Stories and News

Summer Great Hearts Award!

Quarterly, Great Hearts, through our giving circle, hosts a grant event. We ask our community members to nominate nonprofit causes and, then, recommend the organizations that will receive grants. By using a process that combines the experience and expertise of community members, we are able to identify local groups that would benefit from the funding.    Throughout May, Great Hearts Community members nominated causes they support and deeply care about. Twenty nonprofits were recommended. Some of the organizations are Great Hearts member favorites. Others have been nominated for the first time. 

Our giving circle is now hosting a Great Hearts Award to support the nominated causes. A total of $10,000 in grants is available to be awarded with your help. 



Here's how it works:     

1) Tap on the Award Clicklet above to help award a grant.     

2) Select causes from the list that you would like to Great Hearts to support. 

3) By selecting these causes, you'll be recommending that the Great Hearts giving circle give a $5 grant to each one. A total of $ 500 per group will be given. 

4) You may also suggest other nonprofit causes that you support. Each cause you suggest will also receive a $5 grant. 

5) Grants will be used by the organizations to provide programs and services.     

6) Submit your selections through June 15, 2021, or until $ 10,000 has been awarded by Great Hearts Community members. 

7) Thanks for participating the Greats Hearts Award. We appreciate your recommendations for nonprofit causes that are making a difference. 


8) Our next Great Hearts Award will be in September. 








The Great Hearts Community is the giving circle funded by GHI governWell™. We are dedicated to bringing people together to take small actions for good. Since 2017, our giving community has helped over 350 causes and have taken more than 400,000 actions for good. Join us in making a difference.




Watch your email, Facebook, and Instagram for announcements.


Pop-Up Grant: Making a World of Difference

It’s officially Spring! As the days become warmer and brighter, so do our hearts as we witness generosity at work through nonprofit causes in our communities. Great Hearts has selected eight causes as examples of making a world of difference in the lives touched by their efforts. Each of the groups inspires care and compassion. 


To celebrate how these organizations and their volunteers impact their world in a positive way, Great Hearts is hosting a pop-up grant. Select some or all of the groups that we have featured and add the name of a cause that is making a difference in your world. Each cause you select receives a $5 grant from the Great Hearts Community giving circle.    Click on the clicklet below to go to the google form and pick nonprofits you would like to support. 



Here's how it works:     

1) Tap on the Award Clicklet to help award a grant.     

2) Select causes from the list that you would like Great Hearts to support.    

3) By selecting these causes, you'll be recommending that the Great Hearts giving circle award a $5 grant to each one. A total of $250 per group will be given. 

4) You may also suggest other nonprofit causes that you support. Each cause you suggest will also receive a $5 grant up to a total of $150. 

5) Grants will be used by the organizations to provide programs and services.     


6) Submit your selections through April 9th, 2021, or until $ 3,500 has been awarded by Great Hearts Community members. 






  The Great Hearts Community is the giving circle funded by GHI governWell™. We are dedicated to bringing people together to take small actions for good. Since 2017, our giving community has helped over 350 causes and have taken more than 400,000 actions for good. Join us in making a difference. 

Feeding Hope Pop-Up Grant

In communities across the country, the lines at food pantries are stretching longer and longer, and there's no clear end in sight.  

 (Neil Blake/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

Supporting food banks is one of the best ways to help combat hunger. That's why Great Hearts is hosting the Feeding Hope Pop-up Grant this week. One dollar donated to a food bank can turn into $8 of food because of the group's ability to purchase in bulk. That means this week's pop-up grant of $3,000 will turn into $24,000 worth of food to help neighbors in need. 

Tap on the Award Clicklet shown above to get started. 

Here's how it works:   

1) Tap on the pop-up grant icon shown above to help select the food banks, school lunch, meals on wheels, and other programs that help address food insecurity. 

2) Select nonprofits from the list that you would like to support. 

3) By selecting these causes, you'll be recommending that the Great Hearts giving circle award a $50 grant to each group. 

4) You may also suggest other food banks or nonprofit feeding program that you'd like the Great Hearts giving circle to support.

5) The grant will be used by the nonprofit organization to provide programs and services.   

6) The two programs receiving the most support will receive a $750 grant.  

7) You may submit your selection through January 22, 2020, or until 30 nonprofits have been supported.


Are you signed up for the Great Hearts Newsletter? Get the latest news from the community by signing up here.  

Happy GivingTuesday!

It’s here! The Great Hearts Community Giving Tuesday celebration starts this morning. 


Throughout October and November, community members have nominated nonprofit causes to be supported by the Great Hearts giving circle. Over 25 causes were nominated. We’re excited to feature them for Giving Tuesday! 


GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world today and every day. Over the past seven years, the idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. In 2019, donations given in the United States were an estimated $1.97 billion! The median gift given was only $50 (the equivalent of $6 per person). Read more. 


You now have an opportunity to support nonprofit causes that are important to you by giving a Giving Tuesday Great Hearts Award. Each award turns into a $5 grant when given. Click on the clicklet (icon) below to get started! Choose from the list of causes that were nominated by the community, or choose your own nonprofit to award! 



Here's how it works:  

1) Tap on the Giving Tuesday Award Clicklet (icon) shown above to help award a grant.  

2) Select nonprofits from the list that you would like to support. 

3) By selecting these causes, you'll be recommending that the Great Hearts giving circle award a $5 grant to each one.  

4) You may also suggest any nonprofit cause that you'd like Great Hearts to support. 

5) The grant will be used by the nonprofit to provide programs and services.  

6) Each nonprofit is eligible for up to a $500 grant.  


7) You may submit your selection through December 13th, 2020, or until $10,000 has been awarded by Great Hearts Community members.







The Great Hearts Community is the giving circle funded by GHI governWell™. We are dedicated to bringing people together to take small actions for good. Since 2017, our giving community has helped over 350 causes and have taken more than 400,000 actions for good. Join us in making a difference.

Gearing Up for #GivingTuesday 2020!

#GivingTuesday 2020 is less than a month away! We have been thrilled to hear about the nonprofit groups you recommend our community supports. The nonprofits that will be selected will receive a $100 grant from Great Hearts and be promoted through our social media efforts.

Thirty causes will be chosen. There is still time to nominate your favorite nonprofits to be featured! Click on the nominate clicket below and tell us why you love the causes you are nominating. Make sure to follow our Facebook and Instagram pages to make sure you don't miss out on all the amazing shout-outs for the causes you recommend!


Nonprofits that were nominated in October:

Wisconsin Leadership Seminar (WILS) Tutoring Chicago Chicago Bird Collision Monitors Special Spaces Community Animal Rescue Effort - C.A.R.E. Mutts of the Midway Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley Illinois Leadership Seminars  i.c.stars SkyArt Metta Family Rescue  John XXIII Educational Center Step Up for Mental Health Albert's Dog Lounge Obi's Pet Pantry People’s Resource Center

Tap on the nominate clicklet to get started. Tell us about a nonprofit group you would like to see supported for #GivingTuesday 2020.

Want some ideas for causes to nominate?


Check out the list of nonprofits in the Great Hearts Community>




The Great Hearts Community is the giving circle funded by GHI governWell™. We are dedicated to bringing people together to take small actions for good. Since 2017, our giving community has helped over 350 causes and have taken more than 400,000 actions for good. Join us in making a difference.



Watch your email, Facebook, and Instagram for announcements.



Happy Movember

Movember is an annual movement involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's suicide. Behind each "Mo" grown in the name of men's health is a unique, personal, and powerful story. They are grown for dads, brothers, sons, stepdads, friends…the most important men in our lives. There are other ways to participate in Movember:

Move for Movember Run or walk 60 miles over the month. That’s 60 miles for the 60 men we lose to suicide each hour, every hour across the world. Host a Mo-ment Rally a crew and do something fun and easy, virtual or in person. Hosting is all about having a good time for a good cause. Mo Your Own Way Whether it’s a grueling test of physical endurance or a not-so-sweaty pledge to kick a bad habit. Whether it’s a day, over several weeks, or across the year – take whatever Mo Your Own Way means to you and run with it.

By 2030, Movember aims to:

Reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25%. Reduce the rate of male suicides by 25%. Halve the number of deaths from prostate cancer. Halve the number of men dying from testicular cancer. Halve the number of men experiencing serious mental and physical side effects from treatment for prostate cancer or testicular cancer.


Whatever your style is, Whatever your reasons are, Whatever your month holds: Whatever you grow will save a Bro.

Sign up at

Watch the video here> 




The Great Hearts Community is the giving circle funded by GHI governWell™. We are dedicated to bringing people together to take small actions for good. Since 2017, our giving community has helped over 350 causes and have taken more than 400,000 actions for good. Join us in making a difference.



Watch your email, Facebook, and Instagram for announcements.


