NIU Foundation FY20 Impact Report

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HUSKIES. NEVER. QUIT. FISCAL YEAR 2020 ANNUAL REPORT TO DONORS


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BUT NOW MORE THAN EVER, MANY OF THEM NEED A LITTLE HELP. With donor support, there is no limit to what our students and our University, can accomplish. This past year, our University has experienced significant uncertainty, challenge, and change. We have also experienced the profound impact of generosity as our donors helped keep NIU moving forward in support of our talented, hardworking, students.

Throughout FY20, NIU donors came together to help make NIU an engine for innovation, creativity and social mobility that empowers students, faculty and staff to make the world a better place.

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A MESSAGE FRO M THE B OA RD C HA I R A ND THE P RE S I DE NT A ND C EO

Today as we write this letter to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year, we are in a time of rapid change. Of course, as Huskies, we view these challenges as opportunities and have pulled together to adapt and grow. The University now opens the door of opportunity to students through virtual open houses that attract an even greater number of students than we did pre-COVID. In addition, our faculty and staff continue to come together to find new ways to continue teaching and learning in this new, uncharted, increasingly digital world. The results of our efforts are promising. Enrollment is up, and thousands of alumni and donors are connecting with us on social media and through virtual events. As a foundation, we are poised to embrace the ever-evolving future of the University and the communities we serve. In August of 2020, the NIU Foundation and NIU Alumni Association merged, a strategic move that has strengthened the ever-growing partnership we’ve fostered over the years. We are grateful to the many alumni and donors who made so many achievements possible. Total NIU Foundation fundraising activity for FY20 was $15.1M. Donors like you ensure that NIU continues to thrive as a student-centered research university. Your gifts also support President Lisa Freeman’s vision of NIU as an engine for innovation, creativity and social mobility that empowers students, faculty and staff to make the world a better place. In the pages that follow, we celebrate those who have discovered the joy in making a difference through giving. We are grateful for the many Huskies like you who give back and continue the cycle of philanthropy for generations, impacting thousands of students along the way.

Michael Cullen B.S. Finance, '84 B.S. Accountancy, '87 Regional President First Midwest Bank iv

Catherine B. Squires, CFRE, NIU ’80 President & CEO, NIU Foundation Vice President of University Advancement, Northern Illinois University


Michael Cullen, ’84

Catherine B. Squires, ’80 v


ABO UT THE N IU FOUNDAT I ON

Across the country and around the globe, Huskies are changing the world with their energy, hard work and gifts to others. The NIU Foundation is a separate, not-for-profit corporation whose mission it is to secure and manage gifts in furtherance of excellence at NIU. Northern Illinois University has designated the NIU Foundation as the charitable organization to receive and manage all gifts on its behalf. The NIU Foundation serves as an important strategic partner for the University. Donor gifts support a number of causes, including endowments, capital projects, scholarships and strategic priorities. The NIU Foundation works collaboratively with the NIU Alumni Association to holistically and strategically impact and improve NIU. Creating life-changing opportunities for NIU’s hardworking, dedicated students and faculty is the NIU Foundation’s highest priority.

Our Vision

Our Mission

The vision of the NIU ­Foundation

The NIU Foundation’s mission

is to develop, support and ­encourage a culture of giving throughout the NIU community.

is to energize and connect the private ­sector with the NIU community to secure and steward resources that support the future and growth of NIU.

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TABLE O F CONT E NTS

NOTABLE NUMBERS

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SUMMARY OF FINANCIAL DATA

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ENDOWMENT FUND PERFORMANCE

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HIGHLIGHTS OF FISCAL YEAR 2020 NIU Unveils Huskie Pride Sculpture

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Founders Forum Donor Wall to Become a Reality

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Huskies United – Day of Giving

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Real Impact: Student Emergency Fund keeps NIU students in school Distinguished Donor Event – Elmhurst Art Museum

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M. Joan Popp Lab Dedication

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A Helping Hand: Lori Richards and Ken Newbaker establish scholarship

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Ian Pearson, '20, NIU Foundation Board Student Representative Continues Work for the Greater Good

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STORIES OF IMPACT Three Generations of Huskie Pride: Mark Banovetz

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Hard Work Rewarded: Jamie Forbeck

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Music to Her Ears: Elizabeth Vieyra

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Energy for the Future: Carson Wallace

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Legacy of Education: Morgan Cunningham

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The Future Looks Bright: Maria Olivares

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Making Her Parents Proud: Cindy Duran

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The Art of Generosity: Krystyanna Joseph

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NOTABLE NUMBERS MADE POSSIBLE BY REMARKABLE DONORS

NEW GIVING IN FY20

$15,100,000 Gifts from all sources in FY20 including unrealized bequests

Total Number of Donors

11,741 SCHOLARSHIP DOLLARS AWARDED

NUMBER OF SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED

2

$3.1 million 2,150

GLENNITA WILLIAMS SCHOLARSHIP AWARD RECIPIENT


TOTAL RAISED FOR HUSKIES UNITED CAMPAIGN NUMBER OF HUSKIES UNITED GIFTS

STUDENT EMERGENCY FUND DOLLARS RAISED

$486k 1,506 $209k

The NIU Foundation has AWARDED $26M IN SCHOLARSHIPS in the past 10 years.

