CUSF Mission: We elevate the excellence in Champaign and Urbana
public schools by investing in educators and students.

On October 21, the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation (CUSF) delivered souvenir checks totaling more than $60,000 to 182 teachers in Champaign Unit 4 and Urbana School District #116 Schools. The grant awards, which support 113 new projects benefiting over 10,000 students, are part of CUSF’s ongoing efforts to invest in educators and motivate students for success in our local public schools.

Five hundred K-5 students in Urbana will participate in Drums Alive! a program that provides brain and whole-body activities integrating physical, social, emotional, health with rhythm and movement-based activities. Teachers Bradley Benner of Thomas Paine and Megan Tipton from Yankee Ridge and Thomas Paine collaborated to submit the grant. “We are excited to merge rhythms and physical activity providing opportunities for students to use their brains and bodies to express their emotions,” Tipton says.

Funds for other proposals will be used to purchase a fish tank with live jellyfish for Centennial biology students to learn about animal life cycles by studying, observing and caring for the jelly fish. Similarly in Urbana, K-5 students at Dr. Williams elementary will research monarch butterflies, construct a permanent bed and enclosed pavilion as they observe the monarchs’ life cycles and migration. At Franklin middle school 8th graders will be reading new books with young protagonists who come from different backgrounds and experience unique challenges. The project hopes to engage students and spark thoughtful conversations about empathy and respect for others. New 6th graders at International Prep Academy will have a chance to participate in sculpting and printmaking with supplies provided by CUSF. At Urbana high school 76 high school music students will participate in an in-depth study of composer Aaron Copeland. Funds will be used to purchase music and invite guest artists to support students as they study, learn and perform the works of Copeland. A full list of the 2021-22 funded projects can be found at

CUSF expects to award close to $150,000 in teacher grants and student scholarships during the 2021-22 school year. The mission of the Foundation is to invest in educators and students by supporting creativity, innovation and excellence in Champaign and Urbana public schools. For more information, or to donate and support these grants, contact Executive Director Kelly Hill, or 217-398-2873.