With this grant, RFM will provide more space for each organization, and further opportunities for training and education. RFM will be able to serve and strengthen more individuals, youth, children, and families affected by trauma. RFM will also add additional services and programs to our team of already incredible organizations.”

Investments are part of the Governor’s historic $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital plan – aimed at modernizing infrastructure and bringing new investments to every corner of our state. Learn More: https://bit.ly/3cGMtHv

Mrs. Iskarous continues, “Not only will the expansion help strengthen families and the organizations that are housed here, but this money will also be such an economic boost to the Riverbend area as well as all of Madison County, by putting over 100 people to work at prevailing wages. Again, many thanks to the Governor and the DCEO for the opportunity to provide economic growth and community benefit for years to come.”

“100+ Women Who Care from the 618” Glasses Available

Thank you Patti Lash of Budget Signs, Trophies, and Plaques and Denise Riggar Arendell of 100+ Women Who Care from the 618 for coming together and doing this for RFM. They have engraved these beautiful glasses with the 618 logo.  We are offering them to you for a donation of $10 each.  Because they have donated their time, talents, and resources to this project, 100% of the proceeds will go to RFM.  If you would like to get one of the commemorative glasses please shoot us an email at tammy@riverbendfamilyministies.com or call  (618) 251-9790 

Supplies are limited so act now!

Riverbend Family Ministries would like to congratulate the winners of this year’s Grace Skief Volunteer Memorial Scholarship.

Aubrey Robinson –  EAWR High School
Aubrey is at the top of her class.  She has excelled in academics and sports.  In addition to that, she has been a volunteer for many activities.  She is going to attend Illinois State University to become a nurse –like her dad.  Aubrey is a kind, dedicated person.  She has done a lot of activities with special education students, other students who need to be tutored, and has worked each year with with families who do the Relay for Life at the high school. She has received many honors during high school and as a graduate; however, she will not be receiving financial aid, aside from scholarships and honors she has earned.
Tyler Gilbert – Roxana High School
Tyler has been accepted to Illinois College in Jacksonville.  He comes from a family of 4 and intends to major in Sociology and then continue grad school to become a Social Worker. Tyler comes highly recommended by his Youth and Family Minister from the Vaughn Hill Church of Christ, and the Science Club Sponsor from Roxana High School.  He says that helping others allows him to fill an empty hole where he felt the need for help himself.  He has gone to children’s homes and helped clean and has gone to retirement home to spread happiness and play games. In addition to his local volunteer services, Tyler has gone on mission trips to Arkansas to help others.  His Youth Minister also said Tyler’s work ethic is outstanding and he has been the janitor at the church this past year.  Tyler is a strong “B” student.
Madelyn Kate Ehlers – Civic Memorial High School
Madelyn is going to start her college education at Lewis and Clark Community College and then transfer to a 4 year university to complete her education in the field of Special Education.  Her friend, and teacher, Michele Kirby said Madelyn has always loved being around children whether babysitting, tutoring, working in the church nursery, or volunteering in a special education classroom.  The students “love” her. Madelyn’s world was shattered when she was in sixth grade. Her father, a teacher,was arrested and sentenced to 35 years in prison.  It was a complete shock to the family and to the community.  She felt out of control but realized she could control what she did with her education.  She knew she would need scholarships some day if she wanted to go to college.  She believes many teachers made a difference in her life and that is something she wants to do for others in return. She has been involved in athletics, as well as school organizations, honors programs, and academic volunteer opportunities.
We are so proud of all of our scholarship winners and look forward to the great things they have in store for their future!!

RFM Receives Award from Riverbend Growth Association

Wood River, IL – The RiverBend Growth Association’s (RBGA) Young Adults Committee awarded Riverbend Family Ministries with $3,300.


“The students selected Riverbend Family Ministries because they knew the money would go to help those most in need in our community,” said Alex St. Peters, RBGA’s Young Adults Committee Co-Chair.  “The students recognized the important work that RFM does on a daily basis, and they wanted to help out the best way they could.”


The Young Adults Committee (YAC) consists of representatives from RBGA member schools and mentors from the RBGA membership. This committee focuses on the importance of guiding our young adults to give back to their community through outreach within the nonprofit organizations in the RBGA membership.


“We were so fortunate to be selected by this group of incredible young adults,” said Tammy Iskarous, Riverbend Family’s Executive Director.  “Their dedication and passion for community will change the trajectory of generations to come. We are blessed to have them as partners in assisting our families in crisis.”


Iskarous said they’re so thankful to the Growth Association for putting this group together and walking alongside them as they navigate their last two formative years of high school.  During their service project back in February, they helped us move some things from our current building into our new facility across the street.


“After we had finished, we started talking about all the services in our building, one of the RBGA youth members asked: “If you were to win the grant what would you do with the money?”  Without hesitation, I told the group 100% would be spent on housing, utilities, and food for our families in crisis,” said Iskarous.


“Little did we know that a week later our world would be turned upside down due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Iskarous. “How timely this grant is right now as we navigate to help so many families in our area with these needs.”

Support RFM during Giving Tuesday!

