The DuPage Foundation is pleased to announce the hiring of Laura Ernst and Rachel Szymanski as new staff members.

Ernst, in her new role as program associate, will be responsible for the administration of the Foundation’s grant processes including scholarships and grants from our donor-advised, agency, and designated, Community Needs, and Bright & Early DuPage programs.

“I am very excited to be starting as a program associate,” said Ernst. “I am honored to join the DuPage Foundation in its great work throughout the county.”

Ernst, a lifelong resident of Naperville, graduated from Knox College in June 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and minors in Economics and Business & Management. She also studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. After earning her degree, Ernst completed a year of full-time service as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Northern Illinois Food Bank. She is succeeding Elizabeth DiNovis, who, after three years of dedicated service as the Foundation’s program associate, was recently accepted into the University of Illinois at Chicago’s master’s program in Public Health and will be pursuing a concentration in Health Policy and Administration.

Szymanski, in her new role as development associate, will assist with all aspects of donor relations and marketing and communications efforts.

A native of Michigan, Szymanski has previously worked for several not-forprofits in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan, most recently as senior administrative assistant for the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. She also held the position of program director at Neithercut Philanthropy Advisors, a Detroit-based consulting firm, which specializes in helping high-networth families and foundations reach their philanthropic goals.

“I am thrilled to join the Foundation as the new development associate,” said Szymanski. “I am excited to assist in our efforts to connect donors with causes they care about and to help spread the word about the variety of giving opportunities available through the DuPage Foundation.”

Szymanski holds a Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Music Performance from Albion College. She is now a resident of Downers Grove.

About the DuPage Foundation

The DuPage Foundation seeks to raise the quality of life throughout DuPage County by fostering philanthropy, connecting donors to area needs and building community partnerships. Based on the American virtues of volunteerism and philanthropy, the Foundation fosters a legacy of support for the people of DuPage County by making grants to not-for-profit organizations working in the areas of Arts and Culture, Education, the Environment, Health, and Human Services. Since its inception, the Foundation has built its endowment to more than $65 million and awarded more than $27 million in grants to not-for-profit agencies serving the residents of DuPage County and beyond.

Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, the DuPage Foundation was established in 1986 and is a publiclysupported 501(c)(3) organization to which contributions are tax deductible. It was created to benefit the people of DuPage County and receives contributions and bequests into a permanent endowment from individuals, corporations, organizations and foundations wishing to make lasting contributions to the people of DuPage. The earnings on these funds are then used, in accordance with donor wishes, for the Foundation’s grantmaking and community leadership activities.

For more information about the Foundation, or to arrange future media opportunities, please contact William Pearch, marketing manager, at 630.598.5290, or

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