Governor Pritzker attends Red Cross and Rockford Fire Department Smoke Alarm Installation Event

Dozens of volunteers from around the American Red Cross of Northwest Illinois chapter area gathered on Saturday, January 12 to help make the Rockford area safer as part of the Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. campaign.

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Governor-elect JB Pritzker supported the event as part of his “Day of Service,” featuring service opportunities in cities across Illinois ahead of his inauguration on January 14.

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Volunteers gathered at the chapter office for the American Red Cross of Northwest Illinois.

Sound the Alarm is part of the larger Home Fire Campaign, an initiative to help make homes across the country more prepared for the event of a fire by having volunteers install free smoke alarms and provide fire safety education. Having a working smoke alarm in your home cuts your risk of dying in a home fire by nearly 50%.

The temperature hovered around 30 degrees as volunteer teams of 3 from the Red Cross, the Rockford Fire Department and Hinshaw Law trekked into Rockford’s Signal Hill neighborhood to begin installations.

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Governor Pritzker and the first lady joined an install team and met with a local family to go over fire safety preparednesss and ensure the home had working smoke alarms before greeting volunteers at the Red Cross chapter office.

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First Lady MK Pritzker, Governor Pritzker and Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois CEO Celena Roldan speak with Rockford homeowner Mapleine Mayweather about home fire safety

 

Overall, 41 homes were made safer with the installation of 134 new smoke alarms!

The Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters a year, the majority of which are home fires. Working smoke alarms in a home cut the risk of death by half, and having an escape plan further improves the odds of survival. The Red Cross wants to end these tragedies and save lives, the reason why the organization launched the Home Fire Campaign in 2014.

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Red Cross volunteer Scott Otto drills a new smoke alarm into the wall of a Rockford home.

To learn more about the Home Fire Campaign, visit redcross.org. Please help us Sound the Alarm by volunteering to install smoke alarms, making a financial contribution, or taking steps to protect your own family from home fires.

This Spring, the Red Cross will continue to Sound the Alarm with upcoming installation events in neighborhoods and cities across the country and right here in the Chicago & Northern Illinois 21-county region including Austin, Freeport, Bolingbrook, Rockford, North Lawndale, Joliet and more!

Do you or someone you know need a working smoke alarm? Sign up to get one and have volunteers install it for free by filling out the online form at www.getasmokealarm.org.

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About the American Red Cross of Northwest Illinois:

The American Red Cross of Northwest Illinois serves 700,000 people in 10 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at www.redcross.org/Il/Rockford or visit us on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross

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Interning at the Chicago Red Cross

Working at the Chicago chapter of American Red Cross has been a truly valuable experience. As I reflect on my time with the Red Cross, I look back at the person who walked through the front door for an interview, and I now realize that I have a completely different perspective. I am no longer nervous and skeptical to enter the “real world”. After four months of hands-on experience, I now find myself equipped with the essential skills I will need to enter the working world.

As a Marketing and Communications Intern, my duties included but were not limited to: writing press releases and media alerts, scheduling and managing multiple social media platforms, preparing written and visual content for local publications, monitoring traditional media activity and creating web content for the Red Cross Stories blog. These duties gave me the opportunity to develop my professional skills, learn more about marketing and communications, enhance my writing skills, and build my resume and career network.

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But, the very best part about working for the Red Cross is that the work is very interactive and engaging with the community. It was incredible to be a part of an organization that helps people every single day. It made all of the work so much more meaningful knowing that I too, was helping save a life.

Last but not least, a very big thank you to Holly and Joy who were always welcoming, supportive, and accommodating. Thank you, Red Cross!

Written by Adisa Suljic, Marketing & Communications intern for the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois

Meet Sue Brenner: 17 Years of Making an Impact at The Red Cross of Chicago and Northern Illinois

The Red Cross of Chicago and Greater Northern Illinois is fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers who have been working with us for years. One of those volunteers, who has worked with the Red Cross of Chicago for about 17 years, is Sue Brenner.

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Sue volunteering to answer phones at the CBS Telethon in 2016

 

After getting her masters in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy, Sue and her husband moved to Chicago where she worked as a preschool teacher and as a director of a preschool for many years. “When I was ready to leave that job, I knew I wanted to do something hands on, and the Red Cross seemed like it would give me that opportunity,” Sue said.