TOTAL RAISED BY NORTHERN FUND

TOTAL RAISED FOR STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

$2.7 million $345k

Contributions by Source 7.0%

FOUNDATIONS & ORGANIZATIONS

1,021,202

9.0%

CORPORATIONS & BUSINESSES

1,331,543

84.0%

INDIVIDUALS

12,724,249

TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS

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15,076,994


SU MMARY O F FI NA NC I A L DATA JULY 1 , 2 01 9 – JU N E 30, 2 02 0

ACTIVITY - Year Ended June 30, 2020

ASSETS Cash and Investments and In Trust Donor Promises to Give Buildings and Land Other Assets

$109,294,515 2,664,578 22,590,946 106,338

Total Assets

134,656,377

LIABILITIES Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities Bonds Payable

1,614,599 441,300

Remainder Interest Due for Gifts In Trust Gifts and Accounts Managed for NIU and NIU Alumni Association Total Liabilities

623,564 10,540,912

$6,467,095

Investment Income loss

(4,050,268).

Services Contract Income

798,600.

Rent

319,805.

Other Income

551,359.

Total Activity

4,086,591.

EXPENSES - Year Ended June 30, 2020 Scholarships and support of University departments and programs

7,766,101.

Supporting services

2,943,327.

Total Expenses

10,709,428. 6,622,840.

CHANGE IN NET ASSETS

13,220,375

NET ASSETS June 30, 2020

Contributions

$121,436,002

NET ASSETS, JULY 1, 2019

128,058,839.

NET ASSETS, JUNE 30, 2020 $121,436,002.

For complete audited financial statements and IRS Form 990, visit www.niufoundation.org.

FUNDS FROM DONOR GIFTS PROVIDED TO SUPPORT NIU

38.2% $2,966,756

scholarships

7.98%

depreciation and interest on niu foundation buildings for student use

$620,072

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53.8%

Support of University departments/programs

$4,179,273

Total Donor Funds Provided:

$7,766,101


E N D OW MENT FUND P E RFORM A NC E JULY 1 , 2 01 9 – JU N E 30, 2 02 0 Northern Illinois University and the NIU Alumni Association have designated the NIU Foundation as manager of their endowment assets.

$80.10 BEGINNING OF YEAR $0.84 GIFTS TO ENDOWMENT (NET) ($-6.61) INVESTMENT RESULTS AND ALLOCATION FOR SPENDING $74.33 END OF YEAR

ENDOWMENT MARKET VALUE (DOLLARS IN MILLIONS)

INVESTMENT RETURN

ANNUALIZED TOTAL OVER

1 YEAR

5 YEARS

ACTUAL              -5.0%   TARGET WEIGHTED BENCHMARK LONG-TERM TARGET

10 YEARS

3.0%    6.8%

-2.0%    3.9%

6.7%

7.5%    7.5%     7.5%

NEW DOLLARS FOR SCHOLARSHIPS AND PROGRAMS MADE AVAILABLE BY INVESTMENT INCOME 2018-2019

$2.9M

2019-2020

$3.0M

2020-2021

$3.1M

ASSET ALLOCATION The goal of setting asset allocation and e­ xpenditure strategy for the NIU ­Foundation E­ ndowment Fund is to m ­ aintain the s­ pending power of the fund, in ­inflati­on-­adjusted (real) dollars, far into the future. The NIU F­ oundation Finance ­Committee reviews the asset a­ llocation regularly using r­ anges ­approved annually by the NIU Foundation Board of Directors. 19.4%  Equities Domestic—Large/Mid

15.3%  Fixed Income

5.1%  Equities Domestic­—Small

9.4%  Natural Resources

12.0%  Equities International

4.8%  Real Estate

8.9%  Emerging Markets

9.3%   Diversifying Strategies

7.0%  Equities Private

2.1%  Cash

6.7%  Equities Directional Hedge 5


F Y 2 0 H I G H LIG H TS AN D STORI ES OF IMPAC T

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NIU UNVEILS HUSKIE PRIDE SCULPTURE

DENNIS AND STACEY BARSEMA POSE IN FRONT OF THE NEWLY UNVEILED HUSKIE PRIDE SCULPTURE.

