Rock Valley College Foundation Receives Grant to Enhance RAISE Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

On behalf of Rock Valley College, the Rock Valley College Foundation is honored to announce it has received a $14,630 grant for the Raising Aspirations through an Inclusive Student Experience (RAISE) program.


The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois presents a check for $14,360.00 to the Rock Valley College Foundation on behalf of students in RVC's RAISE program.

This grant, generously awarded through the Ralph A. and Mildred Johnson Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois allowed for the recent purchase of curriculum upgrades aimed at further empowering students with intellectual disabilities.

Since its inception in 2010, the RAISE program has been dedicated to making the dreams of attending college and finding meaningful employment a reality for individuals with intellectual disabilities. This inclusive and supportive post-secondary program provides students with a comprehensive college experience, an interactive and inclusive environment, learning activities that transfer to lifelong independent living skills, work ethics necessary for gainful employment, self-respect and knowledge of individual strengths, empowerment through education, connections with post-21 employment and agencies, and more.

This grant award will allow Rock Valley College to enhance the RAISE program's curriculum by incorporating components from Project Discovery, a hands-on approach to career exploration. These curriculum upgrades will focus on independent living skills, financial independence, self-confidence, social skills, and educational skills, ensuring that students are well-prepared for employment and a meaningful life beyond college.

"Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a lot to offer employers, but this population is severely underrepresented in the workforce.  The RAISE program strives to equip these young adults with the foundational skills necessary for them to live and work as valued and fully contributing members of our community.  The awarding of this grant will enable the program to focus on those skills that are most critical for educational and career success.  We are so grateful to CFNIL for awarding us this grant,” Lynn Shattuck, Director, Disability Support Services at Rock Valley College, says. “As a College that believes in lifelong learning, this grant will allow us to continue to make this dream a reality for the amazing young adults with intellectual disabilities who reside in our community.”

The curriculum enhancement not only benefits the current cohort of students, but also holds the potential to positively impact and empower countless more students in the years to come. It aligns with Rock Valley College's commitment to ensuring equitable access to education and the benefits it brings to all who desire to learn.

The RAISE program has seen steady growth over the past decade, expanding from serving eleven students as a pilot in 2010 to over thirty enrolled students per semester today. The growth in enrollment over the years demonstrates the increasing recognition of the program's importance, as does the program’s recent distinction as a Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary (CTP) program by the U.S. Department of Education. There are currently only eight other such programs in the State of Illinois, with only two others being Community Colleges, meaning options are severely limited for individuals with intellectual disabilities seeking a college education in the area.

Rock Valley College remains dedicated to breaking down barriers, illuminating pathways, and empowering individuals to reach heights that were once thought unattainable. With the support of partners like the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, the RAISE program will continue to thrive and improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

For more information about the RAISE program at Rock Valley College, please visit

About the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois:

The mission of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois is to inspire endowment and promote philanthropy for the current and future needs of the people of Northern Illinois. Since its founding in 1953 CFNIL has granted more than $85 million for charitable purposes. Learn more about CFNIL’s history, grantmaking, and commitment to endowment at