Photo of Ann Dooley

Ann W. Dooley Advancement Scholarship

Supporting students with intellectual disabilities pursuing skills that will allow them to live independently.

Spring Scholarship - Closed Closed This scholarship is part of the Spring application cycle. The application is open March 1st to April 15th every year. How to Apply

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must:

- Be between the ages of 18-25 as of the application deadline.
- Currently reside in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, or Winnebago County.
- Be enrolled or intending to enroll in a post-secondary program that will enhance their life through employment and/or independent living skills for the upcoming academic year.
- Have an intellectual disability as defined below.
- Provide verification that they receive services for an intellectual disability, such as a reference from their primary care physician or school case manager.


For the purposes of this scholarship, intellectual disability is defined as having certain limitations in cognitive functioning and other skills, including communication and self-care. The intellectual disability might be caused by brain injury, disease, or genetics. Examples include but are not limited to Down Syndrome, PKU, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and birth defects.

Written Prompt

Each CFNIL scholarship is created with a specific purpose in mind. As you complete the application, the system automatically matches you with every scholarship for which you are eligible and will present you with a specific written prompt for each. You're encouraged to craft a unique response to each prompt to show the reviewers why you're the best candidate for that scholarship.

Scholarship Background and Intent

Ann Dooley was born in Rockford in 1954 and grew up in suburban Chicago. She graduated from Rockford College in 1975 as an education major and later earned a Master's degree from Northern Illinois University.

Ann began her 35-year career as a paraprofessional with Rockford District 205 in 1975.

She became a certified special education teacher at Auburn High School in 1976, eventually becoming the Department Chairperson. In the mid-1990s, she added in-building diagnostician duties to her teaching responsibilities, joining the team assessing applicants to the Special Education program. She ended her career by becoming a full-time diagnostician assigned to several schools in the District in the mid-2000s. Ann retired in 2010.

Ann's outside interests included world travel, long-time volunteering at St. Anthony's Hospital outpatient surgery center, and the retired teachers' association. She was an animal lover, supporting several shelters and adoption agencies.

She had a servant's heart. She was humble and dedicated to her family, friends, and her profession. She faced personal and professional challenges with tenacity and perseverance.

Ann passed away in May 2021 due to complications from surgery.

Ann Dooley
Photo of Ann and her sister-in-law Sandy.

Many friends, colleagues, and former students posted memories and condolences on Ann's obituary page. Her impact on the lives she touched can not be overstated! We encourage you to take the time to read their comments. Here are a few highlights:

She was such a kind and caring teacher. I remember her fondly as my 6th grade teacher at Conklin. She made education fun and was a prime example of what a true teacher committed to her students was all about. May she rest in peace. I hope the wonderful memories that you all shared bring you some comfort during this time. - Joanna

...Ann was an empathic and positive teacher who continually instilled worth and confidence in her students. I enjoyed working and conversing with her, and I will always remember her smile and laughter.. - John Gustafson

Ann was a wonderful person that looked out for the best in her students. A great teacher, friend, and an outstanding example for us all. - Ronn Lyford