Community Partners

Thank you to our 2023-24 Community Partners!

Unit 4 School District

Supporting CUSF programs as we partner with Champaign and Urbana public schools to provide culturally responsive opportunities and enriching experiences that inspire educators and motivate students for success.

Founding Partners


Kim and Denise Martin

The Robeson Family

University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Ambassador Partners

Ameren Il 4c 300
GHR Engineers
Smith / Burgett Architects

Steve &

Advocate Partners

Abby &

Bruno Law Offices Logo Bg
Champaign County Association Of Realtors
Christie Clinic
Commerce Bank
O'Shea Builders
Parkland College
Robbins Schwartz
Webber-Thies Logo
Yg Financial Logo

Friends of CUSF

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Broeren Russo Builders
Chapman Cutler
Fox Development
Fehr Graham Bl
Housing Authority Of Champaign County
Martin Hood Certified Public Accountants
Petry Kuhne Full Rgb 300
U of I Credit Union

Gifts In Kind

Industrial Donut

Illini Studio

Nothing Bundt Cakes

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

“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

“I am happy to support CUSF, because I have experienced the support and generosity of the organization. As an alumnus of Urbana School District 116 and a former teacher in both Urbana and Champaign schools, I fully understand the need for financial and material resources to meet the needs of our diverse learning communities. I am a two-time recipient of the Houston Book Grant and a 2021-2022 Shining Star Teacher Award Recipient, which has enabled me to purchase books and other essential items for student use throughout the year. I am honored to give back to an organization that has given so much to so many educators and still continues to support us in various ways.”

Jeniece D. Mitchell, Ed.D., Executive Director Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center

“Arguably, public schools are the essential secret sauce of American democracy. What no private or parochial school can say is that under their watch, no child will be left behind. Around the globe, that’s not true: there, the truth is that either there are no public schools at all, or that such public schools as do exist are poorly funded and designed to prepare tomorrow’s chauffeurs, clerks, and factory workers. A child with learning disabilities, ADHD, behavioral or other challenges is left to his or her own devices. An essential role of CUSF is to provide additional resources and support…including spreading the truly good news of the achievements of students, faculty, and staff in our C-U public schools… which makes a good thing even better.”

Phil and Cheryl Van Ness, Former CUSF Board member and community advocates

“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, Champaign Market President, First State Bank

“At Commerce Bank, our purpose is to help those around us Focus on What Matters Most. Educating our children in a creative, inclusive, and safe environment is an essential Focus for our community. Our partnership with CUSF helps provide additional resources to our educators, allowing them to positively impact the development of all our students who will drive the next generation of innovation and growth.”

Jeff Troxell, Executive Vice President, Commerce 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 we aim to share the value and opportunity for sustainable careers at living wages, our partnership with CUSF provides support, expertise, and community engagement. We know that this hope helps enhance the quality of education while fostering community pride.”

Matthew Kelly, President of AFL-CIO and Local #149 Plumbers and Pipefitters