Renewing Illinois Endowment Established

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Poshard gift announcement (l-r) Glenn Poshard, Institute Director John Shaw and Jo Poshard

On December 3, 2019, The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute announced it received a $100,000 gift from Glenn and Jo Poshard for the Institute’s annual Renewing Illinois Summit for college and university students in Illinois.

The donation established an endowment for the Renewing Illinois Summit, which brings together students from across the state to generate new ideas. These ideas transcend conventional thinking and give a voice to the next generation of leaders who will determine the future of Illinois.

“This generous gift by Glenn and Jo Poshard provides a strong financial foundation to ensure the long-term future of the summit,” said John T. Shaw, Institute director. “It helps continue Paul Simon’s legacy, fosters opportunities for students, and inspires young minds to take part in public service. The gift will also help provide a unique opportunity for policymakers to connect with the leaders of tomorrow,” Shaw added.

In a statement, Glenn and Jo Poshard said the Renewing Illinois Summit is an exceptionally constructive project which they enthusiastically support.

“Ten years ago, based upon a study completed for the Illinois Board of Higher Education called ‘Illinois, A Tale of Two States,’ the stark contrasts between ‘two Illinois’ was made clear. To quote the study, one Illinois is ‘prosperous and well educated with unlimited economic opportunities.’ The other Illinois ‘struggles to make ends meet, lags in educational attainment, and is economically stagnant.’ Some in the public arena, for these and other reasons, seek to divide the state, calling for literally two states to be formed,” the Poshards said.

“Rather than dividing the state, the Paul Simon Institute and SIU, through a creative approach utilizing the best and brightest of our higher education students, seek to find the solutions to close this ‘prosperity gap’ in economic and educational attainment, thus creating ‘One Illinois.’ No other Institute or university in Illinois is more qualified to undertake this task and we want to be a part of it. We feel this is an important investment in the future of our state and SIU,” the Poshards added.

The 2022 Renewing Illinois Summit will be at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Thursday, April 7 and Friday, April 8. The theme is One Illinois: Noble Aspiration or Impossible Dream?

The Institute expects to host sixty to seventy students at the 2020 summit from Illinois community colleges and four-year universities. After the summit’s conclusion, the Institute will invite participants to Springfield to brief the press and policymakers.

The Renewing Illinois summit is a signature program at the Institute that reflects and embodies Paul Simon’s best values and optimism about the future.