The Woman’s Board Commitment to Early Childhood Care & Education
In 2020, Children’s Home & Aid’s Woman’s Board celebrates 100 years of caring for Illinois’ most vulnerable children and families.
Since its inception in 1920, the Board has worked diligently to raise funds supporting the services of Children’s Home & Aid through its September Gala. This annual affair supports early childhood care and education services to children and families in underserved communities. With support going to the Mitzi Freidheim Englewood Child & Family Center, the Marletta Darnall Schaumburg Child & Family Center and the Jerri Hoffmann Child & Family Center in Carpentersville, the board’s dedication empowers Children’s Home & Aid to continue to put children on a path to a bright future. These centers serve over 750 children and their families each year, providing resources for families and early care and education from Early Head Start through preschool.
This year, due to COVID-19, the Woman’s Board has cancelled its 100th Anniversary Annual Gala, but in its stead, is running a centennial fundraising campaign now through September 12, 2020. With COVID-19 having a huge impact on our families, donor support of the Centennial Campaign is more important than ever.
Supporting the Woman’s Board Commitment
The Woman’s Board has already received tremendous support from generous companies and individuals. One of these companies is ITW, which has supported the Woman’s Board since 2003 and contributed over $410,000 to the annual Gala. We are thrilled to have ITW as one of our Host Sponsors. Alongside ITW, Mr. Robert Bruce is recognized as another one of our incredible Host Sponsor—thank you for your unbelievable support!
Other generous sponsors to the campaign are the Smithsburg Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus F. Freidheim Jr., Ms. Mary Ellen Hennessy and Mr. and Mrs. David F. Myers. All of who have helped to amplify the work the Woman’s Board does for Children’s Home & Aid and the women of the Board are so grateful for this amazing support.
One of these longtime supporters of the Woman’s Board efforts is Marletta Darnall. This year, we have the privilege of having Marletta as one of our honorary co-chairs of the Woman’s Board Wings to Fly Campaign. Marletta has been augmenting the mission of Children’s Home & Aid for over 30 years as an active member of the Board of the Trustees. During that time, she co-founded our annual Champions for Children Spring Luncheon in 2005, which has welcomed over 5,000 new friends to the Children’s Home & Aid family while raising more than $5 million for our children and families. In 2006, the Woman’s Board honored Marletta with their highest honor, the Pauline K. Palmer Award, for her commitment to the mission. With her generous gifts, we were able to open the Marletta Darnall Schaumburg Child & Family Center in 2009.
The Center serves an average 165 children each year and recently reopened its doors after being closed due to COVID-19. The parents and children were so excited to return to the Center to see their teachers in person. Marcelle Sevaggio, master teacher at the Darnall Center, spoke on the difficulty of the Center being closed, “Our children are so young so it’s understandable that many hit a rough patch during the time we were closed. But one mom sat with her baby before coming back and watched all our YouTube videos so the baby would remember us. And it worked!”