Sycamore, IL – The DeKalb County Community Foundation is honored to announce the Cindy Graves Nursing Scholarship Fund. The scholarship was created by Graves’ children, Brandon and Ethan, and her good friend, Janet Hunt. The Fund honors Cindy Graves, a DeKalb County public health nurse who had a tremendous impact on the community.
The scholarship is awarded annually to DeKalb County residents currently working as nursing professionals and continuing their education in nursing to grow professionally and better serve their patients.
Born on August 20, 1960, in Carthage, Illinois, Cindy graduated from Sycamore High School in 1978. She attended Northern Illinois University and earned a bachelor’s in elementary education. She later received a registered nursing degree from Kishwaukee College (1985), a bachelor’s degree in nursing from NIU (1989), and a master’s degree in health care administration from St. Francis College (2013).
Cindy was a registered nurse at Kishwaukee Hospital for 30 years – working as a pediatric nurse and emergency room RN, house supervisor, ER charge nurse, EMS educator, EMS coordinator, and ER director (2005 – 2012). From 2012 until her passing, Cindy worked at the DeKalb County Health Department as the director of community health and prevention, health promotion, and emergency preparedness.
Outside of work, Cindy was active in the community. She served as council president at Salem Lutheran Church in Sycamore. In addition, she was a member and president of the Illinois Public Health Nurses Association and served on the board of directors for the Children’s Advocacy Center.
Cindy Graves Nursing Scholarship applicants must live in DeKalb County but need not be working in DeKalb County. Preference is given to student applicants currently working in and/or pursuing additional education in the nursing specialization areas of public health nursing, emergency medicine, or pediatrics. Students may attend any accredited educational institution, college, or university.
The Scholarship Fund distributed its inaugural award in July 2023. Congratulations to the recipient Nicole Fitzpatrick of DeKalb. Nicole is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing from Northern Illinois University. She is also the simulation lab coordinator at the NIU School of Nursing. Her prior work experience includes 21 years at Kishwaukee Hospital. “I was blessed to have known Cindy Graves before she transitioned to her role at the DeKalb County Health Department,” said Nicole. “I am invested in this community and proud to have cared for the people who live in it. I want to help increase patients’ quality of care by helping to produce nurses with excellent clinical skills and clinical judgment.”
“Cindy’s compassion and skills as a nursing professional touched the lives of many patients and residents in DeKalb County. This endowed Scholarship Fund will invest in the professional development of generations of nurses to come,” said Foundation Executive Director Dan Templin.
Donations to any Fund at the Community Foundation, including the Cindy Graves Nursing Scholarship Fund, can be made online at dekalbccf.org/donate or by mail to the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, IL 60178. For questions or to discuss setting up a Fund that honors someone you love and admire, please contact Executive Director Dan Templin at 815-748-5383 or email@example.com.
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