General FAQ

General FAQs

What is the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation?

CUSF is an independent, non-profit, community-supported foundation whose purpose is to enhance the quality of education in Champaign Unit 4 School District and Urbana School District #116. Thanks to the generosity of our donors over the past 29 years, CUSF has awarded $1.6 million in grants and directed gifts.

What is the CUSF Mission and Vision?

The mission of the CU Schools Foundation is to build a stronger community by developing and supporting innovative programs to make all CU public school students college/career ready.

The vision for the CU Schools Foundation is to be the leading organization that supports and invests in Champaign-Urbana public schools to make all students college/career ready and responsible citizens.

Tell me about CUSF’s grant programs for teachers.

CUSF created the I.D.E.A. Grant program in 2011. We took the best parts from our Master Grant and Splash Grant programs and rolled them into a new program to address the changing needs of students and teachers.  Grant awards in three categories-Compact (up to $250), Competitive (up to $500) and Collaborative (up to $5,000) are made once a year and are given as reimbursements.

We’ve recently added two new grant categories:  The Gift of Music and Career Awareness.

Why does CUSF run The I.D.E.A. Store?

The store has a three-fold purpose. It provides our community with a place to take things other than the landfill while giving people access to thousands of creative reuse items. It is a vehicle to educate about the value of reuse and its impact on our world. It generates income for CUSF and supports teachers.

Why don’t our tax dollars pay for what the teachers request?

Illinois is cutting its education budget, while the demands in our classrooms are growing. Schools are challenged to keep up with creative trends, new technology, and cutting-edge pedagogy. Community support is vital, and CUSF provides a way for individuals and businesses to help our classrooms stay innovative.

How many funds do you manage?

CUSF has many restricted funds that support our students and our schools.  Restricted funds supporting teacher grants include:  the Carle Foundation Fund for Educational Excellence, the Junior League of Champaign Urbana Fund for Educational Excellence, the Champaign Rotary Fund for Educational Excellence,  the Hester Suggs Endowment fund, supporting Champaign school programs that expand the Arts and Humanities for African-American children; and the District 116 STEM Fund, supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Restricted funds supporting scholarships include:  the Dan Perrino Urbana Bands Fund, supporting Urbana MS and HS Band Scholarships; the Keegan Bannon Memorial Fund for a Central HS college scholarship; the Michael Hartter Scholarship for a graduating senior at Central HS; the Judge Fred Green Memorial Scholarship Fund, for an Urbana HS college scholarship; Greg Chew Theatre Scholarship Fund, for an Urbana HS college scholarship; Urbana Music Education Fund, for private music lessons for UMS or UHS students; and the Orange Krush Award, recognizing graduating CUScholars.

Additional funds include the Amberg Fund, supporting an awarded Urbana teacher; the Centennial Athletic Endowment Fund, supporting physical education equipment at Centennial HS; and the Jeffrey Kaufman Memorial Fund, to develop and maintain the “Jeff Kaufman Fields” at Yankee Ridge Elementary.  CUSF also manages the F. Lawrence Memorial Fund for UHS scholarships.

For more information about our non-profit organization, check our Guidestar listing here

How will my CUSF donation be used?

Your donation to the CUSF Annual Fund will support our grants to teachers and CUSF operations. Our annual unrestricted endowment distribution, school district contributions, fees and interest also pay for CUSF operations. You may donate to the CUSF endowment or to specific restricted funds to support teacher grants, scholarships and teacher awards. If you seek to support the schools with a directed gift and it supports the mission of the organization, it will be used for that restriction.

 Where can I get more information about CUSF?

Go to: to learn more about CUSF and how you can build futures through education!