Wildfire Relief Efforts

Wildfires are leaving a trail of destruction and concerns as California, Oregon and Washington continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Charity Navigator has compiled a list of highly-rated nonprofits providing relief and recovery to communities impacted. See a full list of the top nonprofits helping with wildfire relief>  The California Fire Foundation is a group dedicated to helping surviving families of California firefighters that have given their lives to help victims of fire or other natural disasters. Donations are put towards commemorating fallen heroes, offering scholarships to children of fallen firefighters, providing aid to victims of fire or other natural disasters, and providing fire safety resources to underserved communities across California. 



The California Fire Foundation’s Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) program brings immediate, short-term relief to victims of fire and other natural disasters throughout California. Through this program, frontline firefighters in California provide SAVE gift cards to eligible victims of fire and natural disasters so they may purchase basic necessities such as food, clothing, or medicine. SAVE cards have been recently increased to be $250 each, which can go a long way in a time of immediate crisis. 




The Great Hearts Community is the giving circle funded by GHI governWell™. We are dedicated to bringing people together to take small actions for good. Since 2017, our giving community has helped over 350 causes and have taken more than 400,000 actions for good. Join us in making a difference.




Watch your email, Facebook, and Instagram for announcements.


Community Choice Pop Up Grant

August is perfect timing for making a difference by helping causes we care about. All nonprofits can use a funding boost to help provide programs. For the Community Choice Pop Up Grant, you may support nonprofit causes nominated by Great Hearts Community members and also give an award to your favorite cause. Each award turns into a $5 grant. A total of $2000 is available to be awarded with your help.

Tap on the award button to get started. 

You may also visit our Facebook and Instagram pages to like, comment and award a $5 grant.

How A Great Hearts Pop Up Grant Works:

1) The Great Hearts giving circle has committed $2,000 in grants for nonprofit causes during the pop up grant.

2) Tap on the award button to get started.

3) A $5 grant will be awarded based on your tap/click.

4) The grant will be used by the nonprofit to provide programs and services.

5) Great Hearts believes in sharing the love. Each nonprofit is eligible for up to a $500 grant.

6) You may also comment on the Great Hearts Facebook and Instagram pages to award pop up grants.

7) The pop up grant event lasts until Monday, August 17, or until $2,000 in grants have been awarded.




The Great Hearts Community is the giving circle funded by GHI governWell™. We are dedicated to bringing people together to take small actions for good. Since 2017, our giving community has helped over 350 causes and have taken more than 400,000 actions for good. Join us in making a difference.



Watch your email, Facebook, and Instagram for announcements.



Pop Up Grant: Getting Your Difference On This Summer

Social distancing doesn’t mean emotionally distancing. There are many ways to have fun and make a difference this summer. Great Hearts chose a few examples to feature for a Pop Up Grant.

Tap on the pictures featured this week in the Great Hearts Community newsletter to connect to videos and information about each of the nonprofit causes. Your tap turns into a $3 grant to support programs and services. $1,500 in grants will be awarded with your help.

You may also visit our Facebook and Instagram pages to like, comment and award a $3 grant to the featured cause.

How A Great Hearts Pop Up Grant Works:

1) The Great Hearts giving circle has committed $1,500 in grants for nonprofit causes during the pop up grant.

2) Tap on the video and/or pictures shown in our newsletter.

3) A $3 grant will be awarded based on your tap/click.

4) The grant will be used by the nonprofit to provide programs and services.

5) Great Hearts believes in sharing the love. Each nonprofit is eligible for up to a $500 grant.

6) You may also comment on the Great Hearts Facebook and Instagram pages to award pop up grants.

7) The pop up grant event lasts until July 31, 2020, or until $1,500 in grants have been awarded.


The Great Hearts Community is the giving circle funded by GHI governWell™. We are dedicated to bringing people together to take small actions for good. Since 2017, our giving community has helped over 350 causes and have taken more than 400,000 actions for good. Join us in making a difference.



Watch your email, Facebook, and Instagram for announcements.


Communication through Art- Creativity Explored

Artists at Creativity Explored communicate through their art. In expressing their thoughts, emotions, experiences, and cultures to their peers, instructors, patrons, and art lovers. Creativity Explored is committed to supporting people with developmental disabilities in their quest to become working artists, and to promoting their work as an emerging and increasingly important contribution to the contemporary art world. 

Art is a captivating means of challenging and transforming assumptions about disability. Watch a great example of this power by watching the video linked here.  

Since its inception 36 years ago, Creativity Explored’s innovative and respected programs, structure, and culture have served as an organizational model worldwide in the field of art and disability. Operating with a spirit of openness and transparency, the organization recognizes that collaboration will create new and exciting opportunities for artists with developmental disabilities nationally and internationally, and will mutually benefit partnering organizations. 



Help Creativity Explored and other art nonprofits by participating in our Great Hearts award happening this week. Click here to learn more.  




The Great Hearts Community is the giving circle funded by GHI governWell™. We are dedicated to bringing people together to take small actions for good. Since 2017, our giving community has helped over 350 causes and have taken more than 400,000 actions for good. Join us in making a difference.



Watch your email, Facebook, and Instagram for announcements.



Great Hearts Award- The Power of Art

Art gives us the opportunity to engage with others through our creativity. By doing so we expand our horizons, creating a greater sense of community, boosting self-esteem, relieving stress, and so much more.


To celebrate the important role that art plays in our lives, The Great Hearts Giving Circle has chosen four non-profit causes to be part of the Great Hearts Award—Creativity Explored, ART WORKS Projects, Snow City Arts, and Young Audiences of Louisiana. 


Each group impacts lives through art. Use the award clicklet shown below to support these organizations’ programs. Each award clicklet you give turns into a $5 grant.



Tap on the Award Clicklet to help

change lives through art.




How the Great Hearts Award works this week:

1) The Great Hearts giving circle has committed $1,000 in grant funding. 

2) The grants will be awarded to four nonprofits that are part of the Great Hearts Community.

3)The grants will be given based on the input from the community members. (That's you!) 

4) Tap on the Award Clicklet. 

5) Select the causes you'd like to have Great Hearts support. Your submission will help award a $5 grant to support the groups' programs and services. You may give to one or all 4. (Note: 1 submission per organization per person)

6) Great Hearts believes in sharing the love. Each nonprofit is eligible for up to a $250 grant.

7) You may submit your choices for an award through July 3rd, 2020, or until $1,000 has been awarded.





The Great Hearts Community is the giving circle funded by GHI governWell™. We are dedicated to bringing people together to take small actions for good. Since 2017, our giving community has helped over 350 causes and have taken more than 400,000 actions for good. Join us in making a difference.


Watch your email, Facebook, and Instagram for announcements.



Standing Together


Recently Great Hearts received the message below from one of our community members – Young Audiences of Louisiana (YALA).

GiveNOLA is a major fundraising event for nonprofits like YALA. Rather than asking for donations for themselves, YALA asked that people consider giving to community-based nonprofits in New Orleans that are dedicated to racial equality and justice.

When we are willing to give beyond our own interests, we truly stand together. The fight for equal justice, access and opportunity can only be won by working together. By sharing strengths, resources and insights, our communities are made stronger and more just.

Take a few minutes to read about some of the nonprofits that YALA shared. We think you will be inspired. We were.




We are so appreciative of our friends who have already donated to YALA for GiveNOLA Day. 

Black futures matter. Period. In solidarity with the movement to eradicate racial injustice in our personal lives and in our institutions, YALA asks our supporters who have not yet made their gifts donate to nonprofits dedicated to equity, justice, and the uplifting of Black Americans. We encourage you to support the critical work of the local organizations listed below.


100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans Women With A Vision New Orleans Operation Restoration Silence is Violence Son of a Saint African American Cultural Center Congo Square Preservation Society New Orleans African American Museum Ashé Cultural Arts Center Backstreet Cultural Museum  Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development Ellis Marsalis Center for Music   Lower 9th Ward Homeownership Association Ubuntu Village Nola    JuneBug Productions Black Education for New Orleans  Trombone Shorty Foundation Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies


Following YALA’s example, the Great Hearts giving circle has donated to causes YALA recommended. Please consider donating, too. 




Young Audiences of Louisiana is dedicated to inspiring, empowering, and uniting children and communities through education, arts, and culture. Young Audiences of Louisiana is part of a national network of 32 affiliates throughout the country under Young Audiences Arts for Learning. As the nation’s first and largest arts-in-education network Young Audiences Arts for Learning ensures the highest standards in arts education programs for over 5 million schoolchildren annually.

Learn more about Young Audiences of Louisiana at or visit Young Audiences profile page in the Great Hearts app.





