The DeKalb County Community Foundation and the NIU Art Museum are thrilled to announce the Friends of NIU Art Museum Endowment Fund. This new Designated Fund provides annual financial support to the NIU Art Museum to further their mission of serving campus and community by balancing traditional and contemporary art to explore connections through visual culture. The Fund was created by long-time NIU supporters and local philanthropists, Jerry and Annette Johns.

“We are grateful to longtime friends of the museum, Annette and Jerry Johns, who generously thought to start this endowment fund,” said Josephine Burke, director of the NIU Art Museum. “Their foresight and valuing of cultural assets within the community will help to ensure our ability to continue to serve the greater DeKalb community now and in the future. This vital fund helps to support the museum’s exhibitions, programs and the preservation of its permanent collection.”

Since 2002, Jerry and Annette Johns have shared their passion for education, the arts, and the community they love through establishing several endowed Funds with the Community Foundation.

Annette’s diverse background and interests include studying and teaching in the areas of education (elementary and college level), reading, philosophy, and theatre arts. She has served as part of the Kishwaukee Symphony Associates, the Bethlehem Lutheran Church Food Pantry and Church Council, and as a docent with the Ellwood House.

Jerry, along with Annette, grew up in Michigan and received his Bachelor’s degree in education, a Master’s degree in elementary education, and a Ph.D. in education with a specialization in reading. He has served on the Board of Directors for a variety of local nonprofit organizations and has served through his church and campus ministry.

Jerry and Annette’s personal and professional interests are clearly reflected in the Funds that they directly spearheaded at the Foundation. “We feel very strongly about supporting local organizations that enrich all our lives,” they said. “The DeKalb County Community Foundation helps you put your money where your heart is.” The Funds they established include: Aikins Theatre Arts Award Fund, Ellwood House Museum Fund, Jerry and Annette Johns CommunityWorks Fund, Jerry and Annette Johns Future Teachers Scholarship Fund, Jerry L. Johns NIU Literacy Clinic Endowment Fund, Johns Family Donor Advised Fund, and the Friends of NIU Art Museum Endowment Fund.

Donations to any Fund at the Community Foundation, including the Friends of NIU Art Museum Endowment Fund, can be made online, or by mail to the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore, Ill. 60178. For questions or additional information on how to start your own fund at the Community Foundation, please contact Executive Director Dan Templin at (815) 748-5383 or