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Campus News / News

New scholarship endowment pledges $5 million in support of area students

12/17/2015 11:48 am

Contact Rita Elliott, Director of Communications, 815-226-3374
RubinChallenge_Dec172015-300x200Rockford, Ill.,— In a major announcement today, the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois announced matching endowments to Highland Community College and Rockford University. The matching endowments will create $5,000,000 in endowed funds for scholarships. The endowed scholarship funds will be awarded to students who attend HCC or RU, are from Northern Illinois, and can demonstrate financial need.

The matching endowments are named the Rubin Education Challenge, after Dr. Louis and Violet Rubin whose gifts to CFNIL make the matching endowments possible. The Rubin’s legacy lives on in name and spirit. CFNIL will match every dollar contributed by the HCC and RU toward the creation of the endowed scholarship funds.

The Rubin Education Challenge is part of Education Works, a grantmaking strategy recently adopted by CFNIL’s Board of Trustees to support the region’s education-to-employment pipeline, by funding after-school programs, career awareness initiatives, and scholarship endowments for the region’s post-secondary educational institutions. (See the Education Works report, which is enclosed in this packet.)

CFNIL President Jon Bates: “The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois is excited to find willing partners in Highland Community College and Rockford University to build permanent scholarship endowments. The scholarships will create more opportunities for students with financial need, produce more college graduates, and strengthen the workforce in our region. The scholarships will also strengthen two of our great post-secondary institutions by providing them with a perpetual revenue stream.”


The purpose of the Highland Community College participation in the Rubin Education Challenge will be to provide opportunities for students with some degree of need to enroll in and complete degree and certificate programs. Pathways which would be available to scholarship recipients include obtaining transfer degrees and opportunities for students to transfer seamlessly to four-year institutions; obtaining degrees and/or certificates which would allow them to upgrade their employment and earnings potential; and continuing education opportunities for training and professional advancement for current professional through Highland’s Business Institution and Lifelong Learning programs.

Highland Community College President Tim Hood: “We are very encouraged by the new scholarship opportunities that will emerge through partnership with the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. The Rubin Education Challenge will provide up to $1 million in matching scholarship funds for Highland students. The challenge is to raise funding for the new scholarship throughout our district, and all that we raise, up to at least $1 million, will be doubled by the match.”


Rockford University is pleased to partner with the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois through its participation in the Rubin Education Challenge. Committing an additional $5 million combined in scholarship endowments for students will, without doubt, bolster the educational foundation and reputation of our region.

Benefit to the University and to its students will be realized. Rockford University awards more than $9 million in institutional aid, scholarships and grants each year. $2 million is awarded directly to students from the region. These funds are part of the University’s budgetary commitment. The Rubin Education funds provide additional flexibility within our existing financial aid commitments, further enhancing our ability to enrich academic and co-curricular programs for all students.

Rockford University works individually with each student to determine the most efficient financial package, trying to ensure at all costs, the least out-of-pocket expenditures as possible. By providing additional outright scholarships, the amount of funds acquired through federal and private loans will be reduced. An increasingly robust scholarship base benefits students, current and future, while simultaneously elevating the profile of the institution and our community.

Rockford University President Robert L. Head, Ph.D.: “Providing for, and increasing access to, a quality education is of paramount importance to Rockford University. No student who desires to continue their education, should be discouraged because of financial stresses. The Rubin Education Challenge matching funds open additional avenues for us to better serve our students and reaffirms our commitment to move students from dreams imagined to dreams achieved.”


The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois has been a regional leader in philanthropy since 1953. CFNIL serves as a catalyst for giving in order to attract, grow, and preserve an endowment for the needs of Northern Illinois. Since 2000, CFNIL has granted more than $46 million for charitable purposes. CFNIL launched Education Works in fall 2015 and has already committed more than $3M to projects and programs for after-school programs, career awareness initiatives, and place-based scholarship endowments. For more information, visit

Highland Community College offers more than 60 programs of applied and transfer degrees, community education and business training. In addition to comprehensive academic programming, Highland provides theatre, art and music opportunities for the community. Highland Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association’s Academic Quality Improvement Program. Located in Freeport, Highland is conveniently positioned in the tri-state region with access to several major metropolitan areas. For more information about Highland Community College, call 815.235.6121 or visit

Rockford University is a four-year, co-educational institution founded in 1847 offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in traditional liberal arts and professional fields. The University offers approximately 80 majors, minors and concentrations, including the adult accelerated degree completion program for a B.S. in Management Studies. Through its Graduate Studies department, degrees are extended to include the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). Rockford University is home to one of only 11 Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) chapters in Illinois, the most prestigious honor society in the United States. Named by The Princeton Review as a Best Midwestern College and as a Tier One Best Midwestern University by US News and World Report, Rockford University currently serves approximately 1,280 full-and part-time students.