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new landmark debuted on campus in FY20 thanks to benefactors Dennis and Stacey Barsema. “Huskie Pride,” a sculpture, comprised of the letters N-I-U in 6-foot-tall block type painted in the University’s signature cardinal red, sits in the center of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commons on the University’s DeKalb campus. “This sculpture, with its bold, classic lines, speaks loudly and proudly about what it means to be a Huskie,” NIU President Lisa C. Freeman said. “We are truly grateful to Dennis and Stacey for this gift. It not only demonstrates their pride in NIU, but also creates a new opportunity for all of us to share our Huskie Pride with the world.” “Dennis and I hope that it becomes the most photographed spot on campus,” Stacey Barsema said. “A spot where students pose during their orientation visit, on their graduation day and maybe even when they return to campus with children of their own.”

The Barsemas have generously supported NIU for more than two decades. They were the lead donors for Barsema Hall; the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center; and several scholarships. Both of the Barsemas are active on campus, with Stacey serving on the NIU Foundation Board of Directors while Dennis serves as chair of the NIU Board of Trustees. The sculpture was introduced to campus just as NIU completed work on an overhaul of the southern portion of the MLK commons. That work transformed the area nearest to the Holmes Student Center into a beautifully landscaped patio leading up to a new grade-level entrance. Inside that entrance awaits a completely revamped ground floor, which features three new restaurants, a new convenience store, a new bookstore, new meeting spaces for student organizations and performance spaces for student groups.

This sculpture, with its bold, classic lines, speaks loudly and proudly about what it means to be a Huskie.” ­— LISA FREEMAN, NIU President 7


FO UNDERS FORUM WALL TO BECOME REALITY THANKS TO GENEROUS GIFT

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n homage to those who have made a tremendous impact on NIU students will soon be unveiled in NIU’s historic Altgeld Hall. The Founders Forum Wall will become a reality thanks to a generous gift from NIU alumni John C. and Anne M. Landgraf. “This financial contribution is generous, significant, and will make a difference,” said NIU President Lisa Freeman. “But, equally meaningful to NIU’s future is the Landgrafs’ vision—the mechanism they are creating to celebrate transformative contributors to NIU by recognizing them as ‘new founders’ and rewarding them for their efforts to keep NIU moving forward.” The NIU Foundation’s Founders Forum Distinguished Donor Society honors and recognizes those whose cumulative, lifetime giving to NIU is $50,000 or 8

greater. Thanks to these alumni and friends, NIU students have learned, practiced, and researched in new or newlyrenovated facilities; have been inspired and challenged by phenomenal faculty; and have launched successful careers without the burden of student loans thanks to scholarship support. John earned his bachelor’s degree in biology in 1974 and his master’s degree in microbiology in 1975, while Anne earned a bachelor’s degree in history with minors in education and biology in 1973. John worked his way up the corporate ladder at Abbott Laboratories, and after 37 years, retired as executive vice president of Abbott Nutrition. Anne taught middle school history and science in Aurora, Park Forest, and Libertyville schools. Both John and Anne are highly engaged in volunteer organizations and are passionate philanthropists.


HUSKIES U N I TE D

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hen it comes to supporting NIU students, Huskies. Never. Quit. Never did that rallying cry ring truer than during the NIU Foundation’s Huskies United Day of Giving. The online giving event raised nearly $486,368 from more than 1,500 gifts made over 32 hours. Huskies United focused on raising support for the University’s strategic funding priorities including emergency student funds, diversity, equity and inclusion, scholarships, research, artistry, and innovation. “Our community united in a powerful way to show that we can move NIU forward together,” said Michael Adzovic, director of the Northern Fund.

Former staff member Sally Stevens kicked off Huskies United with a challenge gift of $25,000 to support student scholarships when the event reached 800 gifts. Additionally, Tom Scott, Ed.D. ’75, offered a $50,000 gift to support scholarships when the event reached 1,000 gifts. There were also several giving challenges to support NIU’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, as well as collegiate-based scholarships.

The initiative’s success was propelled by a commitment of $100,000 from alumni and former NIU faculty/staff members Carol and Jerry Zar, as well as a $60,000 commitment from Lori Richards, ’82, and Ken Newbaker. “For our students, those gifts and dollars represent hope, because many would not be able to obtain an NIU degree without the financial support provided from alumni and friends,” Adzovic said. “Thank you to everyone who made a gift during Huskies United.”