The Great Hearts Community is the giving circle funded by GHI governWell™. We are dedicated to bringing people together to take small actions for good. Since 2017, our giving community has helped over 350 causes and have taken more than 400,000 actions for good. Join us in making a difference.  


Watch your email, Facebook and Instagram for announcements.


Unity. Peace. Justice.

Great Hearts Initiatives stands in solidarity with all people and organizations uniting to end racial injustice. Our community was founded to encourage small actions for good. Actions that change lives, communities, and our world. By amplifying the ‘voices’ and actions of the nonprofit organizations in our community, we strive toward unity, peace, and justice. Today, we amplify the voice of BUILD. Their powerful message of hope and healing inspired us.

BUILD is dedicated to creating a more diverse future workforce by ensuring students in under-resourced communities have access to the mentorship, professional development opportunities,

and funding they need to graduate high school, go to college, and launch successful careers. BUILD’s unique “Shark Tank”-style program offers students a four-year entrepreneurship experience designed to develop 21st Century Skills and motivate student engagement in school.

Following BUILD’s example, Great Hearts will continue to listen, to learn, and to create bridges of understanding that cut across racial and economic lines. If we all come together, we can make an incredible difference.

Learn more about BUILD at or visit BUILD’s profile page in the Great Hearts app.

In recognition of BUILD’s dedication to diversity leadership, our giving circle has awarded a grant to support its services. Please consider making a donation to help support BUILD’s programs.



The Great Hearts Community is the giving circle funded by GHI governWell™. We are dedicated to bringing people together to take small actions for good. Since 2017, our giving community has helped over 350 causes and have taken more than 400,000 actions for good. Join us in making a difference.

Watch your email, Facebook and Instagram for announcements.


#GivingTuesdayNow Wave: Help Award Grants!

#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity. The worldwide event was created on the belief that generosity has the power to unite and heal communities in good times and bad. A global threat like COVID-19 touches every person on the planet, and it presents an opportunity to come together.

The Great Hearts Community is participating in #GivingTuesdayNow in three ways:

· By promoting awareness of causes that our community members have nominated.

· By hosting a special Great Hearts Award that provides grant funding to all nonprofits that our community recommends.

· By sponsoring fundraising events for four nonprofits that are responding to COVID-19.

Are you ready to be part of today's wave of generosity to give, help, thank, and heal? We're hoping so. We need your help in awarding grants.

Tap on the award clicklet below and share the name of a cause that you'd like our giving circle to support. Each award turns into a $5 grant to support their programs.

How the Great Hearts #GivingTuesdayNow Award works:

1) The Great Hearts giving circle has committed $15,000 in grants for nonprofit causes during #GivingTuesdayNow.

2) The grants will be awarded by the public recommending deserving causes that they support.

3) Tap on the Award Clicklet shown above to help award a grant.

4) Enter the name of the nonprofit organization you are recommending.

5) A $5 grant will be awarded based on your recommendation.

6) The grant will be used by the nonprofit to provide programs and services.

7) Show your support for other organizations that are providing COVID-19 relief. We've suggested four causes for your consideration. By selecting these causes, you'll be awarding a $5 grant to each one.

8) Great Hearts believes in sharing the love. Each nonprofit is eligible for up to a $250 grant.

9) You may also comment on the Great Hearts Facebook and Instagram pages to award grants.

10) You may recommend an award through May 31st, 2020, or until $15,000 has been given.

Help Award 15,000 Heart Grants

The outpouring of compassion during the coronavirus crisis is inspiring. Great Hearts is committed to awarding 15,000 grants ($15,000) to community-based nonprofits that are helping respond to COVID-19. We need your help in finding nonprofits that most need support. Great Hearts is a one of a kind giving circle--we rely on the public rather than donors to guide us to where our grants can be most helpful. There are many excellent causes. However, only nonprofit organizations responding to needs related to the coronavirus crisis are eligible for these heart grants.

Select causes that are already supported by Great Hearts or tell us about the groups you know are working to help during this time of critical need. Like or love posts on Great Hearts Instagram and Facebook pages. Comment on Facebook. Or, send us an email with the name of groups that could use a heart grant. Each like, love, comment, and email turns into a $5 grant for the organizations you recommend.


To award a heart grant, like or comment on Facebook and Instagram. Or email your recommendations to us.

Each like, comment and email turns into a $5 grant.

How Heart Grants Work:

· Between April 1 – April 30, 2020, the Great Hearts giving circle will award 15,000 heart grants to nonprofit organizations ($15,000).

· Grants will be given based on recommendations from the public.

· To recommend a nonprofit organization for a grant, like, love or comment on the Great Hearts Community Facebook and Instagram accounts. You may also recommend a group by sending us an email.

· There are many excellent causes. However, only nonprofit organizations helping respond to needs related to the coronavirus crisis are eligible for these heart grants.

· We believe in ‘sharing the love.’ The maximum grant per nonprofit is $250.

Tips for Well-Being During Times of Crisis

Take off your PJs. You are likely to feel better. Sure, it can seem fun to wear our jammies all day, but it's the little things like getting dressed that are key to well-being while social distancing.UNICEF has a "well-being plan" that we think is excellent. We hope that this list of suggestions will help you as you settle into your new routine in these unusual times. 


Tip #1: Stick to routines or start new ones

Wake up go to sleep at regular time Get dressed Exercise Shower, do your hair, prepare your body for the day Clean your space by doing chores like the dishes Involve children for a family plan


Tip #2: Stay connected

Check-in with people regularly, especially those who are alone Ask others how you're feeling Open up about how you're feeling Video chats w friends family colleagues


Tip #3: Engage in hobbies/things you enjoy - 

Activities like karaoke, reading, puzzles, sewing, videogames, etc. 


Tip #4: Set up a 'worry window'

Write down all your worries throughout the day and give yourself permission to think about them during a specific time of day - it's a very well-known technique, and it works.


Tip #5: Engage in well-being practices

Meditation and mindfulness apps Exercise Gratitude journal, by writing three things you're grateful for Congratulate yourself and others for having a "mega day."


Lots of things have not been canceled: music, family, singing, laughing, and hope.



If you think you might have trouble with Tip #5 (see full article), learn more about meditation and how it can help you during your quarantine, Listen to this podcast episode of Ten-Percent Happier below. This conversation with legendary meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg will elevate your mood.



Help The Food Banks! - Feeding America

💚 During these uncertain times, supporting our communities can have an immense impact. With schools closing and essential items disappearing from the supermarket shelves, food banks are crucial in making sure that everyone has access to food. Great Hearts is located in northern Illinois so foodbanks like Care for Real, Greater Chicago Food Depository, and Northern Illinois Food Bank are supporting our local community. (nonprofits profiles will be linked) 


Food banks across the country are doing what they do best – feeding people in need within their communities. COVID-19 is now in all 50 states, but so is Feeding America.


The Feeding America network is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States, including during times of disasters and national emergencies. Feeding America launched the COVID-19 Response Fund, a national food- and fund-raising effort to support people facing hunger and the food banks who help them. 


This fund includes building an inventory of emergency food boxes and distributing them to member food banks across the country, as well as working to get incremental funding to support other anticipated costs. Feeding America is also working with government leaders to ensure the emergency response includes strong supports in food, funds, and flexibility for federal nutrition programs. 


While the media has reported greater at-risk factors for COVID-19 among the general population, many may not realize food-insecure households are likely more susceptible to the virus. This is believed to be due to lesser access to adequate health care, lower resistance or compromised immune systems, stigma or bias, or lack of information about proper prevention and care. 

For each like, tag, and comment on our social media post, Great Hearts will award a $1 grant. $1 = 10 meals for neighbors in need. There are 500 grants available. That’s 5,000 meals you can help make possible! 🌽🥪🥗 


Read More>




Skip the Resolutions. Go with Gratitude.

Gratitude is more than a trendy word. The American Heart Association says it’s a habit and practice that may actually change your health. Do you ever feel like you just can’t catch a break? Do you sometimes feel negative and cynical about life? Sure, we all do this a little, but doing it a lot can lead to depressionwhich is linked to poor heart health, more inflammation, and even a weaker immune system. Yikes! Some neuroscience experts think our brains focus on negative information as a way to remember the pain so we can avoid it in the future and stay safe. They call this the “negativity bias.” To balance out this natural tendency, we can practice gratitude. “Gratitude is good medicine,” says Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California-Davis and author of The Little Book of Gratitude. “Clinical trials indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life. It can lower blood pressure and improve immune function... grateful people engage in more exercise, have better dietary behaviors, are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol, and have higher rates of medication adherence.” Being grateful is one of the best things we can do. Here’s a simple way to get started: Send gratitude grants using the 'Thanks' clicklet. In less than five minutes, you can practice gratitude and help causes you care about. ____ Our thanks to the American Heart Association for the gratitude article on which this post is based. We'll be sending a $100 thank you grant to show our gratitude. 

