History

Then and Now

In 1988, local citizens came together to establish the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation. Concerned about cuts to state and local education budgets, they wanted to provide a way for individuals and businesses to invest in our local public schools.

These citizens believed that private funds would provide critical assistance when budgets were tight and public funds must be spent conservatively. Those extra dollars would allow teachers to think imaginatively and try new ideas at a time when school administrations could not afford to take many risks. Moreover, the opportunity for teachers and administrators to witness and evaluate small-scale demonstrations or pilot programs leads to greater effectiveness in the use of public funds.

The Foundation made an initial investment of just over $120K to establish a General Endowment and Restricted Investment Fund. Since then, those assets have grown and are currently valued at over $1.5 million. CU Schools Foundation manages 19 Restricted Investment Funds and has disbursed more than $1,740,000. Over the years, more than 160 community members have served on our Board of Directors.

“I sometimes view CUSF as my fourth child, which caused a lot of sleepless nights in the early days. Today I feel like a proud mother of a very successful offspring.”

Anna Merritt
One of the founders and chair
of the first CUSF Board of Directors

Timeline

1987:

  • The News-Gazette announced the formation of the Champaign Urbana Community Schools Foundation for Educational Excellence

1988:

  • Incorporated as an Illinois non-profit corporation

1990:

  • First classroom grants awarded to school districts

1994:

  • Established endowments for classroom grants with donations from Junior League of Champaign Urbana and Carle Foundation

1999:

  • Finished decade with over $200K in grants to educators

2002:

  • Name changed to Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation (CUSF)

2004:

  • Established the Perrino Fund, first endowed scholarship

2008:

  • 20th Anniversary celebrated with the announcement of SPLASH grants; $100K disbursed in one hour

2009:

  • Received first planned gift for the Judge Fred Green Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Became a United Way affiliate with our Homeless Student Fund: SOS

2010:

  • Launched The I.D.E.A. Store

2015:

  • Over $1 MILLION disbursed in classroom grants
  • Established cross-district Collaborative Grant Program

2017:

  • Received $313K from the Chester and Nadine Houston Trust and $100K from the estate of Vincent O Greene
  • Annual income surpassed $1 MILLION
  • Added four new endowments bringing the total number of restricted funds to 19
  • Total disbursements exceeded $1.7 MILLION

Urbana School District #116 News

  • General Student Safety Information
    by jgeigner on November 3, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Due to the recent “stranger danger” incident at Urbana Middle School this week, we feel it is important to remind students, families, educators, and the community about general safety issues.  Safety of our students is very important, and we appreciate the support of Urbana Police related to safety of our students traveling to and from […]

Champaign Unit 4 Schools News