Rick Waddell Honored as 2019 American Red Cross Heritage Award Recipient

rick_waddellTo Rick Waddell, the importance of philanthropy cannot be understated. He shares, “to whom much is given, much is expected[…] I have been very fortunate in my career at Northern Trust, and to now be in a position to give back to our communities of my time, talent and our resources is extraordinarily important.”

Rick has been deeply involved both personally and professionally in driving impact with organizations like United Way, the American Red Cross, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Kohl’s Children’s Museum, where Rick served as Chair of the Board of Trustees. In that role, Rick led the planning for the museum’s new, expanded facility in Glenview, that opened in 2005.

Connie Lindsey, Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Northern Trust describes Rick’s legacy around CSR as rooted in a few things. “One is understanding that corporations are a part of the community.” The other, is rooted in kindness.

Rick’s philanthropic commitment is deeply present in Chicago’s civic community, where he has driven critical changes to education and budget issues. He is member of the Board of Directors of Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chicago Urban League, and the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. He is Vice Chairman of the Commercial Club of Chicago and serves as Chairman of its Civic Committee. He also serves as executive advisor to the Metropolitan Planning Council.

His involvement does not end there. Rick has been involved in a number of CEO searches and has ensured those incoming leaders are set up for success. He serves on the Board of Directors for AbbVie and IBM. He is also on the Board of Trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Rick, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Northwestern University, joined Northern Trust in 1975. He held leadership positions in Commercial Banking, Strategic Planning and Wealth Management. In 2003, he became head of the Corporate & Institutional Services business unit and, in 2006 was named President and Chief Operating Officer of Northern Trust. He was named CEO on January 1, 2008, and Chairman in November 2009. Waddell has served as Chairman since November 2009 and ended his decade-long role as Chief Executive Officer on December 31, 2017.

“Every Northern Trust leader, […], has positioned Northern Trust in the community as an organization that gives back.  I feel I have continued that tradition, and hopefully have given back in the history of those that have preceded me.”

He and his wife Cate have always been very committed to the importance of education, especially early childhood education. In this next chapter, he and his family are working to establish a foundation that will focus on education, youth development and civic principles of our founding fathers.

The Heritage Award is given to an individual or organization whose leadership and actions greatly enhanced the welfare of our community.

Follow #RedCrossHeroes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates about the 2018 Heroes. For more information about the 2019 Heroes Breakfast, click here.

To see more of Rick’s story, watch his video here


Chicago & Northern Illinois Board President Ted Dysart: Committed to Making a Difference

ted dysart photo.jpgThe heart of the Red Cross is filled with its volunteers.  It is their service and dedication that is the lifeblood of the organization.  Whether it be for a season or for many years, the care and commitment of these remarkable individuals is invaluable.

Ted Dysart is one such individual.  His work and devotion to the Red Cross extends back for many years.  Dysart, who grew up in a military household, began volunteering for the Red Cross in high school, as a CPR instructor.  On a day that he’ll never forget, his training and quick thinking allowed him to save the life of a fellow student, who was choking.

After high school, Ted went on to donate his time to the Red Cross in many ways.  He has chaired the committee for the Heroes Breakfast, the Preparedness and Resiliency Committee, the Board Development Committee, and currently serves as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Chicago & Northern Illinois Red Cross.  He also ran the Boston Marathon on Team Red Cross in 2018.  The day of the run offered cold and rainy weather.  Many runners gave up and dropped out of the race, but Ted saw it through to the end.  He was determined to raise much-needed money for the organization.  When reflecting on that day, Dysart said that he couldn’t think of a “better place to [run] for than for the Red Cross.”

ted dysart boston marathon

Ted running the 2018 Boston Marathon for Team Red Cross


Ted explained that he feels “passionate about the mission of the Red Cross,” in part because he was in New York on September 11, 2001, and was “moved to see all the Red Cross did” for the victims and the city.