A Community Brought Together Through Music - Fulcrum Point New Music Project

Fulcrum Point New Music Project is a creative community of musicians, composers, poets, choreographers, visual artists, and social activists. Fulcrum Point’s work connects people of all generations and cultures through programs that inspire understanding, health, and common values. Fulcrum Point welcomes and celebrates diverse, creative energies that enrich society through the arts.

Fulcrum Point has been consistently recognized as a significant catalyst in transformation. Its founders believe that the contemporary music community in Chicago is a vital part of the cultural fabric of the city. Fulcrum Point has presented works in settings as diverse as the  Field Museum, Old St. Pat’s, the National Museum of Mexican Art, Ravinia Festival, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. By embracing a broad range of styles, experimental opportunities, multimedia content, and significant social events, Fulcrum Point creates cultural exchange and helps build community.

For example, the "Feed the Need for Music" programs bring professional musicians to schools and student-centered organizations, where they provide instrument instruction and music programming.  In one class, "Creating Identity," students are empowered to explore their creativity and build an expression of their identity. Fulcrum Point is committed to the success of people who want to pursue music, from learning to performing. 

Learn more > Upcoming events >

No More Garbage Bags

Children who must be moved out of a bad situation have many troubles to deal with at such a young age. Even though these relocations are in the child's best interest, the process itself is still challenging. Children are taken from their homes with what little belongings they have to go somewhere new. Sadly, most of these children are given garbage bags to move the items they hold dear. This method is cheap and straightforward, but it gives the impression that what is within the bags is trash. Luggage of love has decided that this practice is not good enough for the children going through these severe changes. 

Luggage of loves provided all sorts of beautiful bags full of amazing goodies. New duffel bags, small suitcases, diaper bags & tote bags are collected and filled with hygiene and comfort items to be given to these children. These bags become theirs forever. 

A bag to put your belongings in or filled with essential items might seem like a simple gesture, but it makes all the difference to these children. Think about the comfort you feel when you have your purse or backpack with your daily essentials by your side, and how lost you feel without it. 

There are so many ways you can help these children through your support of Luggage of Love. You can volunteer and even make your own comfort bag! If you live in the Washinton State area you can drop off donations at 1414 16th Ave Longview, WA. If you are not in that area, don't worry, they have some amazon requests that can be sent straight to them. You can always donate money as well, about $50 is needed to construct a bag that will support a child through this traumatic time. Learn more about how you can help this wonderful nonprofit by clicking here.

Happy Giving Tuesday!

Giving Tuesday is right around the corner! After all the feasting and shopping of Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday is a chance to kick off the giving season. Many nonprofits within the Great Hearts Community are participating in Giving Tuesday, here are a few examples of nonprofits that are ready for this day of giving


This year, Susan G. Komen Chicago would like to invite you to donate and help them toward their bold goal of reducing the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50% in the U.S. by 2026.


Easter Seals would like to say that what you do today can make a difference in someone's life every day. Your #GivingTuesday gift will support services for people with disabilities, caregivers, and veterans across the country. 


Last year, Tutoring Chicago raised $23,000 on Giving Tuesday...this year their goal is to raise even more! Tutoring Chicago will provide personalized, one-to-one tutoring to 900 economically disadvantaged students across the city. Post on social media and tag @TutoringChicago on #GivingTuesday to make a difference in Chicago!


DupagePads is asking for your help to reach their #GivingTuesday goal of $25,000, providing Medical Respite and Case Management services for the next year! In honor of this #GivingTuesday, a generous donor is offering a matching challenge to double the impact of the first $5,000 in donations made on December 3rd!  A donation of $92 gives 1 night of respite housing, $640 gives 1 week of respite housing, and $1,280 gives 2 weeks of respite care. 


When you support the Hinsdale Humane Society you are not only supporting thousands of animals - you're investing in the well-being of the community as a whole. Your donations help provide their homeless animals with the food, vaccinations, care, and supplies needed to keep them safe and comfortable until they find their forever homes.


After you’ve shopped on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we encourage you to find a way for your family, business or organization to come together on this one special day to support any nonprofit that is important to you. Thanks in advance for your generosity on this important day—and every day!

Welcome Care For Real!

Great Hearts would like to introduce Care for Real, the newest nonprofit to be recommended by a Great Hearts Community member to our giving circle. For almost 50 years, Care for Real has been working with vulnerable, low-income populations throughout Chicago's northside communities, serving more than 70,000 annually.

           "Care for Real is Chicago's safety net for those who find themselves in a time of need. 97 cents from every dollar is returned to ensuring the organization provides the highest level of free programs and services. Serving communities for almost 50 years, Care for Real is a lifeline for all." 

Not only is Care for Real making an effort to "fill bellies," but they aim to do so in a healthier, more nutritious way. As the majority of clients turning to Care or Real include seniors and families with children under the age of 18, they are aggressively seeking food donations to help ensure their clients are living healthier lifestyles. This coincides with their "client choice" food distribution model that allows folks to pick and choose the food they receive from Care for Real.

Care for Real is currently working on Thanksgiving dinners. Thanksgiving dinner is not guaranteed for the families that Care for Real serves. With the high cost of housing, transportation, and everyday essentials, many do not have enough left in their food budgets to create a festive meal. You can make a difference by shopping here.

Every year, Care for Real provides food for clients to prepare more than 1,000,000 healthy, nutritious meals and distributes 300,000+ articles of clothing and personal care items. Help Care for Real put more food on family tables this holiday season.

Autumn Migration Might Lead to a Fall - Chicago Bird Collision Monitors

Chicago Bird Collision Monitors (CBCM) is an all-volunteer bird conservation project that operates under the auspices of the Chicago Audubon Society. CBCM works to protect and recover migratory birds that are killed and injured in the downtown Chicago area each spring and fall migration. We are now in the fall migration period making the work of CBCM much more vital for these next few months. 

If you are curious as to what to do if you find an injured bird, read the following the steps below. Now is the season where you might find one. -

Place the bird in a clean unwaxed paper bag or cardboard box of appropriate size, with paper toweling flat on the bottom. No plastic bags or containers! Fold the top of the bag down 1 inch, then fold again and secure the top with a paper clip. Secure the lid of the box with tape. Place the bag or box in a safe, dark, quiet place, away from extreme heat or cold. Call the CBCM hotline 773 988-1867 to arrange help for the bird. (If you get a recording, leave a message stating the time, your name, a number where you can be reached, and the location and condition of the bird.) DO NOT put food or water in the bag or box. DO NOT poke holes in the bag or box. NEVER open the bag or box to check on the bird. NEVER take a bird that is not in a closed bag or box into a building As soon as possible, transport the bird to a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center.

Confusing lights and glass building design cause thousands of birds migrating along the lakefront to collide with downtown buildings. CBCM is not only rescuing birds, but they are on the front line advocating for more bird-safe lighting and building design to reduce bird collisions in the city of Chicago. The Great Hearts Community loves the work CBCM is doing for our flying friends and asks you to keep an eye out this season for any feathered pals that might need your help. 

Feeding The Community - Liberty’s Kitchen

“You can’t come here and say, ‘I didn’t grow.'” – Nadja, Class of 2015


Liberty’s Kitchen helps motivated young adults “level up” into stability, a better job, secondary or post-secondary education, and an ever-evolving vision of their future. They invest in the potential of New Orleans youth to create and achieve their vision of success through a combination of workforce training, healthy food access, and leadership development. Liberty’s Kitchen is a nonprofit and supports its programs with teaching-focused businesses: their working café and coffeehouse, catering business, and contract food services. These businesses are designed to give their students practical experience while helping to sustain their programs. They utilize private donations and community grants for the balance of their funding needs.


The conditions that have deprived so many youths of the opportunity to reach their full potential are not new–they have existed for hundreds of years. Liberty’s Kitchen knows they will not change these conditions overnight. However, they envision that their work today will enable the life of the children and grandchildren of their graduates to be easier than theirs have been.


Liberty's Kitchen was founded in 2008 as a counterpoint to incarceration. The vision was to create a place where young adults who had been neglected or criminalized could come for a hot meal, a job opportunity, and a support system. Eleven years later, its alumni and trainees are using food as their vehicle for social change. To learn more about their journey and the effect on their students and community watch their video by clicking here. 



