Spring 2017

Dunham Fund Creates Innovative Loan Program with $1 Million Grant to Revitalize Downtown Aurora

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The Revolving Loan Program—a collaborative effort of the Dunham Fund, City of Aurora and local financial institutions—will offer financial assistance to private investors wishing to purchase and/or improve vacant properties in downtown Aurora to increase business activity and boost the city’s economic vitality.

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Dunham Fund Grant Puts STEAM into East Aurora Educational Curriculum

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EASD 131 is in the process of realigning its curriculum and programs to be more focused on science, technology, engineering, art and math. With a $550,000 grant award from the Dunham Fund, the vision will become a reality beginning with the 2017-18 school year.

The “Learners Today, Leaders Tomorrow” initiative will focus on kindergarten and first-grade students and be headquartered at the Benavides Kindergarten Center on East Indian Trail in Aurora. Two adjoining buildings will be utilized as well for District 131.

“Our vision is to provide passionate and collaborative educators, strong partnerships, and relevant curricula so that our young learners will build a strong foundation to a successful future,” said Beatrice Reyes-Childress, Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services.

The Academy anticipates it will educate 475 students in 2017-18 with the potential of adding 800 preschool students in 2018 that would result in over 1,200 students enrolled in a STEAM-based curriculum.

“By encouraging scientific innovation and collaboration in the educational and community development programs, we help effect positive change. The research is clear that this kind of learning builds skills and interests that serve children throughout their school years and beyond the classroom to a bigger picture.”

— Dunham Fund board member Mark Truemper

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Dunham Fund ‘Quick Path’ Puts College Students on Track to Dream Degrees

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To advance opportunities for college-ready students with significant financial need, The Dunham Fund provided a $500,000 grant in support of the Waubonsee Community College Quick Path program – an innovative, accelerated program that provides the coursework and extra support necessary for students to earn a fully transferable, two-year associate degree with a business emphasis in just one year.

This rigorous program has great appeal to students who are motivated to excel and pursue a college education, but are limited by financial constraints. The Dunham Fund clears that hurdle and gives them the life-changing opportunity they seek.

With an achievement-oriented work ethic, students’ lofty goals can come into focus. Students receive tuition, a $200 weekly stipend, free books, daily lunches and a computer and printer for the ample amount of homework that accompanies the 60 credit hours they will take.

In the program’s first year (2016-17), 18 of the 20 students successfully completed their two-years-in-one achievement. Of those, 16 will immediately go on to pursue a four-year degree, their school choices covering a wide range from Aurora University to DePaul, Marquette, NIU, Iowa and the University of San Francisco, among numerous others. Two other students opted for the “gap year” and will enroll later.

“The Dunham Fund Quick Path program has made it possible for me to attend college without the financial burden, which helps my entire family. This program makes it possible for students to put their goals within reach while removing the barriers and stress associated with the high costs of a college education.”

— Sasha Figueroa, student

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Ripple Effect's STEAM Integrates the Arts into STEM Learning

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Faced with the prospect of having to close its doors in 2015 due to financial constraints, Water Street Studios in Batavia is enjoying a vibrant rebirth through the grants and support of local donors and, today, stands as a thriving cultural hub of regional acclaim.

Highlighting the resurrection is a new, three-year program implemented in 2016. Supported by a $94,000 Dunham Fund grant, Ripple Effect integrates arts into the academic curriculum for elementary school students, broadening their STEM learning (science, technology, engineering, math) into a STEAM education.

The free after-school classes make the arts available on a weekly basis for young students, fostering their creative thinking, expression and growth.

Read more about this important partnership on our Community Impact page ›

Spread the Word About Your Events!

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If your organization is a Dunham Fund grant recipient, we invite you to submit your educational or community events to be featured on the Dunham Fund Events Calendar.

Reach out to Holly Sambucetti at hsambucetti@dunhamfund.org or 630-844-2774 with your event details.