All healthy children are born with the same potential to become successful learners. But those born in high-risk environments (low income, young or single parents and low maternal education) face significant barriers to healthy development.

Children’s Home & Aid’s Early Childhood Centers provide unique, essential and comprehensive programming for vulnerable children and their families.

Children’s Home & Aid’s five early childhood centers – including the Mitzi Freidheim Englewood Child & Family Center, the Marletta Darnall Schaumburg Child & Family Center and the Jerri Hoffmann Child & Family Center in Carpentersville – set the stage for a lifetime of learning by providing high-quality early care and education to children aged six weeks to six years old from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The children served are thriving and better prepared for kindergarten, show improved language skills and demonstrate better social, emotional and cognitive functioning.

The success of our Early Childhood Centers depends on the support of our committed community of donors and dedicated Woman’s Board. Since 1920, the Woman’s Board has supported our work to help children and families thrive. And for the past decade, they’ve focused on early childhood education. Thanks to their efforts, we’ve expanded our life-changing programs at our Centers throughout Chicagoland.

The Woman’s Board continues working diligently to raise vital funds for our Centers through their annual Spring Luncheon in May and annual September Gala – now celebrating its 99th year. This elegant, black-tie evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, September 6th at the Radisson Blu in Chicago.

This year’s Gala features emcee Andrea Thome and will celebrate our 2019 Pauline K. Palmer Award recipients, John and Fran Edwardson, for their volunteer work on behalf of children across Chicagoland.

Giving back by helping others has always been part of the Edwardson’s lives.

From her tenure as CEO at the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois to her commitment to the community impact efforts at Rush University Medical Center and Lincoln Park Zoo, where she serves as Trustee, Fran is passionate about making a difference.

John shares Fran’s enthusiasm for philanthropy. As a corporate leader, retired Chairman & CEO of CDW and former President & COO of United Airlines, John has fostered a strong community of corporate civic involvement. In addition, he knows firsthand the power of personal, face-to-face philanthropy as an active and passionate volunteer.

The Edwardson’s commitment to the work of Children’s Home & Aid is truly empowering children, youth and families and impacting lives.

Help us celebrate John and Fran at the 99th Woman’s Board September Gala on September 6th in Chicago. You’ll be part of an unforgettable evening.

For more information, to purchase tickets, or to become an event sponsor, please visit