Sue started out as a Disaster Action Team volunteer, which meant being on-call to respond to fires and help the people affected. Eventually, Sue and several other team members decided that they needed more volunteers to respond to fires. Together, they helped develop a program to build up the volunteer corps, which Sue now describes as a “robust volunteer corps put together over the years.”

After 10 years of working 2-3 days a week in Volunteer Leadership, Sue decided to scale back a bit. She now works once a week on casework for victims of fires. “I call clients who have had a fire and I ask how they are doing, if they were able to move back in, if they have insurance, or any other disaster related needs.” Through working with partners, Sue is able to provide victims with resources to help them get back on their feet. This can be anywhere from a week to a multi-week process depending on the case.

One aspect that Sue emphasized as crucial for recovering more quickly from a fire, is by having insurance. “I am a big fan and cheerleader of insurance and rental insurance! It is really important and not expensive, and people get back on their feet so much quicker.”

Some of the biggest obstacles for Sue’s clients can often be finding new housing. “Once they find something we can give them referrals to partner agencies who might be able to give them furniture. But a lot of times just getting a client placed in a new home can be quite challenging.”

In addition to casework, Sue is involved in many other areas of the Red Cross: “I teach a Disaster Supervision class for people working in Disaster who are going to become supervisors. I’ve also participated in the Home Fire Campaign to put smoke alarms in people’s homes- which is always a really worthwhile thing to be doing.”

Out of all of Sue’s involvement in her 17 years of working with the Red Cross, she did not hesitate when asked what stands out to her the most: “I think the building up of the volunteer base is the thing that I would be the most proud of. And I didn’t do that by myself- it took a lot of work from a lot of people. But of all the things we’ve done that would be one I am the most proud of.”

Thank you, Sue for all of your hard work over these past 17 years!

Interested in volunteering with the Red Cross and helping with events like these? Visit www.redcross.org/volunteer to find a volunteer opportunity for you!

Written by Sophie Kendrick, Communications and Marketing Intern

Local Volunteer Geoff Fishwick is Always At the Ready

A crucial part of being a Red Cross volunteer is the commitment and willingness to be “at the ready” in the face of disaster. While people across the country were watching Hurricane Florence barrel towards the Carolinas at an alarming category 4 pace, Red Cross volunteers began preparing for possible deployment.

To get a better idea of what exactly volunteer deployment is, what it involves, and what the experience is like, we’re sharing the experience of a local Chicago Red Cross volunteer who has recently returned from deployment.

Meet Geoff Fishwick: Now living in Wheaton but born and raised in the city, Geoff considers himself a true Chicagoan. After retiring from work as a manager of a commodity trading firm, Geoff was drawn to the Red Cross through his familiarity with responsibility and collaborating with others in order to accomplish a goal. He has been with the Red Cross for about 8.5 years and this was his third long-term deployment of 2 or more weeks.

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Volunteer Geoff Fishwick of Wheaton, IL

For this deployment, Geoff was mostly stationed in Florence, South Carolina where he worked in logistics for about 13 days. When asked about the role he usually takes on in volunteer situations, Geoff described himself as, “short- not only in stature but in talk. I try and be friendly and open to everybody and say, this is what we need to have done, and this is how I’d like to see it done.”

Being activated for deployment often occurs on very short notice. Geoff said if he has the time, and approval of his family, he usually puts himself down for two weeks of deployment. When a hurricane hits and he gets that phone call, Geoff is ready to go. Geoff says that the Red Cross of Chicago has made him very well trained as a volunteer, especially in roles such as shelter manager and kitchen manager. He emphasizes that flexibility during deployment is important: “you have to be willing to take on whatever comes your way.”

For those of us who have never been deployed to aid in disaster relief, Geoff explains a little bit about what it’s like: “An average day on deployment usually means getting up pretty early for a meeting at the shelter to say ‘this is what we’re looking for.’ After that I’d usually meet up with my logistics team and look at what supplies had to be moved and how many shelters needed to be opened to meet the needs of the people. At the end of the day, you try and prepare for the next day as best you can.”

