School of Social Work – Illinois Advancement
Collage of social workers, students, and social workers with children.

Fiscal Year 2023 Update

School of Social Work

Celebrating the impact of your generosity

As one of the country’s longest-serving and most highly ranked schools of social work, we are committed to educating the next generation of compassionate leaders who will create solutions to uplift disadvantaged individuals and communities. Our values drive us to continually renew this mission each academic year.

With your support this year, the School of Social Work has established a diverse portfolio of scholarships for students, supported our elite faculty to develop innovative and evidence-based solutions to solve real-world problems, awarded over $15,000 in emergency aid to students in need, and invested in the artistic representation of the social and restorative justice practices we champion as a community.

We are all more aware than ever of the vital needs that social work can address. Our graduates are driving social change worldwide and affecting lives for the better. Your support and generosity empower our students to have profound impacts on their communities.

With deep gratitude and appreciation,

Ben Lough
Signature Ben Lough
Dean Designate and Professor of the School of Social Work

FY 2023 By the Numbers

Thanks to your support during this past fiscal year, the School of Social Work continues to be transformed, resulting in:

Dollars Raised832,841 Dollars Raised

Books7 New Funds Supporting Scholarships, Fellowships, and Named Faculty Positions

Illinois Logo130 Students Supported

*Data as of 8/1/23.

FY 2023 Highlights

Your support has helped us continue to elevate the values that make Illinois distinctive: a sense of boundless aspiration, collaboration, and a global perspective.

Students raising their hands in a classroom

Community Learning Lab Donation Creates Ripple Effect

A single donation to the School of Social Work Community Learning Lab has helped fuel numerous projects benefiting both community partners and SSW students. This donation launched the “Small Grants, Big Impacts” awards in August 2022.

These awards have supported projects across the region, including a website for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District with resources for adolescents, the Village Project providing support for former foster youth in college, and hosting future Illini from the Hope Center for a campus visit.

This donation also supported a qualitative evaluation with 13 community partners to gain insight into areas for collaboration and improvement. The information gained from this evaluation will help the CLL and the SSW in developing non-degree certifications and CEU events.

Scholarship recipients standing together and smiling.

New Scholarships for SSW Students

The School of Social Work is fortunate to have an array of donors who want to support our students and the causes we champion by creating scholarship funds. Because of generous gifts from these donors this past year, we can provide even more scholarship support for our students.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Champaign County created a new scholarship fund for graduate students focusing their studies on mental health, hoping to help remove financial barriers and address the growing need for more clinical service providers in the field.

Dr. Ga-Young Choi (Ph.D., ’09, MSW, ’02) established the Youngsoon Park Scholarship for Social Work to honor her grandmother and bring awareness to the Korean American community and the lack of Korean-speaking helping professionals.

Former Associate Professor Ruppert Downing and his wife Gladys created the Downing Diversity Scholarship to support MSW students matriculating from historically black colleges and universities.

Carle social worker smiling.

Fund for Field Impact

The Fund for Field has a profound impact on social work students undertaking unpaid internships. This fund enables students to better engage in valuable experiential learning opportunities by alleviating the financial burden. The Fund for Field empowers students to pursue their passion for social work and make a tangible difference in the lives of individuals and communities in need. Ultimately, this scholarship not only enhances the educational experience of social work students but also fosters a more equitable and compassionate society by nurturing the next generation of dedicated and qualified social workers.

Students who receive this scholarship are eager to share their gratitude and the impact of donor generosity on their lives. MSW Grace Maloney shared, “Thank you for being so generous and willing to help students further their careers! Fieldwork can be overwhelming and hard to navigate without the added stress of associated costs. Your willingness to help is so appreciated.”

Students and social worker doing an activity in a classroom.

Celebrating Your Impact

Because of your support, each year we are able to support nearly 40 students with substantial scholarship awards that help cover tuition, textbooks, living expenses, and many other costs associated with pursuing a degree.

Sharing the stories that inspired the establishment of these scholarship funds, in turn, inspires our students to rise to their full potential, honoring the legacy of each scholarship’s namesake. This past year’s recipients and many of our faithful donors, along with faculty and staff of the School of Social Work, gathered at 77 Club in Memorial Stadium to share stories and celebrate the collective impact of philanthropy on our school and our communities.

One of the many impact stories shared came from MSW student William Villaflor, recipient of the Michael C. Langendorf Memorial Scholarship. Will previously served as an English teacher at Urbana High School. He witnessed firsthand students’ turbulent social, emotional, and academic needs during his tenure. “Receiving this scholarship that memorializes a great alumnus of our program not only makes this career transition possible, but also affirms my commitment to increasing access to intersectional, trauma-informed, and compassionate care for K-12 students. I hope to follow in Mr. Langendorf’s footsteps and have a profound impact on our community.”

Continue Your Support

Your continued support ensures the School of Social Work remains a place where progress and innovation can flourish. Find your passion and help us dream even bigger!

See Priorities

See More Impact

Philanthropy has benefited students, faculty, and staff in many ways. Browse the list below to learn more about how your impact can be felt across campus.

© 2023 University of Illinois Board of Trustees