The Woman’s Board of Children’s Home & Aid is celebrating 100 years of reaching out to vulnerable children and families across Illinois, doing whatever it takes to help children and families thrive.

The Woman’s Board was founded in 1920 by a group of dedicated women, including Pauline K. Palmer of the Palmer House Hotel family. Their original mission was to help children who have suffered abuse or neglect.

Over the last 100 years the Woman’s Board has sponsored many successful and creative fundraising activities, including publishing cookbooks, hosting fashion shows, running thrift shops, and of course, sponsoring the annual September Gala. Funds raised by the Woman’s Board, especially through the September Gala, provide essential operating support for our Early Childhood Centers in Schaumburg, Carpentersville and in Englewood.

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.  The Woman’s Board hopes you will join in and become a hero to countless children in need.

Funds raised by the Gala and now the Centennial Campaign provides critical support to our early childhood centers, funds special field trips and enrichment activities for the children and stocks the Centers’ essential needs pantries for families.

With COVID-19 having a huge impact on our families, donor support of the Centennial Campaign is more important than ever.

A Focus on Early Childhood Education

The Woman’s Board focuses on early childhood care and education because research reveals that the most effective way to change the trajectory of the lives of vulnerable children is to start at the beginning of life.  By focusing on the critical window of development between birth and age five, we are ensuring that all children get a fair start in life.

The tireless efforts of the Woman’s Board helped Children’s Home & Aid open three state-of-the-art early childhood care and education centers in the last 13 years: the Mitzi Freidheim Englewood Child & Family Center, the Marletta Darnall Schaumburg Child & Family Center and the Jerri Hoffmann Child & Family Center in Carpentersville. These Centers, along with two others in Palatine and Bloomington, provide high quality early childhood education for children ages 6 weeks to 6 years. Here the parents are also supported and empowered as educators.  It is a team approach to ensure that children and families succeed.

This year we have the distinction of having Mitzi Freidheim as one of our honorary co-chairs of the Woman’s Board centennial campaign. Mitzi has been a stalwart supporter of Children’s Home & Aid for more than 35 years. Generous gifts from the Freidheim family helped open the Mitzi Freidheim Englewood Child & Family Center in 2007. The Center serves 261 children and families each year. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Freidheim family sponsored food drives providing groceries, households and infant supplies to families served by the Center. Mike Shaver, Children’s Home & Aid’s CEO & President, calls the Mitzi Center “a beacon of hope to families in the Englewood community. We are so grateful to Mitzi and her family for their dedicated support.”

In trying times, empathy abounds and heroes emerge.  Your gift today will give these children the WINGS TO FLY beyond their circumstances and the chance to soar to new possibilities.

To support the Woman’s Board Wings to Fly Campaign:

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