Erica Paulissen Remembered Through Scholarship

The Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley is honored to announce the Erica Lynn Paulissen Scholarship Fund. The Fund provides two scholarships of $500 each, awarded to graduating seniors from high schools in Kankakee and Iroquois Counties.

Erica Paulissen was the daughter of Jeff and Debbie Paulissen, born in Kankakee on December 15, 1997. She was a 2016 graduate of Herscher High School and Kankakee Community College. Erica was attending Governor’s State University where she was just five classes away from receiving a dual Bachelor of Arts Degree in Accounting and Finance, and was a full-time manager of a local Dairy Queen when her life was taken by a hit and run vehicle on October 14, 2019.

“Erica also operated an online business in her spare time. To say she was a results-driven young woman would be an understatement. Erica loved to travel, write poetry and was a voracious reader,” said David Paulissen, Erica’s uncle.

The Paulissen family created the Erica Lynn Paulissen Scholarship fund to honor her legacy and further the educational opportunities of local graduating seniors.  An officer of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Erica was driven overall to succeed as a female entrepreneur and support those around her in discovering their purpose.  Erica’s lifelong passion for literature, music and world culture were undeniable as you got to know her.  During her short life, Erica dedicated her energy to developing a sense of pride and purpose that will continue to inspire. Erica’s focus, maturity, warmth, and intelligence will be her legacy.

Donations to any fund at the Community Foundation, including the Erica Paulissen Scholarship Fund, can be made online at, or by mail to the Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley, 701 S Harrison Ave, Kankakee, IL 60901. For questions or additional information on funds, please contact Executive Director Nicole Smolkovich at 815-939-1611 or