365 Club

The start of the school year is an exciting time! Teachers prepare with renewed excitement and vision, as students reunite with classmates, eager for new challenges and connections. Creating excellent schools takes leadership, hard work and community support.

This is where YOU can help!

By pledging $1 a day (or more) your donation will support teacher innovation and creativity and help to elevate the excellence in Champaign and Urbana public schools. Invest alongside individuals and businesses who believe in our public schools and want to see teachers and students thriving in a supportive environment.

Join Today!

You can simply download the Pledge Form and return it to CUSF with a check—or make your investment on our Donate page. THANK YOU for supporting a Strong Foundation and a Promising Future!

Download the Pledge Form

How your investment impacts the students!

1st graders in Ms. Erica Cooper-Peyton’s classroom at Dr. Preston Williams Jr. Elementary, Urbana

Animal Investigators

Ms. Cooper-Peyton says, “The CUSF IDEA grant allowed me to partner with the Urbana Park District’s Anita Purves Nature Center to bring live animals and hands-on science learning activities to my first-grade classroom. Many of my students had never seen wild animals up close. They were thrilled to touch snakes, explore with worms, cheer for racing turtles, and watch an owl rotate its head almost all the way around its body. These experiences really helped my students connect to, and with the natural world around them.”

Ms. Cooper-Peyton’s 1st graders said…

“I saw an owl. A real owl! In my classroom!” -AC

“I didn’t know turtles could be so fast! They can actually run, even the ones with only 3 legs.” -RB

“I always thought snakes were slimy and gross. Cornelia was soft and smooth. I liked when she went into Ms. Emily’s pocket!” -JB

Urbana High School and Middle School students under the direction of Joni White UHS Science teacher, and Katrina Reber UMS ELA teacher

Bring Back the Bees!

With the global honeybee decline widely documented, this project has real-world environmental benefits for our local area. White and Reber’s students researched, assembled and installed honey bees hives within walking distance of the school at a private residence this past fall. After transferring the bees into the new hives in May, students will be harvesting honey produced as they learn about sustainable nutrition through bee keeping!

2nd graders in Tiffany Blackmon’s classroom at Barkstall Elementary, Champaign

Genius Hour

Ms. Tiffany Blackmon says, “The challenges the kids take part in are based on books that the class reads. The students used the LEGOs to create something they learned about in the books. They’ve gotten more creative as they begin to strategize and plan what they want to create. You really see engineering minds emerge—and I love to see them cooperating!”

Making Useful Things that Work!

Mr. Kyle Thomas says, “With the IDEA grant we were able to purchase a 3-in-1 sheet metal tool to teach sheet metal fabrication fundamentals to the Introduction to Industrial Technology class at Urbana High School. After building a prototype out of aluminum, the students built their own phone charger cases using sheet metal. Next year we plan to add sheet metal fabrication to our welding classes.”

Industrial Technology students at Urbana High School Teacher Kyle Thomas, UHS Industrial Technology Teacher

Why our community
gives to CUSF…

“I support the 365 Club because I am a proud alumnus of the Unit 4 schools. I feel strongly about the quality of education for our children and the future of our community. As an employer in Champaign County, Spherion sees the value of a great education in preparing our local students to enter the workforce.”

-Cindy Somers
Franchise Owner, Spherion Staffing

“We believe that education is crucial to success in life. The work CUSF does in supporting our teachers is essential. In particular, we love the unique projects that provide hands on experiences to the students. The excitement you see in the students when participating in projects such as STEAM Town and discovering Health Careers make it all worthwhile.”

-Kim and Denise Martin
Founding Partners, Martin Hood and Associates

“I taught in our local schools for 25 years, am a former CUSF Board member, and CUSF grant recipient. I spent a lot of my own money on things I wanted my students to have and for which there was no budget. I am thrilled to help other teachers make a dream become a reality by being a member of the 365 Club!”

-Janet Ellis-Nelson
Retired Teacher, Champaign Rotary President

“We have a responsibility to create opportunities for teachers and students to excel. We do this by supporting the work of the CU Schools Foundation. God said children are like arrows in the hand. The possibilities for our children having the tools to lead in the future is a necessity!”

-David A. Northern, Sr.
Chief Executive Officer, Housing Authority of Champaign County

“While not an alum of Champaign-Urbana public schools, I joined the 365 Club because the quality of our public schools is the lifeline of our community. There is a direct correlation between the quality of our teachers, the education students receive and how viable our community will be. The educational opportunities CUSF supports provide unique learning expediencies that will stay with students for a lifetime.”

-Brice Hutchcraft
Vice President of Commercial Banking, First State Bank

“I support the 365 Club because I believe in public education. I feel every child deserves the best educational opportunities possible. The 365 Club provides funds to enhance the strong academic programs that are already in our schools. Good schools make great communities!”

-Patricia McKinney Lewis
Retired School Administrator

“Members of our law firm, Webber and Thies, have been strong supporters of CUSF since the beginning–over 30 years ago. No other local philanthropic organization has the singular focus of helping CU public school teachers bring out the best in their students. We encourage the entire CU community to join us and get behind the 365 Club!”

-John E. Thies
Attorney, Webber & Thies, PC

“As an Urbana Tiger and third generation local business owner, we recognize that it’s important to give back to our local schools and support students who are our future leaders. The growth of a healthy community is dependent upon healthy public schools and we are proud to continue supporting students, teachers, and staff. Giving back ensures the health of our community by building strong public for everyone.”

-Andy Armstrong
Owner, Armstrong Lumber Company

Thank you to our 365 Club members & sponsors!


Breakfast sponsored by

Kim and Denise Martin and Paul and Abby Hobbs