Davidson Memorial Fund
The Davidson Memorial Fund is named for David and Mary Helen Davidson, two adult education practitioners in Illinois.  Mary Helen taught at the Eldorado Adult Center and the Lawrence Adult Education Center.  She served as President of IACEA.  David was in the adult education section of the Illinois State Board of Education.  He served as the coordinator of the Work Incentive Program (WIN).  After their untimely deaths in 1983, IACEA sought contributions for a memorial fund to honor the couple.  Originally the  Venture Grant was created from those contributions.  In later years, the Davidson Memorial Scholarship and most recently the COABE National Conference Grant were incorporated into the Davidson Memorial.  When Will Leinicke lost his courageous battle with cancer in December of 2004, his wife, Kris, and son, Sam, generously named IACEA as his memorial, knowing how important the association and the enterprise of adult education was to him.  In appreciation of Will’s service to the field and the contributions to the association, the IACEA board voted to rename the Venture Grant the Will Leinicke Memorial Grant and to add his memorial contributions to the fund.  Currently the Davidson Memorial is the umbrella for IACEA’s two grants – the Will Leinicke Memorial Grant and the COABE Grant and one scholarship –the Davidson Memorial Scholarship – all of which are available to our members.


Will Leinicke Memorial Grant

The Will Leinicke Memorial Grant is named for a dedicated member and past president (2001-2002) of IACEA. He was a leader, an advocate, and a role model for adult educators. As a GED instructor, he challenged his students to think critically. Because he was a man of diverse interests he introduced his students to new experiences and ideas far beyond the confines of the traditional classroom and curriculum. As the Director of the Center for Adult Learning Leadership, he encouraged his colleagues to think outside the box. Whether he was facilitating a meeting, conducting a professional development event, writing an article to disseminate to the field, or just engaging them in conversation, he always asked the probing questions that caused them to dig deeper into their minds – to reflect and consider – and to grow. As an IACEA board member, he was a fervent advocate for our profession and the adult learners that we serve. His creative energy, his enthusiasm, and his passion for adult education were contagious. Some saw him as a mentor. Some saw him as a valued partner in a cause in which we all truly believe. We all saw him as a valued colleague and friend. Will was one of a kind – a presence that impacted those around him. The adult education community lost one of its best when Will died. His legacy will live on both in the memories of shared experiences and in the work funded by these grants.  Through this memorial, Will continues to serve the field of adult education, which he so dearly loved.

The Will Leinicke Memorial Grants are for IACEA members to support activities or projects in the field of adult basic education through the secondary level.  The overall purpose of the grants are to promote:

  • field-based, practitioner-developed activities for student/faculty growth,
  • program improvement through enhanced curriculum, instruction, assessment, counseling, student services, research/evaluation, or community involvement.
  • Will Leinicke Memorial Grant Application


Davidson Memorial Scholarship

  • Applicants shall have been employed in some capacity in the delivery of adult education services in Illinois during the past year.
  • Applicants shall show evidence of genuine financial need.
  • Applicants must enroll in courses in professional adult education, or courses related to the profession, at an institution of higher education, during the semester or quarter for which assistance is received.
  • Each applicant must obtain sponsorship of an IACEA member, who will attest to need and sincerity of applicant.
  • Davidson Memorial Scholarship Application


The overall purpose of the grants is to enrich professional development opportunities through:

  • national networking,
  • exposure to national issues in the field of adult education and family literacy, and
  • experience presenting in a national forum to promote Illinois practices in adult education and family literacy.
  • COABE National Conference Grant Application