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History of the Illinois Counseling Association Foundation

In July 2003 past ICA presidents LaCleta Hall, Lenora and Ray Hylander, Harvey Kelber, Dick Longfellow, Bob Nejedlo, Melanie Rawlins, and Merlin Schultz met to discuss Merlin’s American Counseling Association (ACA) trust.  It was decided that charitable foundation needed to be established.  Melanie Rawlins agreed to take the lead role in this process of having the Illinois Counseling Association Foundation registered with the IRS as a charitable foundation, which generally takes three to nine months.


Earl Bracey, J.D., an attorney at Western Illinois University (who also has his masters in counseling), worked with Rawlins to complete the IRS application.  By March 2004 Articles of Incorporation (modeled after ACA’s) and Bylaws were written, edited by then foundation directors (LaCleta Hall, Bob Nejedlo, Toni Tollerud, Lenora Hylander, and Melanie Rawlins), and finalized.  A brochure to solicit funds and a fund raising plan were developed.  These steps had to be done before applications could be completed.  The EIN, IRS, Secretary of State, and Attorney General application forms were submitted in April 2004.   The ICA Past Presidents were asked to contribute to the start-up costs which they did.  Two amendments/rewrites were required.  The IRS personnel were most helpful.


On January 25, 2005, the Illinois Counseling Association Foundation achieved a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status from the IRS.  Past ICA President Merlin W. Schultz requested to be the first contributor.  In November 2005 these ICA members took advantage of the opportunity to be recognized as founding members by contributing $1,000:  Dale Septeowski, Dale Budslick, Larry Rawlins, Melanie Rawlins, Toni Tollerud, and Robert Nejedlo. The Foundation is an independent organization which functions to facilitate the improvement of counseling services for the citizens of Illinois through grants and programs. 


Through ICA member contributions and investment earnings the Illinois Counseling Association Foundation began awarding two types of grants in 2007 in the amount of $500.  By 2011 the grants were increased to $1,000.   The Merlin W. Schultz Professional Development Grant and the Melanie E. Rawlins Research Grant were named to honor these ICA members for their unique support toward the Foundation.  In 2013 the Robert  J. Nejedlo Social Emphasis Grant was initiated following the Schultz bequest.  


Merlin W. Schultz supported, mentored, and guided the Foundation from its inception until his death in February 2012. The Illinois Counseling Association Foundation is the recipient of over 1.5 million dollars from Schultz.  For more information see the Schultz Tribute on this website.   It is a challenge and an opportunity for the Foundation to move forward and utilize this money as Merlin Schultz directed.  The Illinois Counseling Association Foundation Board of Directors is honored by the trust Mr. Schultz placed in the Foundation, and is dedicated to shepherding his legacy.  The Foundation Directors are working to establish goals to broaden the scope of the Foundation in keeping with Mr. Schultz’s wishes and to develop additional criteria for awarding and processing grants and funding projects.


by Dr. Melanie Rawlins,  Illinois Counseling Association Foundation President, October 2013    


 In January 2017 the Secretary of State approved the Illinois Counseling Association Foundation's request to conduct business as; Schultz Foundation for Advancing Counseling.  

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