A Reason to Hope- A Letter from Café con Amor

"One of our customers—a student named Ben—bought a whole sack of coffee beans to sell coffee at his college, and apparently developed a loyal following.  Then he heard about one of our farm workers. Abèl had a problem with his dwelling, which was built with whatever cheap materials were at hand. It was definitely not waterproof and deteriorating fast.   When Ben heard about how we were trying to find money for better building materials for Abèl, he and his fellow students dug deep and made a wonderful donation. As he stood there holding the check, Abèl was amazed that people who didn't even know him would volunteer to help him out.   It was a great lesson on the power of good people forming connections of passion and love.   Cafè con Amor isn't about stock prices or profits.   It's about people.   It's about making something with your own hands that makes other people happy.   Coffee connects people, and Coffee is about people.    Because everything that Café con Amor does is centered around taking care of people, we seem to attract people with the same values.  Our farm workers, business associates, and customers are a special kind of people.  We are a tribe of people who care, not just in words, but in our actions.   Thank you for being a part of our tribe!   And the truth is that every package of Café con Amor that you buy helps to make this tribe and this mission a success.  And today is a GREAT TIME for all tribe members to order more! " 🌞 Click here:   Love, Marianella

Welcome Albert's Dog Lounge!

Albert's Dog Lounge is a foster-based rescue focused on providing loving homes to seniors, special needs, and hospice dogs. They help dogs in need from overcrowded shelters and also from local families who are no longer able to care for their pets.

This all started when the founders' lives changed forever. In 2016, a little senior dachshund named Albert arrived in Wisconsin and found himself homeless. Inadvertently put on a means of transport with no secure foster destination, Albert had nowhere to go. It was quickly decided that this tiny guy, who was suffering from congestive heart failure and years of neglect, absolutely had to find a home and a loving family....and find one he did. Not only did he find himself a home, but by charming the pants off everyone he met and stealing hearts with his Facebook shenanigans, he inspired Mandy and Darren to help hundreds of other old dogs find homes as well.

When Mandy and Darren initiated a fundraiser to expand their footprint in rescue, Albert's story inspired many to help. The dream was to convert a two-car garage into a retreat for dogs needing space and time to decompress and adjust to new lives. It would be called Albert's Dog Lounge. Unfortunately, shortly after the fundraiser kicked off, Albert passed suddenly. Devastated, Mandy and Darren's mission became clear: In Albert's memory, they would do even more to help senior and hospice dogs like the little one who had so greatly enriched their lives.  

At the end of 2018, the lives of 139 very special canines (and countless humans) were impacted thanks to the support received from Albert's friends, family and followers. Albert's Dog Lounge has grown from a couple of friends with a mutual passion to a group of more than 100 dedicated volunteers and foster families.  

Because of one little dog's inspiring spirit, they have been able to accomplish far more than they ever hoped and, in his honor, they will continue to show that old dogs really do make great new friends!

Heat-Related Illness a Danger for Homeless

"You can lose liters of fluid every day out there. You can be in the shade all day and still get dehydrated.” - Stephan Koruba

The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based organization that works to offer housing, healthcare and human connection to members of the Chicago community struggling with poverty or homelessness. With an open heart and an open mind, we accept people as they are and work to address their immediate needs while affirming their sense of humanity.

While winter weather poses dangers for individuals experiencing homelessness, living on the streets during the summer can create its own set of challenges.

Staff members with The Night Ministry's Health Outreach Bus and Street Medicine programs educate their clients about potential heat-related health conditions such as heat exhaustion and stroke, which can occur during prolonged exposure to hot temperatures, as well as tips for avoiding heat illnesses and a list of cooling centers.

But Stephan Koruba, The Night Ministry's Senior Nurse Practitioner, said there's one heat injury he sees frequently that patients don't always know they are experiencing—dehydration. "You can lose liters of fluid every day out there. You can be in the shade all day and still get dehydrated. Even on cooler days in the summer when you are not aware of how water is evaporating off your skin, you are still losing fluids," he said.

Like heat exhaustion and stroke, dehydration can lead to muscle cramps, nausea, and disorientation, among other issues. "Dizziness out on the streets can lead to passing out, falls and accidents. It decreases your level of awareness, which you need to maintain your safety," Koruba said. "If you don't have good control over your diet and you're not able to pick and choose what you're eating and drinking, then it can be tough to recover."

Conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and hypertension are common among homeless populations. Bethany Hess, Nurse Practitioner at The Night Ministry, says hot weather can make them worse. "These conditions become more intense and harder to control. Homelessness is stressful enough and then you add the stress of the weather on top of it," she said.

Learn more by reading The Night Ministry's article by clicking here> 

Fighting in Memory of Cheyenne

"When we lost our daughter, Cheyenne, we were devastated by the feeling that the world had lost a great person. She was tough and determined, 590 grams of fight, but also a kind and caring, little girl. She seemed to constantly worry about her twin brother Evan, even at the expense of her own health. Cheyenne was destined to do great things, and when she left us, we wanted a way to realize that potential.

On March 28, 2011, we started the Little Giraffe Foundation to share that life with the world. The organization is dedicated to funding neonatal research and supporting patients and parents of the NICU.

It's an ambitious goal, but in meeting with neonatologists, nephrologists, cardiologists, and the myriad of other doctors in the NICU, we realized there is an opportunity for funding research to impact the quality of life after the NICU.

Additionally, having gone through this experience, we learned that there are parents who could use small things like a book to read to their baby, a camera to take pictures or a holiday gift, so they know they are not forgotten.

Most importantly, we know that Cheyenne would have dedicated her life to doing something to better the world. We want to see that happen." 

- The Founders of the Little Giraffe Foundation

The primary goal, of the  Little Giraffe Foundation, is funding medical research focused on neonatal development within a NICU environment. There are a number of doctors and nurses working on cutting edge research, but in order to further this work, adequate funding is needed for staff, equipment, and lab work. The Little Giraffe Foundation is working to partner with research institutions across the country to coordinate Neonatal research and communication across the NICU community.

‘Urgent Needs From Head to Toe’

Lisa and Stevie Crider were told to arrive early if they wanted to see a doctor, so they left their apartment in rural Tennessee almost 24 hours before the temporary medical clinic was scheduled to open. They packed a plastic bag with what had become their daily essentials after 21 years of marriage: An ice pack for his recurring chest pain. Tylenol for her swollen feet. Peroxide for the abscess in his mouth. Gatorade for her low blood sugar and chronic dehydration.

When Stevie and Lisa arrived at the clinic a little after 2 a.m. did it occur to them how large that medical gap has become in parts of rural America. Dozens of people were sprawled out in sleeping bags on the asphalt parking lot. Others had pitched tents on an adjacent lawn. The lot was already filled with more than 300 cars from all over the rural South, where a growing number of people in medical distress wait for hours at emergency clinics in order to receive basic primary care. 

Tennessee has lost 14 percent of its rural physicians and 18 percent of its rural hospitals in the past decade. The federal government now estimates that a record 50 million rural Americans live in what it calls "health care shortage areas," where the number of hospitals, family doctors, surgeons, and paramedics has declined to 20-year lows.

What’s arrived in their place are sporadic free clinics such as the one in Cleveland, where a nonprofit agency called Remote Area Medical brought in a group of doctors, nurses and other volunteers for the weekend to transform the local high school into a makeshift hospital.

“We’ll do as much as we can for as many as we can,” a clinic volunteer promised as she patrolled the parking lot late at night and handed out numbers to signify each patient’s place in the line. The clinic doors opened at 6 a.m., and the director invited the first 100 patients to come inside. 

“My wife needs to get indoors,” Stevie told people in line, and some of them looked at Lisa and began moving out of the way, until Stevie and Lisa were entering the building and sitting down at a table for medical check-in. 

“We’re going to take good care of you,” the volunteer said, “What’s been bothering you?”

To read the entire story and see how Remote Area Medical was able to help Stevie and Lisa click here> 

Watch another video about the great work of Remote Area Medical by clicking here> 



Saslow, E. (2019, June 22). 'Urgent needs from head to toe': This clinic had two days to fix a lifetime of needs. Retrieved from


From Farm to Table- Support The Whole Way

The Capuchin Soup Kitchen is a nonprofit in Detroit Michigan that was inspired by the life and spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. They tend to people's basic needs, especially the need for food. They strive to stimulate minds and nourish spirits of the people they serve as they work to understand and address the root causes of social injustice in their community.


The Capuchin Soup Kitchen has a variety of programs that are designed to better the lives for the people of their city. For example, The Earthworks Urban Farm is a 2.5 acre certified organic farm. Here they are building a just and beautiful food system through education, inspiration, and community development.


There are 22 plots in Detroit that are owned by The Earthworks Urban Farm. These plots range from orchards, apiaries, greenhouses, and community plots where anyone in the community can plant their own food.


Another Fantastic Program by The Capuchin Soup Kitchen is the On the Rise Bakery. The bakers working there have recently been released from prison or have completed a substance abuse treatment program. They truly want to change their lives and they are given the opportunity to do so through this program. On the Rise Bakery Café is a program where each man is responsible to reach back and support the newest member. With each purchase of baked goods, On the Rise Bakery Café is helping to provide support for housing, training, counseling services, educational opportunities, and self-help programs. 