Ted currently works as a Vice Chairman at Heidrick and Struggles and is a leader in the Global Board of Directors Practice and an active member of the CEO search practice.  He was also named by BusinessWeek as one of the top 150 headhunters across the globe.

ted at brunch

Ted addressing runners ahead of the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Ted says he is proud to have been a part of the Red Cross before his 2018 appointment as the Board Chair. When thinking about the future of the organization, Ted explained that he would like to “appeal to [a] new, diverse community of volunteers,” and that he’s excited to see “our corporate partners… stepping up with financial support to put money into action.”  He said that some of his most “gratifying moments [are to] thank some volunteers [for their] incredible pace in responding to disasters… [and that it’s] so fulfilling to see the way the American public comes together to help out.”

For his many years of service to the Red Cross, we would like to thank Mr. Ted Dysart!  His dedication has not gone unnoticed.

Interested in getting involved as a volunteer? https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.html

Written by Chicago & Northern Illinois Red Cross Communications Volunteer Vicky Arias

Nancy Romanchek Honored as American Red Cross 2019 Nurse Hero

NR_2Nancy Romanchek has made it her mission to open doors for Muslims to have access to healthcare, hospice care and intentional care of the spirit. Nancy has worked in various capacities throughout her 30-year career as a nurse, from the Medical ICU in the VA hospital, to medical cost containment. Her journey has now led her to passionately advocate for the underserved Muslim population; reducing stigma and providing access to health care.

In 2001, Nancy practiced as a Faith Community Nurse in a Catholic church in Wisconsin. It was during this time when she first noticed that Muslims had no visibility on the interfaith healthcare stage. After relocating back home to the Chicago area in 2006, Nancy felt a calling to serve patients and families experiencing death and dying. She found that despite the U.S. census numbers, a Muslim patient presence was missing in this arena as well. They were not seeking the specialized care to which they were entitled.

At the same time, Nancy learned that chaplains trained in interfaith ministry to the sick, were not receiving education on Islam in Seminary.  In the hospital setting, they were being asked to serve Muslim patients, with no preparation to do so. Nancy approached staff at the Lutheran School of Theology and together they developed a two-day workshop. As an increasing number of chaplains attended each session, Nancy hoped that they would each return to their own communities to promote peace and offer improved services to Muslim patients and their families through a greater understanding of Islam.

Since then, Nancy became a member at Islamic Foundation North (IFN), a mosque in Libertyville, where she quietly but persistently made inroads to establish a Faith Community Nurse position. With the support of the IFN community members, she has taught CPR/AED and First Aid classes, developed a Mom’s group, helped initiate a Women’s Advocacy Committee, and began a Mental Health Initiative that is focused on providing culturally proficient ways to serve those in need.

Most recently, Nancy collaborated with a team to establish the IFN Health Clinic, a free clinic for the uninsured and underinsured in Lake County. While most visitors are Muslim, the clinic is open to anyone in need. The clinic offers physician consultations, access to lab work, radiology and low- cost medications. The staff also connects patients with social services, like Medicare.

Nancy believes that her path in nursing and Islam were destined to converge.  According to Nancy, “Nurses are holistic thinkers, are flexible, and recognize that faith is colorblind.”

The Nurse Award is presented to a licensed and practicing nurse, nursing student, or retired nurse who exhibited heroism either in their response to an emergency situation or through an ongoing commitment to the community through acts of kindness, courage or unselfishness in response to an identified need.

To see more of Nancy’s story, watch her video here.

The Changing Landscape of Philanthropy: Cultivating to Give & Leading to Sustain

The Changing Landscape of Philanthropy: Cultivating to Give & Leading to Sustain

On April 2, The Northern Trust Global Conference Center hosted a stage for a great conversation about the changing landscape of philanthropy and how non-profit organizations are adapting, in order to continue being sustainable. Northern Trust and the American Red Cross Tiffany Circle co-hosted the panel discussion, which was moderated by Marguerite H. Griffin, while Susan Crown and Dawn Frances Reese were the panelists of the evening. Panelist bios below.

The landscape of philanthropy has changed. Marguerite H. Griffin set the stage for the discussion by explaining that philanthropy has become a global phenomenon that has redefined itself to emerge as a powerful global force, shaping policies, values and research agendas.


