CFNIL Scholarship Class of 2021: What if a whole community paid it forward? Picture of white arrows on a blue background

Announcing the CFNIL Scholarship Class of 2021: 140 local students receiving over $335,000 in awards

The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL) is pleased to announce its 2021 scholarship recipients: 175 scholarships worth up to $335,874 to local students. The scholarships will support the post-secondary educational aspirations of 140 local students from 28 high schools.

CFNIL administers nearly 100 scholarship endowments. The endowments were created by individuals and organizations that recognize the importance of education. Donors establish the criteria for each scholarship, based on their interests and the community’s need. Many of CFNIL’s scholarships are memorials, which celebrate the life and passions of individuals. Thanks to the generosity of scholarship fund creators, since 2000 CFNIL has awarded over $3,630,000 to local students.

Most of the recipients are graduating high school seniors in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties. Scholarships are awarded to many kinds of students: academic achievers; non-traditional; those with financial need; athletes; all races and ethnicities; pursuing careers in education, STEM, business, fire science, and healthcare; and many more. Some of the scholarships are renewable for up to four years. The diversity of the recipients reflects the diversity of CFNIL’s donors and the communities it serves. Learn more about the CFNIL scholarship class of 2021 at  

Scholarship applications are reviewed and scored by community volunteers. A “blind” review process assures that scholarships are awarded objectively to students who best fit the scholarship criteria. This year over 100 volunteers read and scored nearly 1,000 scholarship applications. 

“We are honored to serve as the steward of scholarship endowments that fulfill the charitable intent of our donors and create a permanent reservoir of opportunity for our students,” said CFNIL President Dan Ross.

Typically, CFNIL hosts a Scholarship Award Night event to honor all the recipients and celebrate with families, donors, and community members. This year, Scholarship Award Night is going virtual and will be broadcast on CFNIL’s Facebook page at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 10th. Watch for more details on this event to come! 

View a full list of this year’s recipients at