A Thank You Note for Illinois Leadership Seminar

Seminar 2019 for the Illinois Leadership Seminar, has come to a close. Over 100 young leaders joined the ILS Family. ILS shared with the beautiful words of a recent 2019 Leader who described her Seminar experience. "A journey that could take three days, but I plan to make last a lifetime... ILS. On the first day of the Illinois Leadership Seminar, I walked along a path of amazing, excited people welcoming me to the campus. I came prepared for Group 4 with my pink sweatband. I volunteered to speak in front of 200 people I didn't even know! I found out I'm a socializer (big surprise lol). I started a conga line! I was welcomed into a beautiful, diverse family that will last a lifetime. I learned to discover and break my boxes. I learned to be authentically ME! On the second day of ILS, I built a boat of my values and activities I hold dearest to my heart. I became a part of Beta land where we WIN by HUSTLING! Then, I learned to accept vulnerability in front of my peers. I was welcomed into a safe environment with no judgment, and it was so rewarding. I was shown so, so much talent at our showcase, and provided so so much support. I shared my love and compassion for my group members. On day three of ILS, I wrote thanks to the people that made this opportunity possible. I handed out my warm fuzzies to people that made such a huge impact on me. I learned the meaning of transformational leadership. I came in cheering to a group of outstanding parents, and I left a place I had begun to call home. You haven't seen the last of me, #ilseminars! I hope to return next year, and in many years to come! This isn't goodbye, it sees you soon." Love your leader changed to alumni, Lilyen

Beating the Odds: This Marine Didn't Let Cancer Stop Him From Serving His Country

Lance Cpl. Caleb Eudy, with Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, became a Marine despite battling cancer and being determined unfit for duty, and he did it with the support of the Marines with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division.

Eudy endured recruit training for approximately one month before receiving the life-changing news that he had been diagnosed with Lymphoma. While fighting cancer, Eudy was sent back home to Arab, Alabama. If it wasn’t for the support that the unit offered him, he wouldn’t be a Marine today.

During this time, he experienced the brotherhood of the Marines around him as they helped him through his personal battle. The camaraderie reminded Eudy of why he wanted to become a Marine in the first place.

“I felt that brotherhood which I had never felt before,” Eudy said. “They took care of me and I wanted that. I wanted to be part of a family that was more than just my own family.”

“He left a major impact on the Marines in the unit,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Burns, an administrative chief with Battery K, 2/14.

After Eudy won the battle against cancer, he had another battle to face. He was determined unfit for duty and told he would receive disability benefits, but that’s not what he wanted. He had to prove he was fit to return to recruit training and finish what he started.

“I asked him if he wanted to get out with benefits or if he wanted to become a Marine,” Burns said. “He looked me in the eyes and said ‘I want to be a Marine. I don’t care how much money it is. I just want that title of being a Marine.’ From that day on I knew I couldn’t change his mind. Nobody could change his mind.”

Since 1941, the United Service Organizations has stood by our troops through every step of their service. From deployment to rehabilitation and reintegration, we're there for soldiers and their families. Because we are not a government agency, we rely on generous support from donors like you to fund programs and services that best fit the needs of our troops.

He proved himself fit for duty and returned to recruit training ready to become a Marine. He finally made his dreams reality by becoming a Marine after 956 days as a recruit. He also reenlisted to make up for the time he missed. On April 26, 2019, Eudy was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal at Parris Island. As a Marine, he plans to grow and help others the way Marines with Battery K, 2/14 helped him.


To read the full article from USO click here>


To watch the video of Eudy's story click here>


The Kindness Connection

The Kindness Connection’s (TKC) mission is to inspire youth to be lifelong volunteers. How do we create a kinder world? Teach kids about empathy and giving back. TKC believes that positive volunteer experiences early in life have the power to inspire individuals to make the practice of giving their time and resources to charitable and civic causes an intrinsic part of their lives. TKC started as a vision of two Wilmette, IL mothers who wanted to find meaningful age-appropriate volunteer projects to do with their children. Armed with the belief that young children have as much to give and learn from community service as older children, The Kindness Connection was born.   TKC offers ten volunteer projects that are creative and carefully designed with input from its nonprofit partners. The completed projects are useful to the recipients, and will also bring them joy. The handmade projects are designed to allow quality results from the volunteer no matter the age or ability. Volunteer with The Kindness Connection today. There are many ways to get involved. Visit The Kindness Connection space at Northbrook Court, have your school contact TKC about our school-based Kindness Days, volunteer to lead our programs or just spread kindness by doing something kind for others today! Since 2006, The Kindness Connection has reached 35,000 youth volunteers through 75 schools and organizations and delivered over 45,000 handmade projects to 40 nonprofits around the world. Learn More about The Kindness Connection here > Visit TKC at Northbrook Court via video >

Dogs Are Happy When Their Human Family Is Happy

 "If everybody could see the face of our kids when they meet their dogs, they'd know."    Want to get a quick look inside the life of a 4 Paws family? Check out the video linked here and learn more about why 4 Paws is so passionate about placing service dogs with children!  At 4 Paws, many dogs become service dogs and are placed with children. The results have been miraculous. Children and their families have gotten their lives back. In those first years, 4 Paws saw the following:   One child with Autism is now safe from the dangers he might face when he wanders because Patches can track him within minutes. A woman in New York traveled to 4 Paws in Ohio, to get a dog for emotional support. The founder's service dog, Ben was with her, as she read a letter, which said she had made her first trip to the store alone and had no panic attack. However, she wasn’t really alone: Pepper was at her side. Katie, a ten-year-old with seizures, slept in her own bed for the first time with Roxie beside her keeping watch. Roxie will bark if Katie has a seizure so Mom and Dad can come to help. A mom in Anchorage, Alaska says, “Our family is absolutely overcome by how much Halo has changed our lives. I just wanted to thank you for making our lives so much better, for putting the joy back into our days. You really did. My goal for Leo is just that he can be happier. Halo does that, she makes him happier. I don’t know if I told you this yet or not, but he is sleeping in his own bed the entire night. For the first time in four years.”   The work of 4 Paws has touched so many people's hearts. > More about 4 Paws here.

The 20th Women of Concern Awards Luncheon

Concern Worldwide U.S. Inc. is a New York-based, not-for-profit corporation. They are a global community of humanitarians, partners, community members, supporters, donors, and volunteers who share a common vision of a world where no one lives in poverty, fear, or oppression, and all can exercise their rights to a decent standard of living, can have access to the opportunities and choices essential to a long, healthy, and creative life, and can be treated with dignity and respect.


In Chicago, this Thursday Concern Worldwide U.S. will be hosting its 20th Women of Concern Awards Luncheon. This is a celebration of the accomplishments of women and girls around the world. This year, Concern is proud to recognize the achievements of exceptional women who are using their platform to amplify the voices of mothers and children throughout the world.


Get ready for an inspiring luncheon from 11 am to 2 pm at the Hilton Chicago Hotel on Michigan Avenue. There will be a lively discussion and the opportunity to make a big impact on Concern programs that serve women and children like Clotilde and her daughter Ines (photographed above), whose lives and community have been transformed by Concern’s livelihoods, cash for work, and micro-finance programs in Cibitoke, Burundi. To learn more about the Luncheon click here.


The Great Hearts Community supports the great work of Concern Worldwide U.S., support this nonprofit by giving a Shout Out Clicklet and favoriting their profile.

Empowering Military Veterans & Families

Pat Tillman Foundation’s mission is to unite and empower remarkable military veterans and spouses as the next generation of public and private sector leaders committed to service beyond self. In 2002, Pat Tillman proudly put his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals on hold to serve his country. Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following Pat's death in April 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. Created to honor Pat's legacy of leadership and service, the Pat Tillman Foundation invests in military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships.

Founded in 2008, the Tillman Scholars program is building the leading fellowship program for military veterans and spouses. The program supports active-duty service members, veterans and their spouses with academic scholarships, a national network, and professional development opportunities, so they are empowered to make an impact at home and around the world.

Each year, up to 60 candidates are chosen from thousands of applicants to become Tillman Scholars. These remarkable individuals are already making a difference in the fields of medicine, law, business, technology, education, the arts and more. Pat Tillman Foundation made a $1.3 million lifetime commitment to the 2018 Class of Tillman Scholars, from a pool of approximately 2,400 applications.

To learn more about Pat Tillman and to support the mission and vision of the foundation in his name, watch the video linked here and give a shout out grant. The Great Hearts Community supports the great work of the Pat Tillman Foundation.


