Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation

Strong Foundation. Promising Future

aka CUSF   |   Champaign, IL   |


CUSF Mission: We invest in educators and students by supporting creativity, innovation and excellence in Champaign and Urbana public schools. CUSF Vision: We partner with Champaign and Urbana public schools to provide culturally responsive opportunities and enriching experiences inspiring educators and motivating students for success.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Kelly Hill

Main address

PO Box 1166

Champaign, IL 61824 USA

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Formerly known as

Champaign Urbana Community Schools Foundation for Educational Excellence



NTEE code info

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (B12)

Citizen Participation (W24)

Public Foundations (T30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our foundation is working toward empowering teachers and students by recognizing their excellence and investing in their development.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Idea Grants

Teacher grants awarded from $250 up to $5,000 per year on a competitive basis.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

CUSF provides emergency relief to our homeless public school children on an as needed basis. District liaisons connect homeless youth with Regional Office of Education to access clothing and school supplies, and assist in making connections to local social service agencies.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

CUSF has several scholarships for music lessons, band camps, graduating seniors and teacher professional development.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work


2009 Outstanding Foundation Award 2009

Association of Fundraising Professionals

Those Who Excel Award 2006

Illinois State Board of Education

Affiliations & memberships

Champaign County Community Coalition 2020

Champaign County Chamber of Commerce 2021

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our goals are to elevate the excellence in Champaign and Urbana public schools by investing in educators and students. Our goals and initiatives include support for six basic areas of skill development and interest:

1) Fine or performing arts
2) Science,technology, engineering,art and math or STEAM
3) Health and wellness
4) Early literacy (pre-school through 3rd grade)
5) Languages (ESL and foreign)
6) Career and technical education for students

Our strategies include;

Awareness raising opportunities:

1) 365 Club Breakfast where our teaches and students share the impact of our grant programs with our 365 Club Members and interested community members. Former Board Chairs are invited to attend and be recognized.
2) Distinguished Alumni Gala where we recognized outstanding alumni from our three high schools who have made an impact in their communities beyond high school.
3) Prize patrol activities where our board members go out to our schools and award large grant checks to our grant recipients.
4) Open House at Fowler Farm to demonstrate the impact of grant funds on students and teachers--and build more engagement with community partnerships.
4) Busey Youth Run and Mile at the Pines encourage healthy fun run participation for children and families alike. A portion of the proceeds are donated to CUSF.
5) Donor cultivation and outreach at private and public gatherings to raise awareness and deepen connections to the foundations' mission.

Teacher Appreciation:
1) Spring Fling Celebration recognizing teacher work throughout the year with food/beverages and raffles
2) Peer Recognition awards given to an outstanding teacher from each district. These Cupcake Awards are given in conjunction with the Napleton's Teacher of the Year Awards (six $1,000 awards for an elementary, middle and high school teacher from each district).

Student Excellence Awards/Scholarships:
CUSF award 11 different scholarships and over $15,000 in funds annually to our three high school student populations. Scholarships are awarded based on various criteria including on academic, service, athletic and overall excellence.

We are using public speaking, school visits, radio, tv and print interviews, our website, Constant Contact , Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked in to reach a wide range of audiences interested in supporting our mission.

Our budget is balanced with income exceeding expenses.
Our overall projections for income development depend on increasing engagement and the number of 365 Club Members and local donations to our various scholarship and program funds.
100% of our Board is contributing financially
We are supporting Teachers and Students who most community members want to see succeed in building a stronger community and work force.

We doubled our attendance at our 365 Club Breakfast
We doubled our sponsorship dollars at our Gala
Our social media engagement has increased by 500 followers in less than a year
Our annual appeal has generated more support than in the year preceding
A teacher appreciation event has been created
Teacher leadership is being cultivated through our Grant Champions program
Community partnerships are growing and expanding by number and depth

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Teachers in both districts

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    After a modified year with COVID challenges, CUSF returns to our original model of providing teacher grants for innovative and creative curriculum delivery. We expect to be able to distribute slightly over $100,000 for teacher grants in both districts.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback


Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation

Board of directors
as of 12/13/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mrs. Gayle Jeffries

Retired, Urbana School District 116

Term: 2022 - 2023

Jennifer Ivory Tatum

Superintendent, Urbana District 116 Schools

Matthew Kelly

UA Local 149 Plumbers and Pipefitters

Jeff Scott

Stephens Family YMCA

Yavonnda Smith

Retired, Urbana School District 116

Dennis Donaldson

Village of Savoy

Gayle Jeffries

Retired, Urbana District 116

Prue Runkle

Retired, Champaign Unit 4 Schools

Andrea Ruedi

City of Urbana

Daniel Thies

Webber & Thies Law Offices

Elizabeth Angelo

Carle, Senior Vice-President of Nursing

Michelle Gonzales

University of Illinois, Strategic Indicatives in Public Engagement

Pam Lau

Parkland College, Executive Vice-President

Eric Minor

University of Illinois, Chief Marketing Officer

DeShawn Williams

Champaign County, Chief Deputy Treasurer

Shelia Boozer

Superintendent, Champaign Unit 4 Schools

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/5/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/09/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.