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Beacon-News Writes Story about Foundation Scholarship Program


Cathy Janek of the Beacon-News wrote the following article about the Community Foundation’s 2016 Scholarship Program. Congratulations to all of the 2016 scholarship recipients!

As part of this year’s Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley scholarship program, just over $1 million in scholarships has been awarded to 346 students who live in the greater Aurora, TriCities and Kendall County areas.

Formed in 1948, the Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that administers charitable funds from which both merit and traditional scholarships as well as one-year awards and multi-year awards are given out to students.

Since it was founded, the foundation has grown to more than $75 million in assets and has awarded more than $60 million in grants and scholarships, foundation officials said.

A scholarship committee bases the awards on a student’s essay, resume, ACT score, grade point average and evaluations from teachers or community members, said Heather Johnson, director of scholarships with the Community Foundation.

Robert J. O’Connor, chairman of the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee said, “Members of the school review committees commented on the outstanding achievements and accomplishments of the scholarship recipients from all of the schools.”

Of the roughly 200 scholarship funds administered by the Community Foundation, 41 were given out by the Albert M. Zari Scholarship Fund this year to students pursuing an undergraduate degree from a college or university in accounting, aeronautics/aerospace science, agriculture, business, communications, computer science, electronics, engineering, finance, information systems, medicine or pharmacy studies.

Established in 2014, the fund was created by the estate of Albert M. Zari who wanted the scholarships to reflect his belief in the power of education, foundation officials said. With only an eighth-grade education, Zari served in the Navy during World War II before completing an electrician’s apprentice program and subsequently founding the A.M. Zari Construction Company.

The Zari Scholarship also is open to students who live in DeKalb and Sycamore.

The Howard E. Charles Jr. Scholarship was established in 2006 in the memory of its namesake after the death of his father Howard E. Charles Sr.

Howard E. Charles Jr., who graduated from St. Charles High School, died in 1963 after battling Hodgkin’s disease. His father had been a partner in the Burger Drug Store which was located on Main Street in St. Charles.

“Seventy-one scholarships were awarded from this fund to students pursuing a career in health care,” Johnson said.

Eligibility for this scholarship is restricted to students who reside within St. Charles Community Unit School District 303.

The majority of the scholarships offered through the Community Foundation are considered to be traditional scholarships which are based on both academic ability and financial need. The foundation also offers merit scholarships which are based on academic ability without consideration of financial need.

Students who are interested in any of the Community Foundation scholarships complete one application to be eligible for any of the scholarships. However, many have specific eligibility requirements such as field of study or high school attended.

Applications for the 2017 Scholarship Program will be available in late November 2016 through early February 2017.

Cathy Janek is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News


A community foundation is a donor-driven organization that helps donors custom-design funds that reflect their charitable interests. Through the years, grants from these funds have made a significant impact on our local communities.

Sharon Stredde

President Emeritus

Thank you very much for supporting my college education for these four years. I will never be able to repay you for the opportunity that this scholarship has given to me.

Julia H.

[Renewing Scholarship Recipient] Graduate of Hinkley-Big Rock High School

We chose the Community Foundation because of its reputation. It’s well known, established and we can trust them to do the job for us.

Dick Schindel

Richard and Susan Schindel Scholarship Funds

There’s no question in my mind that the scholarship I received opened up possibilities.

Marianne Renner

Past Scholarship Recipient & Current Leadership Coach

…you can always start small, even $25 can make a difference. Remember we can’t take our money with us. Even if it’s just your gift of time. Volunteer and get involved.

Cris Anderson

Cristina & Thomas S. Anderson Endowment Fund | Tom & Cris Anderson Colonial Advisory Fund

As a first-generation college student from a low-income family, I was worried about how I was going to pay for books and supplies. This scholarship will allow me to focus more on my studies instead of worrying about how to afford college. I am working to not only create opportunities for myself but to motivate future generations. Thank you so much for helping me along this journey!

Moises J.

Claude & Alice Allen Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley

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