December 05, 2019

Poshards establish endowment for ‘Renewing Illinois’ initiative

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute has 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 gift will establish an endowment for the 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 leaders of tomorrow.”

In a statement, the Poshards said the 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 that 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.

Inaugural Renewing Illinois Summit

On March 28-29, 35 students from nine Illinois colleges and universities – both public and private – attended the Institute’s inaugural Renewing Illinois summit, “Ambitious Dreams and Practical Steps to Revive the Prairie State.” They came from every corner of the state and brought wide-ranging backgrounds and important insights.

2020 Renewing Illinois Summit

The 2020 Renewing Illinois summit will be on campus on April 2-3. The theme is “One Illinois: Noble Aspiration or Impossible Dream?”

The Institute expects the 2020 summit will bring 60 to 70 students to SIU Carbondale and include area community colleges and four-year Illinois universities. After the summit’s conclusion, the Institute will invite some of the students to an event in 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. The summit provides a platform for the next generation of leaders to have their voices heard on critical issues and become empowered to make the creative change our state requires.

To learn more about the Institute’s Renewing Illinois summit please visit our website at