Millennials are playing an important role in changing the philanthropic world, with many of them investing time and resources in causes that are important to them. So, what does this mean for the future of nonprofit organizations? For Dawn Frances Reese, feeling personally connected is key when choosing organizations to get involved with. “I need to feel connected to the mission and explained Dawn.

Millennials are playing an important role in changing the philanthropic world, with many of them investing time and resources in causes that are important to them. So, what does this mean for the future of nonprofit organizations? For Dawn Frances Reese, feeling personally connected is key when choosing organizations to get involved with. “I need to feel connected to the mission and explained Dawn.

In 2014, according to the Millennial Impact Report by Research Group Achieve, 84 percent of millennials made a charitable donation, and 70 percent donated at least an hour of volunteering.  Millennials want to give their time and resources to causes that are important to them. They want to feel that they are making a difference.

A survey by the Case Foundation found that 90 percent of millennials “are motivated to give by a compelling mission, not an organization.” This poses a challenge for long-established nonprofit organizations, which need to find more effective ways to engage this generation.

“It’s all about passion, it’s all about commonality of mission and things that really sort of speak to the fire of your soul. This matters, this changes the world. This means something, this changes life,” said Susan Crown.

Non-profit organizations need to be innovative in the way they appeal to millennials, as well as the future Gen Z, in order to be sustainable for years to come. Dawn Reese spoke from personal experience when she said that she began volunteering with a nonprofit organization when she was still in high school. Her work gave her a purpose, as she saw the impact she made in people’s lives. She believes that nonprofits must implement opportunities for students to volunteer early on, in order to establish a more meaningful and lasting connection with them.

A 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey reported that “working for the good of the broader world or local community fulfills millennials’ desires to focus their energy and intellect on purposeful work. When working for a nonprofit, millennials can feel their influence; seeing the fruits of their labors fuels their drive, that in turn helps their nonprofit employers achieve greater impact.”

Having a good understanding of what is important to millennials and future generations is essential for nonprofits in remaining relevant and sustainable for years to come. A 2018 article titled “How Millennials are changing Philanthropy,” published by Forbes provides the following insights for nonprofits to better connect with millennials:

  1. Ask for more than money. This speaks to how millennials tend to align with a cause that is close to their hearts and that they feel passionate about. According to the article, “Millennials will share your cause. They will sign up and volunteer their time for fundraising, crowdfunding or fieldwork.”
  2. Tell stories. Millennials are being bombarded by messages constantly. Organizations need to make their message stand out from the rest by personalizing it and showing how people are being affected by the issue.
  3. Keep it simple. Be direct on your messaging, go right to the point. Don’t overcomplicate. And,
  4. Communicate urgency. Let millennials know what their time and money will do for someone right now. They want to know that their efforts and resources are making an impact.

Susan Crown sums it up when she explains that the traditional nonprofits are already making changes to stay relevant in an environment that is fueled by the passion and energy brought by millennials; an environment where everybody wants to be an entrepreneur and stand for a cause. This, she believes, is powerful and already making the big umbrella organizations reposition themselves in the 21st century. These are exciting times for nonprofits, when thinking outside the box and engaging the excitement of future generations will help them to maintain their relevance and continue fulfilling their mission.

Thank you Northern Trust for providing a forum for such an enlightening discussion to better understand the changes that are taking place in philanthropy and how nonprofit organizations can better engage millennials and future generations.

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 that the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross is available to all.
About the Moderator


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 retreats. She also advises clients regarding impact investing, strategic philanthropy, international philanthropy, family succession planning and board development, governance and risk management for non-profit organizations. Marguerite is a member of the American Bar Association, the Chicago Council on Planned Giving and the Chicago Estate Planning Council. She is admitted to practice before the Illinois Supreme Court. Marguerite is an active volunteer, advisor and board member with several charitable and cultural institutions, including Aeris, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Community Trust, Forefront, the Ravinia Festival, and WTTW/WFMT.

About the Panelists

SusanSusan Crown is a philanthropist and business executive, Chairman and Founder of the Susan Crown Exchange (SCE), Chairman and CEO of Owl Creek Partners, and currently serves as the first female chairman of Rush University Medical Center and The Rush Health System. For nearly three decades, Susan dedicated time and talent to social causes and the business world. She was the first woman board member of Illinois Tool Works (ITW). She’s also a board member of The Northern Trust Corporation and a former board member of Baxter International.

