Help Nicole Help Others!

Educating And Bringing Awareness To Liver Disease
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Nicole Shawnte’ Ellis, fondly known as "Nikki" was full of love, life, and passion. A graduate of Pius XI High School in 1996, Marquette University in 2000 and a master’s degree from Chicago State University in 2003. Nikki loved Marquette University, its sports programs, and especially men’s and women’s basketball so much she decided to become a manager on the women’s basketball team. Her ultimate goal was to become a Sports Attorney, so it was a no-brainer to return to Marquette for law school. She was extremely focused and diligently prepared herself for the LSAT.

Nikki was never able to return to Marquette for law school. She developed Budd-Chari Syndrome, a very rare condition, which quickly claimed her life. Our family was totally devastated and heartbroken, but we knew we had to keep Nikki’s enduring spirit alive.

In 2007, we created The Nicole Ellis Scholarship Fund at Marquette University. The purpose of this scholarship fund is to help students who might not otherwise be afforded a Marquette education. The funds donated to students are managed by the Marquette Ethnic Alumni Association. We are excited to honor our daughter knowing that her spirit will live on through this legacy.

What we have learned from Nikki’s death is that liver disease has become one of the nation’s fastest growing serious health concerns and even though the liver is the largest internal organ in the body, it’s neither the most popular, nor the best understood. By supporting and donating a portion of funds to the Community Liver Alliance (CLA) we hope to help bring more awareness and education to this very important cause. Nikki was a very generous person and her passion for giving encourages us to give back even more. So, included in our donations of giving are other organizations such as Variety, the Children's Charity of WI, the March of Dimes, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Salvation Army’s Toys for Tots.

Our family will never recover from her loss, and we miss her with us each and every day. Through the efforts of The Nicole Ellis Foundation we will continue to honor our daughter's life and her enduring spirit.

With much love and appreciation, we truly hope we can count on your support and helping us in our efforts.

Bo, Candy and Christina Ellis

Our Mission

The Mission of the Nicole Ellis Foundation is to keep Nicole’s spirit and passion alive in our memories by doing what she loved to do best… help others. The Foundation does this through contributions to The MU Ethnic Alumni Association and select non-for-profit organizations such as The Community Liver Alliance (CLA), Variety, the Children’s Charity of Wisconsin, The March of Dimes, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Salvation Army Toys-for-Tots.

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With the support of donors like you, the Nicole Ellis Foundation can continue to help further the education of students through the Marquette University Ethnic Alumni Association. Donations also support educational and research efforts of the Community Liver Alliance (CLA); helping to promote and protect the health and well-being of children of Variety – The Children’s Charity of Wisconsin; and funds lifesaving research and programs to end premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality for The March of Dimes.

Four ways to become a supporter:
  1. Attend the 2022 Warrior Day Golf Outing
  2. Become a sponsor
  3. Donate auction items
  4. Volunteer

Feel free to contact us with any questions.


Charities of Choice…

Upcoming Event

The 15th Annual Warrior Day Golf Outing

We invite you to join us for the 15th Annual Warrior Day Golf Outing on Monday, July 18, 2022. The event has been a huge success in years past and helps to raise money to support the Nicole Ellis Foundation. Check out our pictures from our previous outings on the links below! You can also view the brochure and auction form below.

 In Memory of Dr. Henry Roepke
Dr. Henry Roepke
Dr. Henry Roepke

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In the News...

Bo was recently featured on ESPN’s 30 for 30 titled “Untucked”. The short film tells the story of how a jersey design helped lead a team to a national title. Read more…
Q&A with Bo and Cynthia Ellis – Marquette University Fundraiser Honorees
by: Hermene D. Hartman, N’DIGO

Read More…

2022 Alumni National Award – Marquette University

Bo and his wife, Candy, have long exhibited leadership and service off the court, too, speaking often about the importance of helping others and “paying it forward.”

Read More…

Shaka and Maya Smart
Shaka and Maya Smart make major gift to help students cover emergency expenses.

Read article


2022 Marquette University Alumni Dinner

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We'd love to hear from you

    The Nicole Ellis Foundation

    P.O. Box 569
    South Holland, IL 60473
    phone: 708-203-4708
    fax: 708-596-2498email:

    Four ways to become a supporter:

    1. Attend the 2022 Warrior Day Golf Outing
    2. Become a sponsor
    3. Donate auction items
    4. Volunteer
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