Business Edge – May 2021

*upcoming events

June 2, 10:00 a.m.

Riverbend Community Updates – Legislative Updates

June 9, 12:30 p.m.

Let’s Do (Virtual) Lunch

June 10, 6:00 p.m.

RBGA Night at the Ballpark (Alton River Dragons)

June 15, 10:00 a.m.

LET’S TALK radio show with WBGZ

June 17, 1:00 p.m.

Community Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion

June 24, 10:00 a.m.

Non-Profit Roundtable

July 7, 10:00 a.m.

Riverbend Community Updates – Mayor Updates

July 14, 10:00 a.m.

Coffee Connections

July 15, 1:00 p.m.

Community Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion

July 20, 10:00 a.m.

LET’S TALK radio show with WBGZ

July 22, 10:00 a.m.

Non-Profit Roundtable

July 11, 12:30 p.m.

Let’s Do (Virtual) Lunch

August 27, 9:00 a.m. shotgun start

Riverbend Golf Classic

October 8, time TBD

LeadHERship Seminar

Welcome our new members

Carrie Carpunky Photography
Carrie Carpunky Owner
5411 Godfrey Rd, Ste F
Godfrey IL 62035
(618) 614-3249

Carrie Carpunky Photography is an award-winning maternity, newborn & family photographer newly located in Godfrey. With 11 years in business, and countless sessions, Carrie has moved her way up as one of the areas premiere newborn photographers and has started mentoring photographers from all over the country.


S.M. Wilson & Co.

Gregory Williams Director of Client Development
222 1st Avenue, Ste A
Edwardsville IL 62025
(618) 973-0068

S.M. Wilson is a full-service construction management, design/build, and general contracting firm with offices in Edwardsville, IL, St. Louis, and Cape Girardeau, MO. Founded in 1921 in Granite City, IL, and celebrating its 100th year of serving the community, S. M. Wilson is dedicated to going above and beyond expectations for their clients by putting people first. The 100% employee-owned company is one of the leading construction management firms in the Midwest. For more information, visit

Young Adults Committee Awards Scholarships


The RiverBend Growth Association’s Young Adults Committee (YAC) recently held its year-end ceremony virtually. The committee’s students, mentors, and nine local member non-profit organizations were recognized for all their hard work during the 2020-2021 school year. This year the committee held a VERY successful raffle and was able to raise $10,000.

There are two seniors and two juniors from each of the five area high schools that help make up this committee. This year we had the opportunity to hear presentations virtually from nine local RBGA member organizations.  Those organizations that were represented during the months of December thru April were: Alton Parks & Recreation, American Cancer Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Call for Help, Community Hope Center, Jacoby Arts Center, Kreative Kids, Madison County Child Advocacy Center, and Riverbend Family Ministries.

The YAC students are scored using a point system. Points are received for collecting sponsorship money, ticket sales, article write ups, and communication with their mentors. The students with the most points at the end of the year are awarded a college scholarship. This year there are TEN very deserving students being recognized and awarded for their hard work and dedication to this committee.

The recipients of those scholarships and the amounts awarded are as follows: $3,000 to Ainsley Fortschneider, a 2021 Alton High School graduate, $2,000 to Allie Schrumpf, a junior at Alton High School, and $1,000 to Kristine Lauritzen, a 2021 Marquette Catholic High School graduate. Each of the following students was awarded a $500 scholarship: Abbi Geiger, a 2021 Civic Memorial High School graduate, Kennedy Bickmore, a junior at Civic Memorial High School, Addison Denton, a junior at East Alton-Wood River High School, Jasmine Finley, a 2021 East Alton-Wood River High School graduate, Kamren Mason-El, a junior at Alton High School, Emma Seibert, a 2021 East Alton-Wood River High School graduate, and Reaghan Williams, a junior at East Alton-Wood River High School.

Ainsley Fortschneider says, “I want to thank Stefanie Withers and Trish Holmes for allowing me to be a part of the Riverbend Growth Association YAC this year. I have learned so much from my participation in this group and have made many new connections within the community. I am forever grateful for being awarded a scholarship and highly recommend others to apply for a position on this committee!”

The RiverBend Growth Association would like to thank the mentors and their organizations for their dedication to the students and the committee: Terri Herbstreit with 1st MidAmerica Credit Union, Cindy Smalley with Cope Plastics, Matthew Parrott with Midwest Members Credit Union, John Barnerd with Simmons Hanly Conroy, and Sandy Smith with Busey Bank. They would also like to thank the principals and delegates from each of the five area high schools: Alton High School, Civic Memorial High School, East Alton – Wood River High School, Marquette Catholic High School, and Roxana High School.

Small Business of the Month

Robert Diaz, CFP®, AAMS, Edward Jones 

The RiverBend Growth Association has named Robert J. Diaz, CFP®, AAMS – Edward Jones its Small Business of the Month.

Robert Diaz is a process-driven financial advisor committed to providing timely advice and excellent customer service to his clients. He best serves families and businesses that have a long-term investment philosophy and values a relationship with their advisor to partner as they work towards their financial goals. Robert commented, “In my almost 10 years with Edward Jones, I take comfort and confidence in the path my clients are taking to reach their financial goals .” Robert was born and raised in the Alton area and now lives in Godfrey with his wife, Samantha, and daughter, Ava.

The RiverBend Growth Association congratulates Robert Diaz for being selected as our May 2021 Small Business of the Month!

The RiverBend Growth Association selects a small business to honor each month.  Winners are selected based on a scoring system that awards points for number of years in business, number of employees, overcoming adversity, and community service.

For information on Robert J. Diaz, CFP® contact him at (618) 465-4660 or visit them at 221 Market Street in Alton Illinois, or online at

Do you know a small business worthy of this honor?  Nominate them by using the form on this page –