Education has always been a priority of CFNIL. Historically, more than a quarter of CFNIL’s grant making has supported education programs, projects and events. A bequest from Dr. Louis and Violet Rubin has significantly increased CFNIL’s grant making capacity. With increased grant making capacity, CFNIL will provide strategic funding under the banner of Education Works, a grant strategy that invests in endowments for scholarships, after-school programs, and career awareness initiatives. CFNIL expects to allocate considerable funds to Education Works in the coming years. Proposals for Education Works can request any amount, but proposals requesting more than $75,000 will be evaluated for their alignment with Education Works.

Read the Rockford Register Star's Story on Education Works

Place-Based Scholarship Endowments

What? Scholarships for students with financial need from Boone, Winnebago, Stephenson, and Ogle Counties (the region) and who attend college in the region.
Why? Scholarships reduce student loan debt and open the door for more students to attend college.  Students who attend college in the region are more likely to live and work in the region.  Scholarship dollars spent locally strengthen our post-secondary institutions and the local economy.
 Who can apply? Public or non-profit post-secondary institutions based in CFNIL’s service region.


After-School Programs

What? School-approved programs that provide more learning hours, reinforce classroom instruction and advance student development through grants for capacity, coordination, outreach and transportation. This category includes before- and after-school, summer school, and enrichment programs.
Why? Research indicates that students who participate in after-school programs have better academic outcomes, better classroom behavior and fewer school absences. Safe and supervised after-school programs keep students away from destructive behaviors. After-school programs support families and reduced missed work.
 Who can apply? Educational institutions and/or non-profit partners that have received a letter of support from the educational institution’s president or superintendent.


Career Pathways

What? Research that defines the region’s workforce needs in terms of skills and competencies.
Why? Provides educators, employers, and partners with targets for alignment.


What? Increased student access to and engagement with information about careers and the academic pathways that lead to those careers.  Projects, programs, and events that expand and share information about careers and pathways.
Why? Provides students with more and better ways to explore and learn about careers.  Makes more tools and materials available to teachers and guidance counselors for attracting and informing student interest.


What? Collaboration among employers, educators, nonprofits and workforce/economic development partners.  Projects, programs and events that unite the region.
Why? Collaborative efforts maximize resources and increase return on investment. Sustained, coordinated efforts produce quality outcomes.

Who can apply? Educational institutions and/or non-profit partners that have received a letter of support from the educational institution’s president or superintendent.


To apply for a grant that aligns with Education Works, apply to Community Grants under the Education Focus Area.

Online Application


The online application must be received on or before 5:00 p.m. on the deadline date.  Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted.


How to Register & Apply

Apply Now


Contact Dan Dineen

  +1 (815) 962-2110 ext 12

 Email Dan

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