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The impact of a nearly $2 million gift from State Farm Companies Foundation will carry far beyond its direct recipient, Illinois State University.

Much of the $1.8 million from the two-year donation is targeted to specific programs with a broad reach.

For example, $515,000 will go to a College of Education project designed to recruit urban teachers and better prepare and retain teachers at inner-city schools.

Improving the education received by students at inner-city schools can touch lives in ways that may never be known. It will not only help those teachers and students but also the community at large.

Likewise, the $250,000 going to ISU’s Mennonite College of Nursing will help students and local schools by building partnerships between the nursing program and school districts — providing help with student physicals and health programs while also giving nursing students practical experience.

The $432,000 directed to The Katie School of Insurance and Financial Services in the College of Business will strengthen ties between the insurance company and the school — providing solid preparation for present and future employees of State Farm – as well as other companies. It will also help the university build on the already solid reputation of its College of Business.

Other examples of the impact beyond the university are money going to the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, which enhances the community’s quality of life and attracts visitors to town, and the Minority Achievement Program, which targets first-generation college students. Illinois State University exceeds state and national averages in minority recruitment, retention and graduation rates.

As noted by ISU President Al Bowman, gifts such as this one from the State Farm Companies Foundation take on added importance at a time when state funding for education is threatened by the budget crunch.

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