CFMC announces $150,000 donor advised grant to support Decatur Public Schools Prep Academy

Since 2021, CFMC donors have contributed $230,000 to the DPS Prep Academy

Macon County – The Community Foundation of Macon County today announced a $150,000 donor advised grant from Dr. Elizabeth Jeffery and David Snoeyenbos to Decatur Public Schools District #61 to support their Prep Academy. The grant funding will be distributed over two years, $75,000 now and $75,000 in January 2024.

The Prep Academy is a partnership between Decatur Public Schools District #61 and Richland Community College, offering selected DPS students the opportunity to earn their high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree from Richland upon completion of the 4-year program during high school.

“DPS is so thankful to the donors for this tremendous contribution to support the district’s Prep Academy,” said Ashley Grayned, DPS Executive Director of Innovative Programs and Strategic Planning. “To be able to earn a college degree, for free, while completing a high school education is an option that’s not available in all districts. The fact that we’re offering it in Decatur Public Schools will give our students a competitive edge for both future college and career opportunities.”

The program is free for DPS students, who take classes both from DPS teachers and Richland professors at no cost to them or their families. The Prep Academy is now enrolling their third cohort of students. For more information Decatur Public Schools eighth graders can visit or contact The application deadline is January 30.

Prep Academy participants begin their freshman year on their high school campus. The first year includes various college-ready topics to aid with preparation for college-level coursework goals. Prep Academy sophomore students continue on their high school campus and will earn 12 college credit hours. Third year Prep Academy students may transition to RCC’s campus five mornings per week and have the opportunity to earn 24 credit hours. During their third-year experience, students continue working on the general education core curriculum and begin exploring college course electives. The Prep Academy concludes with seniors earning the remaining 24 credit hours, fulfilling the requirements of their high school diploma and associate degree.

As Macon County’s community foundation, the CFMC combines the contributions of donors past and present to distribute grants that help make our community better for all. Through the donor advised fund partnership, CFMC staff worked closely with Dr. Jeffery and Snoeyenbos to identify organizations that fit within the couple’s giving priorities and interests. "We greatly appreciate how much detail and valuable information the CFMC provides on each agency and their mission, which is helpful to our education and important in building a long-term relationship," said Dr. Jeffery.

Jeffery has a PhD in biochemistry and is retired from a career in nutrition research at the University of Illinois, Urbana. Snoeyenbos is retired from an engineering and fabrication business that he developed.

The couple created their fund with the CFMC in 2001 and moved their private foundation to the CFMC in 2004. Their fund is the foundation’s seventh fund. With the addition of the Jeffery/Snoeyenbos funding, CFMC donors have contributed $230,000 to support the Prep Academy since its inception in 2021.