Our community united in a powerful way to show that we can move NIU forward together.” — MICHAEL ADZOVIC, Director of the ­Northern Fund

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R E AL IMPACT

STUDENT EMERGENCY FUND KEEPS NIU STUDENTS IN SCHOOL

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hen the COVID-19 crisis hit, NIU sophomore Robert Hodges said he felt like he might be living in an alternate universe. “Losing both my jobs in one week’s span, that’s something you see in the movies,” he said. But Robert’s predicament was very real– a fact that became abundantly clear once he found himself relying on the generosity of friends for his next meal. It didn’t take long before Robert realized he needed to figure things out quickly to hang on to the progress he’d made toward his NIU degree. He is proudly nearing the finish line on his gen eds and was about to declare an education major. “But the pandemic threatened to change everything,” he said. Like thousands of Huskies whose lives were turned upside down by the COVID-19 crisis, Robert Hodges turned to his pack for help. He applied for and received a grant from the NIU Student Emergency Fund that allowed him to buy groceries and make the trip home to Chicago to check on his mother, who had also lost her job as a result of the pandemic.

In partnership with the NIU Foundation, the University established the Student Emergency Fund to help students stay in school and plan for the future despite setbacks caused by emergency situations such as those presented during the COVID-19 crisis. In FY20, the University provided emergency grants to more than 3,300 students like Robert, students with urgent needs such as food, transportation, housing, medical bills, and technology to access online courses. Receiving the grant allowed Robert to keep up with his classes and search for work. “This money made me see how much people care about the students here at NIU,” he said. To those who lent a helping hand when he desperately needed it, Robert said: “I would just like to say thank you, 100 percent, thank you.” Robert returned to NIU last fall to continue working toward his goal of becoming an English teacher.

I would just like to say thank you, 100 percent, thank you. — ROBERT HODGES, Sophomore, Education Major 10


D I ST INGUI SHE D DON OR EVENT ELMHURST ART MUSEUM

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he NIU Foundation hosted the 2019 Distinguished Donor Societies event on July 12 at The Elmhurst Art Museum. More than 200 guests attended and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and guided tours of the museum. The event provided an opportunity for donors to hear from President Lisa Freeman and meet grateful student scholarship recipients. The event featured artwork by NIU faculty and alumni.

PRESIDENT LISA FREEMAN ADDRESSES THE AUDIENCE AT THE ELMHURST ART MUSEUM

NIU Foundation scholarship recipient, Rachel Sanchez, shared how scholarship support helped transform her experience at NIU.

SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT RACHEL SANCHEZ SPEAKS TO THE IMPACT OF GIVING ON HER EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE

ARTIST AND NIU INSTRUCTOR FRANK TRANKINA EXPLAINS HIS WORK AND PROCESS TO AN AUDIENCE OF ON LOOKERS

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M . JOAN POPP LAB DED I C ATI O N

FROM LEFT: DEAN LAURIE ELISH-PIPER; NIU PRESIDENT LISA C. FREEMAN; LINDA CONRAD, NIU DONOR AND FRIEND OF JOAN POPP; AND KNPE CHAIR, CHAD MCEVOY

CATHERINE SQUIRES, NIU FOUNDATION PRESIDENT AND CEO, SPEAKS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF GENEROUS DONATIONS LIKE THOSE OF JOAN POPP

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eaming at what she proudly called a “Huskie Hall of Fame” of distinguished coaches, teachers and supporters, NIU President Lisa Freeman saw in the audience at the new M. Joan Popp Motor Behavior Lab reason for great confidence. Freeman - along with NIU College of Education Dean Laurie ElishPiper, Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education Chair Chad McEvoy, and NIU Foundation President and CEO Catherine Squires - had come to celebrate what can blossom from donor support. The potential of such gifts was more than evident in the beautifully renovated space of Anderson 213. Renovations were made possible through a contribution from the estate of Popp, who taught exercise science and motor behavior at NIU from 1959 to 1995.

In what once was a small gymnasium, the boldly painted Popp Lab now hosts classes in areas such as biomechanics, kinesiology, and motor control. It also provides robust hands-on learning and faculty research opportunities through its state-of-the-art equipment, including motion capture, gait analysis, and force plate technology. “Dr. Popp’s generous gift has allowed us to transform this old activity space into a modern laboratory, fitting for the highquality teaching and research conducted in KNPE,” said Department Chair Chad McEvoy.

“Our donors are helping NIU become a first-choice destination for smart, determined young people who come with grit, imagination, and a hunger for learning, much like the generations of students who passed through Dr. Popp’s classrooms during her career,” Freeman told a standing-room-only crowd at the Oct. 2 ribbon-cutting event.