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A memory that sticks out for Geoff was when one day, while volunteering at an elementary school that had been turned into a shelter, Geoff and other volunteers came across a rattlesnake that was blocking the entrance to the building. “Let me think of a nice way to say this… the rattlesnake expired. We had to get rid of it.”

Of course, some of Geoff’s more personal experiences with members of the communities stood out to him as the most meaningful parts of his trip. “People thanking you… that can be moving,” Geoff said.

“One woman I met came up and thanked me for saving her and her kid’s life. It bothers you because you’re going away and you can’t help them forever. But that’s part of your job, and I am just grateful to be a part of it. ”

Interested in volunteering with the Red Cross and helping with disasters big and small? Visit www.redcross.org/volunteer to find a volunteer opportunity for you!

 

About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:

The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at redcross.org/il/chicago or visit us on Twitter @ChicagoRedCross.

Written by Sophie Kendrick, Communications and Marketing Intern

Fire and Ash: ‘Volcan de Fuego’ Leaves its Ongoing Mark of Terror on the Beautiful Nation of Guatemala

Cameron Macpherson spent summer 2018 interning with the American Red Cross Communications and Marketing team. Guatemala experienced the volcano eruption just weeks prior to Cameron’s start date at the American Red Cross and this news shaped his thinking around disaster response. This article reflects Cameron’s learning, both during trips to Guatemala as well as while interning at the Red Cross.

By: Cameron Macpherson

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Volcan de Fuego

On June 5, 2018, the deadliest volcano Guatemala experienced since 1902 erupted just 27 miles from its capital, Guatemala City.

That day will forever be impressed upon the memories of many, including me. Having spent time in Guatemala over the years, I have made perhaps some of the most special, lifelong friendships that I will ever make. I would visit an orphanage located in the small town of Santa Apolonia, Guatemala and am still friends with the people I met there.

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On the day of the eruption, I quickly opened up Facebook—it was crucial that I message a longtime friend of mine and former resident of the orphanage who lives in Guatemala City. He’s studying biochemistry at a local university. I needed to be certain that he was not affected, and if he knew whether or not the orphanage was affected as well.

Even in this connected age, contact with the orphanage is relatively tough, but I messaged as many people as I could in Santa Apolonia. What followed was the terrifying wait where all I could do was hope that everyone remained unaffected. When my friend eventually responded to me that Volcan de Fuego had not reached him nor had it reached the orphanage, I rejoiced.

Later that day, people at the orphanage responded with the same story. I am blessed, and continuously grateful that no one I know has been injured, missing or worse. Many were not as fortunate, however. Volcano de Fuego has taken 110 lives, injured 300 and 332 people are still missing.

Some memories do not fade. One day that came to mind during the disaster was not one of neither hope nor sadness, but of a valuable lesson.

Seven years ago, during my first trip to ‘the Hogar’, I was a fourteen-year-old boy with tenacious yet misguided aspirations forthe trip.

Similarly, my perspective of the people in the town of Santa Apolonia and the orphanage was incredibly single-minded leading up to the first day.

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I saw them as people in need. “I was merely there to help them,” was my thought process. The day of the volcano, it was not the adorable faces of the younger kids, nor the warm hospitality and love I had felt since the first minute that came to mind, rather, it was what happened roughly an hour after my arrival during a soccer game with some of the older boys that I remembered.

Growing up, I had a passion for the game of soccer and thought that bringing my Nike soccer ball would be an appropriate gift to the boys, as well as provide a way to connect with the kids and compensate for my poor Spanish speaking ability. Upon reaching the paved courtyard, I spotted three older boys sitting and joking on a bench in the corner. With my limited Spanish vocabulary, I walked over and asked if they wanted to play, and they looked at each other for a moment then warmly smiled and agreed.

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These guys were good … I mean excellent. They passed the ball back and forth in the middle of the game with using only their heads, they used clever moves one only sees on television, they did difficult ‘give and go’ passes and it all seemed effortlessly done.

Somewhere around ten minutes into the game, the ball came to me. I looked up and saw the metal bars the kids had set up as the goal. I aimed, planted and took the shot. It may have been a decent effort, hard to remember, all I really remember was the pain of having the skin on the bottom of my big toe torn off by the concrete. Seriously, do not know what I was thinking wearing flip flops to play soccer in the first place. That, however, is beside the point.

