Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This holiday was established to commemorate the life and work of the great civil rights leader and the hard work and sacrifices made by Reverend King and many others. It is an important reminder that the gains and progress we have made in society come through a lot of hard work, perseverance and sacrifice.

Martin Luther King Day, or MLK Day as it is also known, has grown to be considered to be “a day on” or a day of service. A day of service is a great concept, but sometimes a difficult thing to pull off, given busy professional and family lives. For many of us, we feel like we should be doing more to support our communities and for the people and causes we believe in.

The great thing is this year is leap year, which means we have an extra day. At Greater Freeport Partnership, we are proposing that businesses, groups and individuals plan on doing at least one act of kindness or service on Saturday, February 29th, or what we are calling Leap of Kindness Day. We will be rolling out hashtags and other ways you can share what you end up doing. Four years ago, this concept was rolled out in a couple of communities in Florida, and companies and groups delivered treats to first responders, picked up trash, helped elderly residents with cleanup around their homes and many other things. I look forward to all of the creative and wonderful ways that Stephenson County businesses and residents will come up with for Leap of Kindness Day! Watch this space and our social media for more details and ideas for this special day!

A couple of other things:

  • Please try to make it to the King Center at 5pm this afternoon for a special Martin Luther King Day celebration. Details are elsewhere in this newsletter.
  • Effective January 1, 2020, employers are allowed a tax credit from the State of Illinois for qualified educational expenses associated with qualifying apprentices. Employers may receive a credit of up to $3,500 per apprentice against the taxes imposed by subsections (a) and (b) of Section 201 of the Illinois Income Tax Act, and an additional credit of up to $1,500 for each apprentice if (1) the apprentice resides in an underserved area or (2) the employer’s principal place of business is located in an underserved area. More information can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.