EMERSON SEBASTIÃO, AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN KNPE, DEMONSTRATES SOME OF THE NEW TECHNOLOGY WITH KINESIOLOGY MAJOR BECCA BACKEBERG, PRESIDENT OF THE EXERCISE SCIENCE CLUB.

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A HELPING HAND: LORI R I C HAR DS AND KEN NEW BA K E R E STABLISH SCHOLAR SH I P

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ori Richards, ’82, and her husband, Ken Newbaker, are changing the lives of NIU students. The couple’s $500,000 estate gift will help students struggling to finance their education. But if someone had told Richards five years ago she would one day fund a scholarship, she wouldn’t have believed them. “I used to say I would not donate money to my colleges,” Richards admits. “I always wanted to put my resources into what I considered more life-or-death causes. But then I learned NIU is focused on some of the things I care very, very deeply about.” Richards graduated from NIU with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a passion for social justice and politics. She went on to law school and a 24-year career in the Securities and Exchange Commission. That was followed by eight

LORI RICHARDS, '82

years of compliance consulting for financial institutions before her retirement two years ago. Shortly after retiring, Richards read a news article about an organization in El Paso, Texas, serving migrant families who had been processed and released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “These shelters were staffed with volunteers – lots and lots of nuns and lots and lots of lawyers,” Richards said. “I’m a lawyer, and

College is the stepping stone not only to greater financial security but also to having a satisfying and rewarding career doing what you love 14

— LORI RICHARDS, '82


I knew before I finished reading the article that I would have to go there and volunteer.” A week later, Richards arrived in El Paso for a two-week stint working with the organization. One of her tasks was to drive families to the bus station or airport so they could travel to the family members or sponsors taking them in.

“College is the stepping stone not only to greater financial security but also to having a satisfying and rewarding career doing what you love,” Richards said. “These kids are incredibly talented. They have great GPAs and enormous potential. This is a hands-on way I can help their lives, their families’ lives – it helps entire communities to be healthy and successful.

“On the drive, I passed by the University of Texas at El Paso, and every time, in my very bad Spanish, I would tell the children, ‘That’s the university. You are going to go to university one day here in America,’” she said. “You could see the impact on these gorgeous children who were scared in this new country and had literally nothing. It was important to me to encourage them that they can get an education and make a life here.”

“It all starts with the opportunity to go to college.”Rachel Sanchez, a recipient of Richards’ scholarship, confirmed that the gift is far more than financial.

After returning from Texas, Richards was nagged by a desire to do something more to help children like the ones she met. Soon after, she had lunch with two NIU staffers who happened to be in D.C.

“It wasn’t just, ‘Yeah, this is a popular thing colleges are doing,’” she said. “It felt very real and genuine. I encourage people to do what I did. Learn what the university is doing, get involved, and support it.”

“We were talking about firstgeneration Hispanic students and how I wanted to help, and it just all came together,” Richards said. “It was a happy surprise for me to learn NIU is really focused on helping first-generation, African American, and Hispanic kids get a college education.”

“To me, a scholarship means more than money. It means that I am succeeding,” she said. Richards urges other alumni, particularly those who have been reluctant to give, to learn about NIU’s initiatives.

More than half of NIU students are the first in their families to attend a four-year university, and nearly three-quarters come from underserved populations including students of color and students from low-income households.

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N I U FO UNDATI ON STUDENT R EP, IAN PEARSON, CO NT INUE S TO WORK FO R THE G R EATER G O O D

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n first grade, Ian Pearson, ’20, decorated his room with a poster of the country’s presidents.

“Something about being a part of making society work was appealing to me,” he said. As Pearson grew, so did his perspective. “I graduated high school with a bunch of really bright students who, for one reason or another, couldn’t afford to go to college or didn’t have the resources to succeed, and that was really disheartening,” said the Rockford native. Those realizations led Pearson to study political science and nonprofit and NGO studies at NIU, which made him an ideal fit as student representative for the NIU Foundation Board of Directors. As a recipient of the John G. and Barbara C. Peters Student Endowment for Public Service, he knew firsthand the power of philanthropy to open doors to educational opportunity. In addition to serving on the NIU Foundation Board, Pearson served as speaker of the Student Association Senate, intern in the NIU Office of Federal Relations, chair of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Advisory Council, president of the Political Science Student Advisory Council, president of the award-winning NIU Model Illinois Government Club and president of the College Democrats. In honor of his achievements at NIU, he was named the 2019 Student Lincoln Laureate, an honor reserved for the University’s top senior. The Lincoln Laureate Award is given to an outstanding senior from each of Illinois’ four-year universities for excellence in both curricular and extracurricular activities. Although he received countless honors, accolades were never Pearson’s goal when he started at NIU. He came to campus to make his family, especially his late grandfather, Jim Larson, proud. A farmer in rural Wisconsin, Larson gave up personal dreams to ensure his children and grandchildren could pursue their own.

