Foundation donates $1M in scholarships to NIU

By Julia Martinez

The Give Something Back Foundation donated $1 million in scholarship money to NIU to enroll 50 Pell Grant-eligible students, starting with 12 students in 2019.

The Give Something Back Foundation awards scholarships to students of modest means and believes a college education will help students realize their full potential, according to its website.

Robert Carr, founder of the Give Something Back Foundation, said the recipients will be able to attend NIU with free tuition and room and board for four years, at a Wednesday news conference.

“Over 90 percent of students who receive scholarships graduate,” Carr said. “We want to help kids go to college who probably wouldn’t go without our help.”

To be eligible, students must be a freshman from an Illinois high school and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. The Give Something Back Foundation will monitor the recipients throughout high school and college to make sure they are taking challenging courses and take 15 credit hours or more at NIU.

The foundation aims to choose the most dedicated students that will accomplish graduating in four years with no debt.

Carr said he was given a $250 scholarship as a senior at Lockport Township High School, which inspired him to attend the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign and earn a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in computer science.

“It wasn’t the money so much because I was from a lower income, but it was the idea that somebody felt like they were supporting me; they were behind me,” Carr said. “Just the idea, it meant a lot, and I thought someday if I had any extra money, I would give that back.”

Carr said the $1 million is coming strictly from the support of the foundation.

“Without this support many of our students couldn’t come here and be successful,” said NIU President Doug Baker. “Over 80 percent of our students receive financial aid.”

Carr will follow up with the incoming students once they are enrolled at NIU.

“We’re not changing the world, just the lives of as many kids as we can,” Carr said.