On December 21, 2015, 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.”

Read the Rockford Register Star's Story on the Rubin Education Challenge

Highland Community College

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

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.”

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