“I ran my college experience as a test to see how far a kid from Rockford can go,” Pearson said. Having graduated in May with a B.S. in political science and nonprofit and NGO studies from NIU, Pearson is well on his way to pursuing his dream of a career in public service. He is currently working on an MPA in Public Policy Analysis at the La Follette School of Public Affairs at UW-Madison.

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“I want to make the most of the chances that have been given to me. I feel like if I don’t work hard, I’m doing a disservice to someone else who could have this opportunity,” he said.


TH REE GENER ATI ON S O F H USKIE PRIDE: MARK BANOVETZ

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he pride of the pack runs deep in the Banovetz family. Biological sciences major Mark Banovetz, ’20, is the third generation of his family to cherish an NIU experience. His grandfather, James M. Banovetz, was a professor in the Department of Political Science. James and his wife, Audrey, endowed a fellowship in the program. Mark’s parents met at NIU. His father, Mark Banovetz Sr., earned his bachelor’s degree from NIU’s political science program before going on to law school. Mark’s mother, Lisa Banovetz, earned an accounting degree from the College of Business and went on to complete her MBA. Mark proudly carries on the family legacy and is a grateful recipient of the NIU Foundation August M. Gorenz Scholarship in biology. He says the scholarship significantly lightened the load of financing his undergraduate education. His goal is to become a doctor. As a sophomore, Mark was one of 20 students in the nation awarded a competitive pre-med internship at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “At NIU, I was able to participate in incredible educational opportunities,” Mark said. “I have been involved in research in Dr. Douglas Wallace’s Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory. I have presented group research at eight conferences and co-authored a paper on rodent fine motor control.”

“The journey to becoming a physician is extremely difficult in its own right, but without the support of generous donors, it simply would not be possible,” he said.

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HA RD WORK R EWAR DE D : JAMIE FORBECK Well-timed scholarship pushes aspiring scientist closer to the finish line

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amie Forbeck always had a passion for science. But it took a near-tragedy her first semester of college to make her realize her career path. Forbeck, a senior from Princeton, Illinois, is studying medical laboratory sciences. She hopes to work in a hospital and help people the way she saw laboratory professionals help her father when he experienced a medical emergency her freshman year. “That really opened my eyes to the world of medical laboratory sciences because without them my father wouldn’t be here today,” she said. Like many NIU students, Forbeck is self-funding her education. For her, this means working 30 hours a week as a phlebotomist at Illinois Valley Community Hospital while maintaining a full-time class schedule.

“Academically speaking, an MLS degree is very challenging, but even more challenging is working to pay for it,” she said. The senior says all the hard work is worth it and makes her especially grateful for the scholarship support that will help her make it to the finish line as a proud Huskie graduate. When she learned she had received an NIU Foundation scholarship and could pay for her final year of study, Forbeck says she was so thankful she cried. “This scholarship is everything,” she said. “It’s amazing to not have to worry about financing my last year of school, to not have to balance school with working full time. I don’t have words to describe how incredible it is to have this scholarship, and how incredibly grateful I am.” 18


MUSIC TO HE R EAR S: ELIZABETH VIEYRA Scholarship helps Vieyra share the joy of music

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lizabeth Vieyra was little when she first noticed some of her peers did not have the same opportunities she did. Vieyra was always musically inclined, playing flute and violin. But she realized not everyone in her hometown of Aurora, Illinois, who wanted to take up an instrument could do so. “I saw people around me who really wanted to try music but didn’t have the resources to do it,” she recalled. “I thought if I studied music ed I could help people like them and kids like me who just really love music.” When Vieyra, a sophomore, completes her music education degree, she hopes to teach music at a public school and offer private lessons at an affordable price to people in her hometown. Receiving an NIU Foundation scholarship opened new doors for Vieyra, who can now afford to stay on campus instead of driving home every day. That means more time for practice, more time for study, and more opportunities to be involved, she said. “I was so happy when I found out I received the scholarship,” she said. “I ran to tell my younger siblings about it. I told them they have no excuse not to go to college because I am doing it. I am getting the help I need, and they can, too.” When her siblings are ready for college, Vieyra said, she encourages them to choose NIU. The University and the School of Music are providing her with more than an education – they are giving her a second family.

“NIU is a place where you can make your home,” she said. “I am at home.”