Before I could even process what happened, the three oldest boys in the game; Luciano, Manuel, and Noe helped me up and took me to a nearby room. After sitting me down, Noe bumped me on the shoulder, then joked with me about my poor choice of ’zapatos’ then patted me on the back. Simultaneously, others had already gone to grab warm water, rubbing alcohol and a bandage. The pain I initially felt disappeared in an instant. From the moment I sat down in the room, the three of them joked with me about Messi and Ronaldo, how my name means shrimp in Spanish when spoken aloud and they asked me about my siblings. When I looked down at my toe, it was cleaned off and bandaged up like nothing ever happened.

Feeling somewhat angry and disappointed at myself, I was convinced that more harm than good had been done and that was that. In retrospect, however, I was oblivious.

Oblivious to the fact that the kids shouting my name were simply shouting, ‘shrimp’, oblivious to the effect that concrete and friction causes on a bare toe, and most importantly, oblivious to everything about the orphanage: the people in it and perhaps even Guatemala in general. In a material sense, the kids there had far less than the average American. But, my understanding deepened and I saw that the kids approached life and connection in such a beautiful way. My time at the ‘Hogar’ had taught me something profound yet so simple about what it means to be human.

Everyone has a pivotal moment. For me, that day sparked a journey to become a person who does not view service as an action to give to those I deem less fortunate, but views service and helping others as an end in itself, not the means to the end.

Over the past seven years I have helped build and expand their farm, irrigation system, built a playground, helped the kids write their own stories, organize workshops for math and writing, and even organized a ‘world cup’ for a couple of years (flip-flops were strongly discouraged), along with many smaller projects. The theme was the same for every project, however, I gained more than I gave. And what I gained is something I cannot quantify.

Those kids are now my brothers and sisters and there have been countless ‘flip-flop’ moments since then that make me challenge myself to live up to their standard of morality, of friendship and of humanity.

Nearly two million people in Guatemala have been projected to be in danger from ash fallout. The long terms effects of this could be (another) national catastrophe for Guatemala.

The Volcano that I have seen for years now during my visits, is causing far more harm than it did just a few days after the eruption. The ash covers nearly half the country.

On the day of the eruption, the American Red Cross mobilized around-the-clock rescue teams. The Guatemalan Red Cross is currently assisting in finding the 332 people still missing and is now accepting requests for cases in which family contact has been lost due to the eruption.

Please locate your nearest Red Cross chapter if you are looking for a missing relative by clicking this link. If the person missing is a U.S. citizen, please get in touch with the U.S. Department of State, instead. If you wish to help survivors and the search effort, please donate to Cruz Roja Guatemalteca (the Guatemala Red Cross) which is administrating blood drives, providing supplies and medical aid to survivors, as well as assisting in the search effort. You can also donate to the American Red Cross, which is also actively helping in the crisis through its Restoring Family Links program, as well as assist in providing Disaster Health Services, Disaster Mental Health Services, and Disaster Spiritual Care support to family and friends of victims of this disaster and others in the United States.

Women as Change Agents: Money & Influence

Women as Change Agents: Money & Influence

On May 24, 2018, Northern Trust co-hosted an intimate panel conversation with the American Red Cross Tiffany Circle about the growing economic power and influence of women and the positive change we make in the world. The event featured moderator Marguerite H. Griffin and panelists Denise Barnett Gardner, Nancy Searle and Marty Wilke. Panelist bios below.

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Panelist Marty Wilke speaks on her many years of experience in sales and news.

 

The statistics about women as philanthropic change agents are powerful. Women are expected to control two-thirds of private wealth by 2020 (MarketWatch, May 2017). In 2009, nine years ago, a Harvard Business Review Article stated, “Women now drive the world economy,” (Harvard Business Review, Sept 2009).

The influence comes not only from access to wealth but also how women choose to invest. Studies show that women give more, and do so with a socially conscious outlook.

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Tiffany Circle Co-Chair Victoria Raymont laughs with panelist Nancy Searle ahead of the event.

 

In March 2018, The Economist stated that “84% of women said they were interested in “sustainable” investing, that is, targeting not just financial returns but social or environmental goals.”