DawnDawn Frances Reese is the Director of Strategy for the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education (The CAFE). Dawn sits on the board of City Year Chicago and the Development Leadership Consortium. She is a 2019 Chicago Urban League IMPACT fellow and a 2016 Development Leadership Consortium fellow. She is a former member of the Chicago Women in Philanthropy, the Young Women’s Giving Council, and the Chicago Foundation for Women. She also received Chicago Crain’s prestigious 40 under 40 honor in 2018.

Megan Bugg Honored as 2019 American Red Cross Youth Hero

MB_1At 13 years old, Megan Bugg’s life would be forever changed due to a devastating cancer diagnosis.

On Christmas morning 2014, Megan noticed an odd lump on her arm. Doctors told Megan she had an aggressive stage 4 cancer called Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS), a cancer that attacks the body’s soft tissue. Just one month later, the eighth grader began 54 weeks of intense chemotherapy and radiation, something Megan remembers as being “absolutely brutal.”

“I would have five-day stays in the hospital, getting chemotherapy every single day; a really hard, aggressive therapy. It felt like poison going through my body,” Megan said.

Since 2015, Megan has relapsed three times resulting in 90 weeks of treatment and over 120 radiation treatments on six different areas of her body. The side effects of these treatments took a toll on Megan’s body, leaving her with nerve damage, memory loss, severe nausea, stomach pain and more. The treatments were harsh, and nearly cost Megan her life when she contracted sepsis and was in the intensive care unit for two weeks.

This difficult battle helped Megan, a once shy 13-year-old, to become an outgoing advocate for childhood cancer research. Now, Megan regularly speaks to crowds and shares her story, in hope of raising awareness and inspiring change for kids with cancer.

“This whole thing has made me a stronger person,” Megan said. “I think people need to know it [cancer] isn’t like the commercials, it’s absolute torture for kids.”

After some investigating, Megan discovered that of the federal money budgeted for cancer research, less than 4% goes to childhood cancer. She was shocked to see the data and knew she had to take action, not only for herself, but for all the kids battling cancer around the world. Since that time, Megan has spoken to members of the Illinois General Assembly about this and was a 2018 featured speaker at Washington D.C.’s Curefest. She also became acquainted with Dr. Walterhouse, a physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, who researches ARMS, and decided to raise funds to fight the disease. Through social media and fundraisers at her school, Megan has raised over $160,000 for cancer research at Lurie Children’s Hospital.

“The end goal is to never have another kid diagnosed with cancer,” Megan said. “I definitely won’t stop fighting until there’s either a cure, or everyone is raising awareness.”

As Megan bravely said, “I’m not going to quit, ever. Cancer changed my life but opened my mind to what a blessing life is. I feel like everything happens for a reason, and I was given this to advocate and be a voice, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

The Youth Award is presented to an outstanding individual(s) who is 17 years old or under and has performed an act of heroism involving an unusual, significant or unexpected incident, or is involved in an ongoing situation in which a commitment is made to the community through acts of kindness, courage, or unselfishness in response to an identified need. 

Follow #RedCrossHeroes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates about the 2019 Heroes. For more information about the 2019 Heroes Breakfast, click here.

To see more of Megan’s story, watch her video here.

Mary Carmody Honored as 2019 American Red Cross Military Hero

MC_1Mary Carmody is not a soldier or a veteran, however, her compassion for those who have served and mission to serve them, is heroic. Her kindness-in-action is seen and, more importantly, felt in the hearts of our nation’s bravest.

A former employee of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, in 2013 Mary met a man she will never forget at a Lake County Council for Seniors meeting.  He had served his country during Vietnam and was now in need of help, having not eaten in days. His situation touched her. The man reminded Mary of her mother who immigrated during WWII to the U.S. with nothing but a strong work ethic and relied upon the generosity of strangers. At the time, Mary gave the man all she had in her wallet – a $5 bill. Afterward, she continually thought about him and how she could make a difference for veterans like this man, who risked his life to protect our country, yet still struggled to survive.

