Funds that support the Prairie Area Teaching Initiative

MSS 02
Above: Students in the PATI program (formerly MSS) at UIS.

Make a difference for Students in the Prairie Area Teaching Initiative (PATI)

Your gift in any amount to the funds below provide support for the students enrolled in Prairie Area Teaching Intiative (PATI) , If you are wondering what this initiative is, please use the link to learn more — it’s a wonderful program. You can use the “Donate” button to give online. Thank you!
PATI was formerly known as the Midstate Student Support for Teaching, or MSS, project. We are working on changing the fund names below, but for now please understand that all the  funds below will provide support for the Prairie Area Teaching Initiative (PATI), the provides the same great services that MSS did.

General Support

Prairie Area Teaching Initiative Fund (PATI)

Give here to provide unrestricted support for the program. Your gifts will help to meet the many and varied unexpected expenses that arise from this program.

Ralph and Betty Hurwitz Prairie Area Teaching Initiative (PATI) Fund

This scholarship is part of a larger gift given by Ralph and Betty Hurwitz, long-time residents of Springfield. They established this larger fund to achieve three things for the PATI program (at that time called MSS): provide this current-use scholarship, help to purchase computers and other technology, and meet other needs in the program. Your gifts to this fund will extend the impact of the Hurwitzes’ gift. Of note: Ralph Hurwitz, a realtor and developer in Springfield, was among the Springfield leaders who helped to establish Sangamon State University (which later became the University of Illinois Springfield). This group met every Saturday for a year locating and securing the land for the university, so we have much for which to thank Mr. Hurwitz!

Scholarship Funds

Peggy and Micah Bartlett Scholarship – Project Prairie Area Teaching Initiative (PATI) Program

Micah Bartlett was in the first generation of his family to graduate from college, earning an accounting degree from UIS and then going on to earn an MBA and his CPA license. Today Micah is president and CEO of Town and Country Financial Corporation.  His wife, Peggy Bartlett, has also worked in banking. She now owns Colour Line Hair Studio in Geneva, Illinois.
In 2008, Peggy and Micah visited a class with students from what is now the Prairie Area Teaching Initiative program, which helps to prepare students to become teachers. Many of the students in the program are first-generation college students like Micah. The Bartletts were impressed with the students’ commitment and drive, and because they believe so strongly in education, they created a scholarship for students in the program.

Melinda A. & Alfred B. LaBarre Scholarship

As a former teacher, principal and Ball Foundation Consultant to the Springfield Ball Charter School, as well as member of Springfield’s District 186 School Board, Melinda LaBarre has invested many years in the educational integrity of Springfield’s students. Melinda and her husband, attorney Alfred “Pete” LaBarre, have established the Melinda A. and Alfred B. LaBarre Scholarship which will honor a qualified high school graduate of Springfield’s public school district with a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 upon graduation. Students must also be accepted into the UIS Prairie Area Teaching Initiative program to qualify for the scholarship.


We welcome your inquiries. Please feel free to contact us.