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Young Couple Gives Back Through Forever Scholarship

July 12, 2023

Zach and Janelle Fischels understand the value of education and have experienced first-hand how the generosity of others through scholarships can significantly impact students’ access to these opportunities. The young couple grew up in Iowa, Zach in Independence and Janelle in Marion, meeting on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa.

After graduating from UNI, Zach became a Certified Financial Planner with Northwestern Mutual, where he learned about the charitable options offered by the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa. The couple created the Zach and Janelle Fischels Scholarship Fund to give back to students seeking higher education, and to also achieve their own charitable goals.

“Scholarships helped me significantly to get started in my professional life, and I want others to have the opportunity for the same. I started this fund to have a bigger geographic impact, and to also go the endowed route so I can fund my scholarship up front and it can continue to pay out in perpetuity,” said Zach.

The Zach and Janelle Fischels Scholarship Fund awarded its first scholarship this year after its establishment in May of 2022 with CFNEIA. The needs-based scholarship is for graduating seniors from high schools located in Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Grundy and Tama counties. Recipients must plan to attend the University of Northern Iowa to pursue a degree in the College of Business with a preference for those focusing on Finance.

Zach and Janelle plan to continue their charitable journey through ongoing support to their current fund. They also aspire to establish another fund to support students following the same career path as Janelle, a graduate of Allen College and a nurse at Allen Hospital in Waterloo.

Scholarship Recipient: Emily Erdelt

Emily is the first recipient of the Zach and Janelle Fischels Scholarship and the recipient of the Denise A Smock Memorial Scholarship, scholarships of CFNEIA and the Buchanan County Community Foundation, respectively. Emily is a 2023 graduate of Independence High School in Independence and will be attending the University of Northern Iowa.

“These scholarships have impacted my transition to college by making me feel more comfortable about my decision to continue my education. During high school, I was involved in a number of extracurriculars which allowed me to grow my leadership skills and make connections. Scholarships allow me to feel like I can go college to reach my occupational goals and still be able to manage my tuition.”
2023 Another Record Year for CFNEIA Scholarships

A majority of our 2023 scholarships have been awarded and we are excited to report that this year will be another record year for scholarships awarded through CFNEIA! CFNEIA will eclipse last year’s total of $635,000! Thanks to the generosity of donors throughout our history who have placed a priority on supporting students on their educational journey.

CFNEIA is the largest independent scholarship provider in northeast Iowa outside of colleges and universities. The vision of our generous donors makes this possible and creates a positive impact on the lives of students today and will for generations to come.