A Happy Home for Every Child

Every child deserves a happy, healthy home. Sadly, every day abused and neglected children in our communities are placed into temporary foster care because their parents cannot - or will not - take care of them. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of McHenry County gives these children a voice in court so they can grow up in safe, permanent homes where they can thrive. CASA volunteers make a life-long difference for children, one child at a time. CASA of McHenry County has provided a voice for more than 450 children with the dedication of nearly 200 trained volunteer advocates. Every year McHenry County receives more than 2,000 reports of child abuse and neglect. Over 200 children become court involved as victims of child abuse and neglect.

Often professionals working on these cases change regularly making it difficult for children to build trust. Because CASA professionals are assigned to only one case at a time, they can provide consistency and individualized attention that is often missing in the life of abused and neglected children. Children with CASA gain a caring and supportive person who always looks out for their best interests.

CASA of McHenry County is a member of the Illinois CASA Association and the National CASA Association. Both organizations provide support in the form of training and technical assistance to CASA programs across the state and nation.

With the support of local businesses, individuals, and foundations CASA continues to grow so that every child in McHenry County's Juvenile Abuse court has a CASA. Whether the economy is good or bad, these children and their needs do not disappear. The Great Hearts Community supports the great work of CASA. Favorite CASA and please consider supporting this organization with a thank you grant and/or award clicklets.

Duck, Duck Run! for a Cure

The Alex Mandarino Foundation is passionately dedicated to funding research for a cure to childhood cancer. Their mission is to provide critical funding for research related to the prevention, treatment, and ultimate cure of neuroblastoma and other pediatric cancers.

In the U.S., more children die of childhood cancer than any other disease -- more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies, and diabetes combined. Two-thirds of children treated for childhood cancer will suffer long-term effects from treatment including loss of hearing and sight, heart disease, secondary cancers, learning disabilities, infertility and more. 

In the last 20 years, only three new drugs have been approved that were specifically developed to treat children with cancer. And less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute's budget is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research. This is why the work of organizations like The Alex Mandarino Foundation is so critical. They are committed their mission of ending the devastation these diseases wreak.

The Alex Mandarino Foundation is also committed to providing financial assistance to families in Southwest Michigan whose children have cancer. Consider bringing hope to children fighting cancer today and to all those who will be thrust in this fight tomorrow by donating to this amazing cause. Also, if you are near the Saint Joseph, Michigan area, consider joining The Alex Mandarino Foundation in running for a cure during their 7th Annual Duck Duck Run.

Since starting Alex’s Duck Duck Run in 2013 they have raised over $200,000 for childhood cancer research. All proceeds go to funding the best clinical trials and research.  The 7th Annual Alex's Duck Duck Run will take place at Margaret Upton Arboretum on Saturday, June 15, 2019. For more information about this event click on the link here.

Find a Furry Friend!

The Italian Greyhound Rescue Foundation's (IGRF) is to find homes for rescued Italian Greyhounds and to educate the public on the care and training required by this breed.


IGRF has adoptable Italian Greyhounds, including puppies and adult dogs, throughout the United States. Not only will IGRF have the perfect pup for you, but they have many amazing senior dogs with so much love to give. Senior dogs make great companions for senior citizens, and senior IGs are the sweetest and most deserving of a new home.


While we may dream of a day when every Italian Greyhound lives out its life in a happy, loving home, we know that goal is unlikely in the foreseeable future. There are times when dogs need extra resources to secure a loving home. IGRF ideally would love to have the capacity to accept every needy Italian Greyhound into their foster program and provide advanced veterinary services with no fear of financial ruin for the long-term funding of the program.


There is no question that running an animal support charity requires funding, and including the Italian Greyhound Rescue Foundation as one of your donation recipients will help provide care for Italian Greyhounds throughout the United States. Without financial donations, the IGRF would not be able to pay for medical costs, food, and medications needed by the dogs in their care.


Please consider helping these wonderful animals by participating this week in the Great Hearts “Shoot Out” grant giving event. It’s easy and fun. Click here. You can also donate directly on their website by clicking here. 

A Helping Hand for Mental Health

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization named after 3-time Olympian, Jeret  "Speedy" Peterson of Boise, ID and Park City, UT. Their mission is to prevent suicide, support mental health education, and promote conversations to end stigma. The Speedy Foundation raises funds for, and collaborates with, other advocacy groups to achieve their mission.


In the sports world, Speedy was a Freestyle Aerialist and 2010 Olympic Silver Medalist. In 2011, Jeret lost his battle to depression. Those who knew him remember Speedy as an advocate for his own struggles with mental health as well as having a deep concern for the well-being of others.


When Speedy passed away, his family and friends learned that Idaho was the only state in the US without a suicide prevention hotline of it's own. Their first mission was the help fundraise and use Speedy's story to help champion the cause. Idaho now has it's own hotline and during the 2016 legislative session, the State added the hotline back into the budget and partially funds this incredible resource.


A mental health crisis is more common than most people realize. You are more likely to come across a person having a mental health crisis than a person having a heart attack. Where CPR training is common, the same is not true of responding to a mental health crisis. They believe it is crucial to prepare to help their neighbors, friends, relatives and coworkers when they need help. The Speedy Foundation supports and provides Mental Health First Aid and QPR trainings in Idaho and Utah. The Great Hearts Community supports the Speedy Foundation and its important efforts.

A Legacy Continues to Grow

Afrika Tikkun, a multi-award-winning organization, was founded soon after the emergence of Democracy in South Africa. Their visionary founders-- the late Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris and the late philanthropist and businessman, Bertie Lubner-- had a vision of focusing on investing in children, knowing they represented the future of the country. This inspired the-then President Nelson Mandela to volunteer as their Patron-in-Chief-- an honor that he only bestowed on four organizations, during his lifetime.


For the last 23 years, Afrika Tikkun has worked to redress the consequences of institutionalized oppression in South Africa. Their unique Cradle-to-Career Development Model enables their 550+ employees to deliver services addressing holistic educational, medical and economic needs of marginalized youth from early infancy through adulthood, inspiring and enabling them to become productive citizens and leaders.


Afrika Tikkun would like to extend an invitation to their annual legacy celebration! Aside from enjoying African food and entertainment with like-minded supporters, you’ll meet four young South Africans who are the epitome of Mandela's insight. As beneficiaries of Afrika Tikkun, they have risen above unfathomable challenges. The inaugural Spirit of Mandela Global Impact Award will be presented to Steve Collis, CEO of AmerisourceBergen Corp for his courage and emulation of Mandela's vision. You will be as stunned at their capacity to embrace their destiny as 'Future Leaders'. The Afrika Tikkun USA 2019 Legacy Celebration will be held on April 9th, at Liseter Estate, Newtown Square, PA. You can get tickets and find more information about this event by clicking on this link.

10 Years of Hope

"The many clients that received these hygiene kits all benefited greatly from them. Our Clients come to us with many needs, one of the greatest being the need for hygiene products. In this season, Clean the World helped us continue to provide that. Our Clients are now living cleaner, healthier lives because of the partnership between the Hope Center and Clean the World." 

-Angie Etman, Development Director, Community Hope Center


Improving health and saving lives requires not only access to soap but also a holistic approach that focuses on ongoing education and integrates proper hygiene into a comprehensive program that also addresses water and sanitation as well. Diarrheal diseases kill approximately 1.8 million people per year. Globally, approximately 2.5 billion cases of diarrhea occur among children under five years old every year.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank promote handwashing with soap as the most efficient and cost-effective intervention to reduce this tragic statistic. Besides combatting diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhea, improved hygiene with soap also addresses a wide range of lesser known, but debilitating, tropical diseases. Illnesses that are often neglected by an overwhelmed medical system in developing countries.

By offering access to cleaning supplies and education, Clean The World is making a difference everywhere they go. However, they can’t do it alone, a lot of the soap is donated to Clean The World, most of which comes through their hotel recycling program. Clean The World partners in hotels to give their discarded soap bars and plastic bottles a second life.

Clean The World works to generate a locally sustainable impact in each community they serve, which requires a localized approach and long-term investment strategies to avoid the type of unintended consequences that often come with humanitarian aid. Please consider visiting their profile and seeing how you could help.

Kitchen Essentials to help Resettle

RefugeeOne creates opportunities for refugees fleeing war, terror, and persecution to build new lives of safety, dignity, and self-reliance.


Every year, RefugeeOne serves more than 2,500 refugees and immigrants of all ages, ethnic groups, faiths, and backgrounds. Resettlement is often a stressful and challenging process. Their primary focus is to assist these resilient individuals in becoming an independent, self-supporting member of their new community.


As the largest resettlement agency in Illinois, RefugeeOne has welcomed more than 18,500 refugees since 1982. RefugeeOne walks alongside refugees from the moment they land at O'Hare International Airport—welcoming them to Chicago and providing furnished apartments, English classes, job search support, mental health care, youth programming, and mentors to help them adjust to life in the U.S.


