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Philanthropists Donate $250K to Open Non-Profit Education Center

Local Businessman and Wife Donate $250,000 to New Non-Profit Educational Center.

The 44,000 square ft. facility called, The Dream Center, is located on the former Ursuline Academy and Benedictine Campus on Springfield’s North end. This brand-new educational center, which focuses on teaching young people the trades, has just received a $250,000 donation from Frank and Linda Vala.

“We are happy to announce that we are now called, ‘The Frank and Linda Vala Dream Center of Sangamon County’, and former Dawson Hall is officially called, Vala Hall,” says Chief Operations Officer, Sara Schafer. She continues, “A donation of such significance is truly noteworthy and such a blessing. This gift will help so many young people realize a bright future in the trades along with classes in STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering, Arts & Math). The Vala’s generosity will be life changing for many who may not want to go to college and instead learn a trade.”

The Frank and Linda Vala Dream Center of Sangamon County just opened their doors last year and already has 60+ students learning electrical, plumbing, barbering, framing, drywall and more. These classes are offered free of charge.

While trades are the central focus there are already two “Sports Camps” scheduled for this summer and many more new classes coming this Fall. All registration and information can be found at

Frank and Linda Vala’s life of philanthropy runs deep in Springfield and beyond. “The Vala’s generosity towards those who are less privileged is well documented. While often their gifts have gone unnoticed, it is our desire to honor such kind and giving people by re-naming our building and adding their name to our mission,” says Schafer.

The Frank and Linda Vala Dream Center of Sangamon County exists to help, encourage, resource, and train students in a number of practical educational paths. “We are not in competition with anyone,” says Schafer, “we work with public school, private school, and homeschools students to help them become well-rounded, educated, and contributing members of society.

Initially the Vala’s gift will help with securing teachers, high quality curriculum and infrastructure upgrades. However, the Vala’s have already given beyond their initial cash donation by fully equipping a beautiful computer lab where students can learn much needed job skills as well as fill out on-line job applications. They are also helping stock the food pantry and clothing closet that it utilized by the students.

The Frank and Linda Vala Dream Center is making a difference in our community and the Vala’s generous gift has given the Center a shot in the arm to do just that.


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