#GivingTuesday the groundbreaking global generosity movement, announced #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of
giving and unity, set to take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented
need caused by COVID-19. The day is designed to drive an influx of generosity, citizen engagement,
business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world.

You can use this global opportunity to bless your neighbors here in the Riverbend area through your financial gifts.

  • $26 will buy a train ticket to send someone to detox and rehab
  • $31.60 will empower one youth to make safer choices each week
  • $50 will buy a bus pass for someone needing to provide for their family
  • $65 will purchase a hotel voucher for a family in crisis
  • $100 will provide safe housing for one week
  • $120 with underwrite one month of Christian counseling
  • $150 will help keep the lights on
  • $200 will help keep a family housed
  • $316 will help a 12-17 successfully complete the Youth program
  • $450 will pay deposit for family in crisis
  • $1200 will provide services for one child to feel safe
  • $1500 will move someone from homelessness to housing

RFM’s Response to COVID 19

I would like to take this time to just simply say thank you for the support you have given RFM and the organizations it holds. We really do appreciate the investment you have made in the lives of our families… Especially right now.

Right now we all find ourselves in a time of uncertainty and a new normal. Let me tell you some of the things we have done as we have navigated to best serve our families in crisis and be a light to this community.

*What’s happening for us right now.
Although we may not actually be in the building, every single organization under the roof of RFM has found creative and safe ways to still provide services for our families in Madison County that are in crisis.
*How those we serve are being impacted.
As you can imagine, many of our families are concerned with how they will come out on the other side of this pandemic. Will they have a job, will they be able to pay their bills, will their child/youth/families be able to still receive the tools to feel safer and healthier? and so on and so on… None of us can answer most of those questions because none of us have never been through any of this before… We don’t have the answers… But this is what we do know at RFM

  • *What we’re focused on in the short-term.
    -we are checking phones everyday and triaging immediate needs of food,shelter, and utilites
    -Therapists are seeing the kiddos through telehealth and actually connecting in ways that feel safe in a scary uncertain time.
    -our youth and recovery groups are checking in with their groups to do sessions and make sure they are doing well.
    -our advovates are still connecting with kiddo in fostercare
    -food is being delivered to those in need
    -some of our most vulnerable homeless are being found temporary shelter
    -recovery is being found for those in need.

It’s because of you that we can continue to operate. So today I just wanted to say thank you. Know that when the world seems to be shut down, your investment is still making an impact.

Here at RFM there is hope… There is healing… and there is a community coming together that is strong and will get through this. Thank you for being that community.

Be blessed knowing you are such a blessing to others today

Tammy Iskarous
Riverbend Family Ministries
Exec. Director

Growing Hope Together Campaign

RFM opened its doors in August of 2007. Since that day we have worked diligently to provide a place of hope and healing for residence in the Riverbend Community. Those strong roots have sprouted into greater opportunities to serve our neighbors. We invite YOU to be part of this growing movement of HOPE. For a dozen years, Riverbend Family Ministries has served the community from its location in downtown Wood River. They have grown to the point that more space is needed, and plans are now underway to move to a larger location across the street at 144 E. Ferguson Avenue.

RFM founder and Executive Director Tammy Iskarous owned a business, TR’s Café, in that same building before launching the ministry. She tells The Big Z this will enable them to expand their ability to serve.

*More space for each organization to provide services
*Opportunity for additional training and education
*More individuals and families served and strengthened
*The ability to add additional services and organizations to our team

Work on the new building is expected to begin soon. A fundraising campaign is now underway. The goal is to raise $550,000.
You can find out how to give at http://riverbendfamilyministries.com/

3rd Annual Celebration Dinner

This year’s dinner will recognize twelve years of providing service to Madison County, highlighting achievements, and celebrating accomplishments made because of those who have supported Riverbend Family Ministries (RFM). Key stakeholders from RFM and the community will provide remarks, followed by inspirational words and testimony from the founder and Executive Director, Tammy Iskarous.

“We’ve watched lives change and generations of families be put on a new path of life, all under our roof,” said Iskarous. “We know when our families are safer, they become healthier and our communities become stronger.”

Riverbend Family Ministries has been a staple to Madison County for twelve years. Providing programs like Refuge that provide services to children (0-11 years-old), helping prevent childhood exposure to violence and abuse. One of their newer programs, Amare, that offers services and programs aimed at supporting and educating individuals, families, and communities affected by drug and alcohol addiction. Another one housed at RFM, the Youth Development program geared towards youth, (12-17 years old) that teach skills to empower youth to make safer choices, avoid abusive behaviors, learn nonviolent alternatives and share what they’ve learned with their peers.

Rated one of the top five nonprofits in Madison County, Riverbend Family Ministries has helped change families and lives that may not have had an opportunity if these services and programs were not made available.

“We understand that we cannot do this alone,” said Iskarous. “It takes staff, volunteers, other agencies, the judicial system, our community leaders and a facility to change the lives of those who find the courage to seek our assistance.”

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m. Attendance is free to the public. RSVP by visiting www.rfmcelebrationdinner.eventbrite.com.