This chance encounter inspired Mary to establish the Midwest Veterans Closet. Initially, she gathered donated clothing and household items and stored them in a borrowed landscaping trailer.  As word in the military and veteran community grew about her small operation, more and more veterans came from all over Chicagoland to see Mary in Lake County for assistance. Mary listened to their needs and worked to secure items to help. She procured things like a suit for a job interview, a set of dishes, underwear and socks, and boots for the winter.  According to Mary, “the simple items most of us take for granted, often are things many of our veterans are forced to go without.”

In 2014, Mary was able to move Midwest Veterans Closet from the landscaping trailer to its current storefront, near Naval Station Great Lakes. Today, the organization serves 550 people monthly. Most clients are veterans, but some are active duty service members.  The operation has grown from a few items in a trailer to a true rapid response assistance center, offering computer and job training, food and nutrition resources; an apparel and household items store; and even donated automobiles to help veterans get to work.

Midwest Veterans Closet also provides work and volunteer opportunities to veterans looking to use their skills and connect with others in their community. One of Mary’s longtime volunteers is an 84-year-old Korean War veteran, who survived three cancers and had almost given up.  Now he is the Midwest Veteran’s Closet’s biggest ambassador and loves the camaraderie he finds among those who shop there.

And about the Vietnam veteran that came to the Lake County Senior meeting in 2013?  Mary said, “now, he is one of our best clients. Midwest Veterans Closet exists simply because he was not afraid to ask for help.”

The Military Award is presented to an active, reserve, Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), or retired member(s) of the Armed Forces, or military supporter, who acted above and beyond the call of duty or have made an ongoing commitment to the community.

Follow #RedCrossHeroes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates about the 2019 Heroes. For more information about the 2019 Heroes Breakfast, click here.

To see more of Mary’s story, watch her video here.

Officer Mark Dallas Honored as 2019 American Red Cross Law Enforcement Hero

DSC00320May 16, 2018, started as a special day for Officer Mark Dallas. His son was among nearly 200 seniors who were practicing for their graduation ceremony in the Dixon High School gym. Mark, who served as the Dixon High School Resource Officer, headed down from his 3rd floor office to the gym to watch the proceedings and visit with the students. Mark shared a close bond with this particular graduating class, as they started high school the same year that Mark had joined the school as the Resource Officer. He had also coached many students in football and track.

After leaving the gym, Mark stopped by the office of the Athletic Director, Jared Shaner. That’s when he heard several gunshots in the hallway. He immediately ran towards the gunshots and found the shooter, just steps from the gym entrance where 182 students stood behind those doors. When Mark engaged the attacker, he took off running and exited the school. Mark pursued the shooter, who turned and fired at him. Mark quickly returned fire, struck the shooter in the shoulder and apprehended him. The shooter was later identified as a Dixon High School senior.

Once it was over, Mark could not believe that were no injuries, stating, “I thought I was being lied [to] for a while, when they assured me that no one was hurt.”

On that day, Mark’s 20 years of experience and training as a police officer played an important role in his ability to protect the students and staff. He recalls not being worried about being shot. Mark’s goal was to protect the students and to capture the shooter. Mark added, “I feel like a parent to 182 kids. The kids that were all in there.”

Mark is also graduate of Dixon High School and never imagined that something like this could happen in this close-knit community, particularly at his alma mater.

Mark is two years away from retirement, and after the violent event that took place in the school, he plans to train other school resource officers in the area. He has also been working with state officials, to make funding available to communities that cannot afford to hire officers for schools.

When asked if he considers himself a hero, Mark reiterates that he was doing his job and adds, “There are heroes every day in our job, people never realize what law enforcement does for their communities. The officers that lose their lives, they are true heroes.”

The Law Enforcement Award is presented to a professional police officer(s) or related law enforcement official(s) who exhibited heroism either in response to an emergency situation or through an ongoing commitment to the community. 

Follow #RedCrossHeroes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates about the 2019 Heroes. For more information about the 2019 Heroes Breakfast, click here.

To see more of Mark’s story, watch his video here.