CUSF Mission: We invest in educators and students by supporting creativity, innovation, and excellence in Champaign and Urban public schools.

On October 18 and 19, the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation (CUSF) Board of Directors delivered souvenir checks totaling more than $110,000 in Champaign Unit 4 and Urbana School District #116 schools. A record 285 teachers applied for CUSF grants this fall. The grant awards, supporting 153 new projects are part of CUSF’s ongoing efforts to invest in educators and motivate students for success in our local public schools. Every first-year teacher, across both districts (85 total), received a $100 grant from CUSF for use in setting up their new classrooms.

International Prep Academy (IPA) middle school science students will learn STEAM principles through an innovative robotics grant that equips students to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) from a kit comprised of low-cost, easily accessible parts. IPA science teacher Geoff Freymuth emphasizes that “students learn best by doing, and this program will expose our middle school students to engineering principles, problem solving, teamwork, tool safety, & design challenges.”

Four Urbana Elementary schools will participate in clinically led sand therapy to support student mental health, social emotional learning, and maintaining behaviors that improve learning. This is the first time CUSF has funded this type of intervention in either school district.

Sixty-four fifth-graders from Kenwood will travel to Chicago to explore exhibits at the Field Museum and see a production of The Lion King. Prior to their visit, students will participate in lessons featuring the basic components of musical theatre, different roles in a musical production, characteristics of African music, and analysis of selected music from The Lion King. Kenwood music teacher Emily Kuchenbrod is grateful to the donors who make these “extraordinary experiences possible for our students.”

Finally, during Black History Month, Dr. Williams elementary 4th grade students will attend a Krannert Youth Series performance of “Jabari Dreams of Freedom”. Teacher Paul Myers expects “the play, question & answer session and associated classroom experiences before and following the trip will promote student engagement with African American history and culture.”

CUSF expects to award close to $165,000 in teacher grants and student scholarships during the 2022-23 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.

2022-23 Photo gallery