According to Debra Mesch, the director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy, in an interview with Make it Better, “In the top 25 percent of combined income and assets, women give 156 percent more than men.”

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Panelists Nancy Searle, Marty Wilke and Denise Gardner with Moderator Marguerite Griffin

 

“Every woman up here uses her superpowers for good,” said Marguerite Griffin to open the panel conversation. And it’s true. The panelists created change by combining their economic power with their talents and drive for change to create an exponential impact in our communities.

Marty Wilke, recently retired general manager of CBS 2 Chicago said, “We had the recession, we had the newly introduced iPhone, Facebook had just hit their 1 million mark. In that ten-year experience of mine in running two news organizations, I was a product of change that was coming at me from every angle.” Resistance to change comes out of fear, said Marty, but when done right, it is incredibly rewarding.

Women continue to gain an influence and make an impact.

“[It is] Important to know the change you want to accomplish and really own that change,” said Nancy Searle, who raised $60 million dollars in a year to open new schools in Chicago. “It was just an idea that I had that got us going.” Nancy looks at the intersection of her passions and values to determine which organizations to support with her time and talent.

A real turning point for many individual donors, was when Warren Buffet decided to donate to other foundations and organizations rather than starting his own. But, the collaborative nature of philanthropy is complex and full of opportunity. “You have to have thriving nonprofits to have a really thriving city,” said Denise, who hopes over the next twenty years to continue to develop ideas that will have an impact even if she’s not the one leading them.

Women are giving back with their treasure, but also their time, talents and their “turn-up” – their ability to get other people to turn up to support a cause.

As women philanthropists look to the next generation of change makers, they watch millennials constantly asking, “What are we doing to change and influence the world?” As Nancy said, we’ve seen “the power of one,” – the ability for one voice on social media to mobilize thousands more voices toward change.

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Tiffany Circle Co-Chair, Board of Directors member and Northern Trust employee Aileen Blake shares ideas with fellow Tiffany Circle member and Board of Directors Chair Jill Schaaf and Tiffany Circle Co-Chair Laura Linger

 

Thank you to Northern Trust and the Tiffany Circle for co-hosting this incredibly meaningful conversation filled with an abundance of wisdom and advice for fellow women philanthropists. Keep your eye on what your end game is. Take a step back and take another look at what’s going on from a new angle. And, build consensus and plan for change.

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Moderator Marguerite Griffin leads the panel discussion

 

About the Tiffany Circle

The Tiffany Circle is a national and international leadership network of women who work to change lives, save lives and strengthen communities through a focused investment of time, talent and treasure in the American Red Cross. By making a $10,000 minimum annual investment, members of the Tiffany Circle stand proudly with an extraordinary group of women committed to ensuring the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross is available to all.

 

About the Moderator

Griffin, MargueriteMarguerite H. Griffin is a Senior Vice President at Northern Trust. As director of Philanthropic Advisory Services, Marguerite is responsible for the delivery and growth of Northern Trust’s philanthropic advisory services to Wealth Management clients. She specializes in administering charitable trusts and private foundations and facilitating family philanthropy retreats. She also advises clients regarding impact investing, strategic philanthropy, international philanthropy, family succession planning and board development, governance and risk management for nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining Northern Trust, Marguerite was a Vice President and Trust Administrator within the Private Clients Division of First Chicago, Bank One.  Before joining First Chicago, Bank One, she practiced law as an Associate with Vedder, Price, Kaufman & Kammholz where she specialized in estate planning, nonprofit organization law, charitable trusts and private foundations. Marguerite received a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. Marguerite is a member of the American Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, the Chicago Council on Planned Giving and the Chicago Estate Planning Council. Marguerite is admitted to practice before the Illinois Supreme Court. She is a sought-after speaker in the areas of impact investing, strategic philanthropy, board development, managing private foundations and family legacy philanthropy. Marguerite is an active volunteer, advisor and board member with several charitable and cultural institutions, including Aeris, the Art Institute of Chicago, Audubon Great Lakes, Chicago Foundation for Women, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Chicago Community Trust, Forefront, The Ravinia Festival and WTTW/WFMT.

