The Huff family believed strongly in a Catholic education. When George and Florence moved to the area in 1941, they chose to live in Galesburg because it had what they considered the best Catholic school in the area for their daughters Alice, Betty, and Kathleen. George drove 100 miles each day to his job as mine superintendent in Fairview, Illinois. “It was a sacrifice my grandfather gladly endured to allow his daughters to attend the Catholic school in Galesburg,” explains Alice’s son, Nick Poulos.
After graduating, Alice stayed in Galesburg, where she married Peter Poulos and had five children. Nick was their oldest. He remembers how it became a struggle for his parents to afford tuition for his younger siblings. “My grandparents had a fervent desire for a Catholic education for their grandchildren and stepped up to sacrifice again to ensure that we received an education in the Catholic school system.”
When the youngest of Nick’s siblings started school, his mom headed to school herself, working as a secretary in Catholic schools for 39 years. Alice retired almost two decades ago, but Nick still runs into former students who want to share their memories of Alice. “They tell me how great she was, how helpful and kind.”
Alice was always close to her sister Betty, and when both of their husband’s passed, they decided to move in together. “They were more than sisters,” says Nick. “They were best friends.”
When Alice passed in 2017, Betty moved in with Nick and his family and the two would often reminisce about their experiences in the Catholic school system in Galesburg. Both felt strongly about the education they had received and how their personal values had been shaped by that education. Betty shared with Nick that she wanted to find a way to honor her sister and parents. “She wanted to provide financial assistance to those families that wanted a Catholic education for their children but would be struggling to do so due to financial hardships,” says Nick. “She spoke of a ‘Poulos-Huff Fund’ to honor both her sister Alice and her parents.”
Betty passed before she could see her plan finalized, but Nick wanted to make sure her final wishes were met. Nick contacted a former classmate who referred him to Galesburg Attorney Jim Blake. “Nick Poulos contacted me to see if I could help with setting up the endowment fund,” said Blake. “It was important to me as well because I am one of those students who has fond memories of Alice Poulos during my time at Costa Catholic School. I knew that the Galesburg Community Foundation would be able to manage the endowment and allow the Poulos Family to be as active in the endeavor as they chose to be. It was a great fit for both parties.”
Nick worked with Joshua Gibb and Sarah Grant at the Foundation. “I kind of knew what I wanted,” says Nick. “With their help, the process was very simple.”
The Alice F. Poulos (Huff) Endowment Fund for Tuition Assistance is a permanent endowed fund, where the principal is invested and grows forever. Each year, Costa Catholic Academy in Galesburg receives a distribution to help families who need financial help paying for tuition.
Nick is now working to get the word out about how individuals can help their alma mater. Last summer, he went to a class reunion at Costa, where he talked about the endowed fund named for his mother. “My mom helped over the years to keep a lot of kids in school. This is a way to keep her work going forward.”
Is there a cause you care about or someone who you would like to honor through philanthropy? Reach out to Sarah or Joshua by calling 309.344.8898 or email info@YourGCF.org.