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E N ERGY FOR THE FUTU R E: CARSON WALLACE Scholarship prepares engineering major for career promoting renewable energy

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n insider scoop helped Carson Wallace find the hidden gem that is NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. “My aunt is a writer for an engineering magazine, and she told me the engineering program at NIU is up and coming,” said Wallace, a senior studying mechanical engineering. “It’s a good value for the money, with accomplished faculty and good resources.” Wallace hopes to parlay his NIU degree into a career in sustainable energy. “I believe the transition from fossil fuels to renewable resources for energy production will be one of the greatest lasting impacts of my generation, and it is my dream to be a part of this transition in any way possible,” he said. NIU’s labs and instructors have prepared him well, and he is looking forward to contributing this year to faculty research with Dr. Jifu Tan.

“The instruction at NIU is very personal,” Wallace said. “If you put in the work and raise your hand, all of your professors will know your name. You will be able to have conversations with them when you pass them in the hallway. I think that motivates students to work harder and take their studies more seriously.” Scholarships play an important role in helping students like Wallace pursue their dreams. He has been on scholarship all four years at NIU, he said. As he contemplates his future, Wallace says scholarship support has been a relief and inspiration. “It makes a big impact for my family. My parents work very hard to provide for me, so being able to ease the burden on them feels really good.” 20


A FAMILY TR ADITI ON : MORGAN CUNNINGHAM Scholarship makes early education major third generation at NIU

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hen she transferred to NIU from Rock Valley College, Morgan Cunningham worried it would be hard to make friends. Three years later, she realizes making friends was the easy part. It is leaving them that will be hard.

“I’ve met a lot of really fun people and I’ve made amazing friends,” Cunningham, ’21, said. “I’m hoping to stay in DeKalb [after graduation] to help the community here.” Cunningham is studying early childhood education with an emphasis on special education. After her graduation in the spring, she intends to teach preschool or kindergarten. She hopes to teach blended classrooms that include both special education and mainstream students and would like to teach in DeKalb or near Chicago. “I just want to go where the need is most prevalent,” she said. Cunningham also had a family tradition to uphold. Her father, aunt, and grandmother are all NIU alumni, and her younger sister just started her sophomore year. “It’s great to have that shared experience with family,” she said. Cunningham is deeply grateful for the scholarships that have made her NIU experience possible. Her first year was paid for with a patchwork of scholarships. Her second year, she received a few smaller awards, but still had to take on substantial debt. This year, she was stunned to receive the NIU Foundation Impact Scholarship. “This is the biggest scholarship I have received. It was mind boggling,” she said. “I was so worried about how I would pay for the schooling I need to finish my degree. This scholarship opened all the doors for me.”

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TH E F UT U RE LOOKS BR I G HT: MARIA OLIVARES Scholarship donors open a world of opportunity for hardworking business major

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o Maria Olivares, being a Huskie means, “looking forward to a bright future and plenty of opportunity.” The Rockford native says that being a Huskie also means working hard to achieve her goals so she can demonstrate gratitude to those who’ve helped her along the way. “I would not be at this level in my education without my parents’ support,” she said. Olivares is also grateful for the NIU Foundation scholarship which allows her to stay in DeKalb and study rather than travel back to Rockford for home and work. “Scholarships are really helpful. They allow me to focus on schoolwork and free up more time for studying.” When making her school selection, Olivares toured several campuses. None, she said, showed the personal interest in student success that she saw at NIU. Other campus tours, she said, focused on the locations around campus. On NIU’s tour, she learned far more about the programs and organizations available to students.

“NIU is different from other schools,” she said. “People here really care about making sure you know the process – how to get involved and who to contact for anything you need.” Olivares is now in her senior year and is thriving as a business administration major. “When I got this scholarship, my mom said, ‘This doesn’t mean you can stop working hard.’ It’s my hard work that qualified me for the scholarship, and I am going to keep on working just as hard.”

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M AKING HE R PA R ENTS PR O U D : CINDY DURAND Scholarship helps prepare psychology major to set example for others

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n NIU Foundation scholarship came at the perfect time for senior psychology major Cindy Duran. Her employer had closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and she was worried about making ends meet. Duran describes her family as hardworking and explains that her parents have always worked several jobs at a time to provide an education for her and her younger brother. “I am proud of my parents and of my culture because it has made me into the loving, educated, and strong woman I am today,” she said. The Waukegan native adds that her appreciation for her parents’ sacrifices grows every year, as does her appreciation for the scholarship support she’s received.