About the Panelists

Gardner, Denise BarnettDenise Barnett Gardner is a retired marketing executive and former president of Insights & Opportunities, a research-based marketing and strategic planning firm. She is also the co-founder of Namaste Laboratories and former VP, Marketing at Soft Sheen Products Company. During her tenure at each company, they enjoyed #1 market share in the ethnic beauty industry. Denise is the vice chair of the Board of Trustees at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the former chair of the museum’s Leadership Advisory Committee and   former vice chair of its Marketing Committee. She also serves on the Board of Governors of The School of The Art Institute of Chicago and The Chicago Public Library Board.  Denise served for ten years on the Executive Committee of The Chicago Community Trust where she chaired the board’s Donor Relations & Civic Engagement Committee. She also chaired their African American Legacy Initiative. She is a former member of the Board of Visitors of Northwestern University’s Weinberg College and the Chicago Humanities Festival. She is former president of the Chicago Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and is currently treasurer of their philanthropic arm, The Chicago Chapter Charities Foundation. Along with her husband, Gary, she has invested significantly in improving college access in Chicago. They also have a long-time commitment to supporting critical educational needs at the high school level, and with supporting arts programs in Chicago’s African American community. Denise began her professional career at Leo Burnett Company after graduating from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.  She also holds a B.S.J. from Northwestern University in Advertising and Social Psychology.

Searle, NancyNancy Searle served as the lead Searle consultant to the Chicago Community Trust from 2003-2010. The Searle Funds focused their efforts on biomedical research, education, community renewal and conservation. Projects funded by the Searle Funds reflected the intent of the donor, John G. Searle, and the values of the Searle family.  During her tenure, the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust supported the development of the Chicago Biomedical Consortium, the Searle Life Sciences Fund at Northwestern University, the Frances Searle Health Center at Northwestern University, the John G. Searle Chemistry Building at the University of Chicago and the business development of CARA. Of all the projects that the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust funded under Ms. Searle’s tenure as lead consultant, New Schools for Chicago is one of her most important legacies. Ms. Searle started New Schools with funds from the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust, joining forces with the Civic Committee, foundations and individual donors to turn the original $2.5 million donation into over $50 million to launch more that 70 new schools. Since 2005, New Schools for Chicago has launched more successful charter schools than any other organization in the city.  Ms. Searle continues to be committed to improving educational outcomes for all children in Chicago. She is also a Trustee of the Shedd Aquarium where she chairs the Animal Collection Committee and is the President of the Women’s Board of Lyric Opera.

Wilke,MartyMarty Wilke, a  media executive, was the first woman to serve as President and General Manager for two Chicago television stations: WGN-TV and WBBM-TV (CBS 2 Chicago). After graduating from DePaul University, Marty began her career in television working as a media buyer at several advertising agencies until, in 1993, she shifted her career to television sales, working as an account executive at Katz Television. In 2008, Marty became the General Manager of WGN-TV where she launched Antenna TV, Tribune Broadcasting’s first digital sub-channel network. Considered an industry change agent, Marty is credited with bringing the Chicago Blackhawks broadcasts back to WGN-TV and profitably leading WGN through the Tribune Company bankruptcy.  At CBS 2 Chicago, under Marty’s leadership, viewership and revenue increased, and the community presence of the station was reestablished. The first and only all-female anchor team in the market was created during her tenure, and partnerships with area organizations like the Chicago Urban League, the Business Leadership Council and the DuSable Museum of African American History were all established to bring awareness to issues of importance in the Chicago African American community. In her position, Marty advocated for many nonprofit organizations including the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois, Chicago Says NO MORE, and the American Diabetes Association.  In her personal time, Marty is a member of The Chicago Network, The Economic Club of Chicago, The Commercial Club of Chicago, and is an ardent supporter of American Red Cross of Greater Chicago and Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Chicago.

Volunteer Spotlight: RJ Castro

American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois volunteer, RJ Castro, will be unveiling a bronze statue this June. RJ has been sculpting “Captain Abraham Lincoln, Black Hawk War,” a seven foot version of a smaller sculpture that was given to the Lincoln Presidential Library in 2015. The sculpture will be unveiled June 23, from 1-3 pm at the Black Hawk War Monument, 14109 W Blackhawk Rd, Pearl City, IL.  We encourage everyone to check it out! Pictures of RJ and the smaller copy of the sculpture are shown below.