“This scholarship has definitely taken a load of stress off my family,” Duran said. “COVID changed a lot of things. This really helps.” Duran said she appreciates how many opportunities NIU offers for students to get involved. Her instructors have also been very welcoming, she said. Duran has already decided to pursue graduate school after finishing her bachelor’s degree. With her strong affinity for working with high school and college populations, she is torn between pursuing clinical psychology and school psychology. With a double minor in sociology and counseling, and a certificate in criminology, Duran is leaving all her options open. “I was just going to do my psych major and counseling minor, but I felt having knowledge in a variety of topics would be helpful in the future,” she explained.

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TH E ART OF GENER OSITY: KRYSTYANNA JOSEPH Donors help aspiring animator pursue her dreams

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ike millions of children, Krystyanna Joseph grew up watching SpongeBob Squarepants. Thanks to NIU scholarship donors, the next generation of children may grow up watching characters Joseph creates. Joseph is a sophomore studying both visual communications and time arts. One day, she will be either a graphic designer or an animator. It was her childhood cartoons that inspired Joseph to study art. An avid SpongeBob fan, she said she eventually went from admiring the characters to drawing them. From there, she began investigating the people who brought the characters to life. A lightbulb went off when she realized art could provide a path to a career. “Like every child, at first you say, ‘I want to be a teacher,’ or ‘I want to be an astronaut,’” Joseph said. “But what I really wanted to be was an artist. In middle school, I started to learn what you could do with drawing. When I saw what careers were out there, I finally decided I was going to pursue the arts.” Joseph appreciates the inspiration she finds in NIU’s vibrant art community. The assistance she is receiving through the NIU Foundation’s Impact Scholarship gives her the freedom to focus on her studies without worrying about taking on debt.

“The scholarship eased a lot of burden on me,” she said. “This scholarship has definitely impacted my life and my parents’ life in a profound way.”

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N IU FO UNDATIO N BOARD OF DI REC TORS FI SCAL YE AR 2 02 0

OFFICERS & LEADERSHIP Chair

Treasurer

President & CEO

Michael Cullen B.S. Finance, '84 B.S. Accountancy, '87 Regional President, First Midwest Bank

John (Jack) Tierney B.S. Marketing, ’75 M.S.Ed., ’78 Executive Director, Unit Trust Division, Invesco Ltd.

Catherine Squires B.M. Music, ’80 VP University Advancement, Northern Illinois University

Vice Chair Chris Cole B.S. Accountancy, ’75 Retired Senior Vice President, Finance Strategy, McDonald’s USA, LLC

Directors Stacey Barsema President, Barsema Foundation William Boston B.S. Marketing, '70 M.B.A., '71 Chairman & CEO, DynamicSignals, LLC Brent Brodeski B.S. Finance, '88 M.B.A. '91 CEO, Savant Wealth Management, Inc. John Burns B.A., English, ‘88 Founder/Chairman, Citizens Rx Wheeler Coleman B.S. Computer Science, ’83 CEO & Founder, Executive Consultants United Carol Crenshaw B.S. Accountancy, '78 Retired Vice President & CFO, The Chicago Community Trust Cynthia Crocker B.S. Marketing, ’80 Retired Senior Vice President, Investor Relations, Corporate Communications, Equity Group Investments

Assistant Treasurer William Taylor B.S. Accountancy, '67 Retired Partner, Deloitte & Touche

Secretary Melissa Nigro Director of Board Relations, Chief of Staff, NIU Foundation

John Thomas Futrell M.B.A., '79 Senior Vice President, First Trust Advisors, LLC

Cherilyn Murer J.D., ’78 President & CEO, CGM Advisory Group

Kenneth Greisman B.S. Economics, ’82 Retired Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.

James Pick, Ph.D. M.S. Education, ’69 Professor, School of Business University of Redlands, CA

David Heide B.S. Marketing, ’85 Managing Director & Financial Advisor, RBC Zachary Kalk B.S. Management, '20 Student Director Anthony Kambich B.S. Education, ’59 President, Deerfield/North Shore Montessori Schools John Landgraf B.S. Biological Sciences, '74 Retired Executive Vice President, Abbott Jeffrey Liesendahl B.S. Accountancy, ’87 Managing Partner Island Peak Capital, LLC

Ian Pearson B.S. Political Science, ’20 Student Director Manny Sanchez B.S. Political Science, ’70 Founder & Managing Partner, Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman LLP Jaymie Simmon B.S. Education, '70 Writer Harlan Teller B.A. English, ‘73 Executive Director, APCO Worldwide

IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR Jeffrey Yordon B.S. Political Science, '70 President & COO, Athenex Pharmaceuticals

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ALTGELD HALL 135 DEKALB, IL 60115 815-753-1626 NIUFOUNDATION.ORG

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