Under the care of their dedicated caseworkers, RefugeeOne provides all new arrivals with a furnished apartment, as well as cultural orientation and comprehensive family adjustment services. RefugeeOne also helps them learn English, prepare for the American workforce, and find jobs. The ultimate goal of their programs is to help refugees become self-sufficient in as few as 6 to 9 months.


Learning English is the most critical skill for new Americans to become self-reliant. Their English Language Training program empowers students to learn English so they can take advantage of the wealth of opportunities available to them in their new home.


RefugeeOne also holds collection drives every season so help support these refugees in settling into their new home. The current one this season is their kitchen drive, to learn more about what they need by visiting their WISHLIST clicklet.


Supporting Our Troops

Operation Support Our Troops (OSOT) mission is to support the morale and well-being of American forces by providing comfort, resources, and education to them and their families​, both while they are deployed and after their return. As a volunteer-based non-profit organization, Operation Support Our Troops provides the opportunity for community members to express their appreciation and also offer support for our troops. Engaged in the longest war of our country’s history and with our servicemen and women completing multiple tours of duty, they are committed to showing them that "We Have NOT Forgotten."


One way OSOT helps the troops is through their comfort package program. It has always been OSOT’s belief that service members who feel supported by their country while they are away will have an easier time with reintegration. This program sends out 5,000 packages each year. However, programs like this are expensive ​– each year over $100,000 is spent on postage for this program alone! Donations help to fund that postage along with warehouse costs for donated items. Monetary contributions also cover items for the boxes that are needed and have not been given.


Another vital part of Operation Support Our Troops' mission is taking care of the families of the military, – especially in areas where there is no access to military provided support. OSOT helps to support these families by offering things like education and resource materials, hosting speakers/counselors dealing with deployment and reintegration issues, and working to make corporate partnerships to utilize their available resources to give back to troops and veterans. They even have a program called the Baby Basket Project, which provides a basket of baby items and goodies to wives who deliver while husband is deployed.


Operation Support Our Troops is a phenomenal organization that is helping to support the people who protect us. Please check out their profile to learn more and send them a Thank You clicklet for all the great work that they do! Each Thank you clicklet you send turns into a $1 grant to support their programs.

Furnishing Hope!

Sharing Connections brings together community members by enabling families and businesses to share their gently used furniture and household items with families needing assistance. This is a unique opportunity for the community to directly make an impact by passing on something they no longer need to make a difference in the life of a family.



Image above reflects current inventory levels.

  GROUP PROJECTS ARE GREAT FOR YOUTH & ADULT GROUPS! If your schedule does not allow you to come into the warehouse to volunteer, but you still want to have a direct impact on the families Sharing Connections serves, take a look at our service projects! These are also ideal volunteer projects for younger kids. Simply decide which project your group will do, collect the items for the project, assemble the items as described below and deliver them to Sharing Connections. Your group can even tour of the warehouse when your group drops off their project.     Looking for the perfect group project? Take our DRESSER CHALLENGE! More Info Here!     PROJECT IDEAS Looking for a great collection idea for your group? At Sharing Connections, we work hard to provide each family the personal care and cleaning supplies they need for a healthy home.  These are items that cannot be purchased with food stamps, so far too often they are not purchased.  PERSONAL CARE Toothbrush & Toothpaste Shampoo & Conditioner Bar Soap Deodorant Lotion Feminine Products CLEANING SUPPLIES Paper Towels Toilet Paper Dish Soap Floor Cleaner Dusting Spray Air Freshener Garbage Bags BABY ITEMS Diapers Sizes 1-5 Baby Wipes HOUSEHOLD Towels Dishes & Cups Flatware Pots & Pans               SPECIAL PROJECTS & COLLECTIONS Whether it's a collection during the holidays or for that returning student, we collect new items throughout the year that go directly to families that participate in one of our seasonal programs.   NEW TOYS & GIFTS New toys for boys and girls ages 1-12 $20-$25 gift cards to stores like Walmart, Target and Kohl's New hats, scarves, gloves and winter coats Make-up and cologne gift baskets Gift baskets for the whole family New children's books and games Gifts for teen girls and boys 13-17 years SCHOOL SUPPLIES Pencils Notebook Paper Rulers Crayons Markers Glue Folders DROP OFF YOUR DONATIONS TODAY!                      

The Little Sanctuary That Could

If you have a heartfelt, deep sense of mission for anything in life, you keep going. In our case, our mission, our passion was and is rescuing animals and attempting to change attitudes along the way. 


Stardust Animal Sanctuary began in 2001. It was just the two of us, Laurie Kay and Leslie SanFilippo, racing to save animals before it was too late. We rented farmland in Elgin, IL so that Stardust had a place for dogs, cats, or horses who others deemed as throwaways. We saw ourselves as the Little Sanctuary that could.


We realized that some of these animals were too unprepared for life within a normal home setting. They were fear biters, or medically challenged, or too withdrawn to be embraced by someone just looking to adopt a happy-go-lucky new family member.


That’s when our real work began. We established a permanent Sanctuary home for us and the animals in Richmond, IL. We expanded our vision to include the most overlooked animals of all, farm animals. 


We have had some great successes and devastating defeats. We just keep trying, and going, one step at a time. We raise funds for the care of the animals through small but worthwhile ways, a kissing booth in a dog grooming shop, a bakery donating a percentage of profits during a fundraising week, everything so far but a car wash. I’m sure that’s around the corner too! 


Even with a permanent home base, we can’t take in all who need a home. We discovered that sponsorship does indeed save lives. We offer sponsorship of animals who are in high-kill facilities or other dire circumstances and are running out of time. A rescue who has space but not adequate funds will say yes and we will fund them so they can take in an animal whose life would otherwise be cut short. 


We have successfully partnered with people who share the same vision - Debby Rubenstein of Have A Heart Farm, Kelly Tope of Farmaste Sanctuary, and Cheryl Claar, an independent rescuer. Each of these extraordinary individuals have helped us in our mission. We thank them as often as possible.


In 2018 so far, the following has occurred: We became an emergency foster to five potbelly pigs, each one of them a smart, funny individual. We became a forever home to three special needs dwarf goats, including Pygmy goat Peanut who had to have an emergency leg amputation, and we saved the lives of three dogs with serious medical issues - Ollie, Dominique, and Milo, an eight-week-old puppy. They’re battling extensive skin issues, emergency surgery, and Parvo, respectively.


Each challenge is embraced, and whatever comes our way, we persevere. Optimism and hard work, I think I can - I think I can. It’s a lesson from a long time ago but it helps us truly focus on what is possible and how individuals with a passion can reach out and help those in need.







Mission Statement 


Stardust Animal Sanctuary is a nonprofit 501(c)3 committed to providing a loving permanent home to farm animals as well as dogs, cats, and horses.


With lifetime care and guardianship of these permanent residents, we can address their special needs, whether it originated with medical issues, fear-based behavior, neglect, or abuse. These farm and companion animals simply need the safety and comfort of a truly forever home.


It is our mission that these animals are seen for the amazing individuals that they are. With education and healing potential in mind, we welcome the public to spend time here within the sanctuary environment. 


Click here to meet some of Stardust's animal residents and to be inspired.

NKFI is Celebrating Kidneys. We are too!

March is national kidney month. The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois (NKFI) has been spreading awareness and fighting kidney disease.


(clockwise, from top left): Almost 250 participants were screened for kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and more on World Kidney Day. 

Illinois advocates joined 100+ others at the Kidney Patient Summit in Washington, D.C. March 5-6. They met with legislators and asked for early detection of kidney disease, protections for living kidney donors, and increased funding for research. For more information or to become an advocate, click hereKidneyMobile season officially began Thursday, March 8. The mobile clinic will travel across the state through November - offering free health screenings to thousands of Illinois residents.   


Donate Today


All month long, we're celebrating kidneys. They're the hard-working but often forgotten organs that you can't live without! Heart Your Kidneys by giving back this month. 


Give Time

We always need volunteers! Fill out a volunteer profile here to get involved.   

Give Money

Every dollar ensures our life-saving programs are FREE for participants because of donors like you!   

Give Life

Register to become a deceased organ donor or learn about living kidney donation. (¡En español, tambien!)





The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois improves the health and well-being of people at risk for or affected by kidney disease through prevention, education and empowerment.


Inspiring On and Off the Slopes

In the sports world, Jeret "Speedy" Peterson was a Freestyle Aerialist and 2010 Olympic Silver Medalist. In 2011, Jeret lost his battle to depression. Those who knew him remember Speedy as an advocate for his own struggles with mental health as well as having a deep concern for the well-being of others.

When Speedy passed away, his family and friends learned that Idaho was the only state in the US without a suicide prevention hotline of it's own. Our first mission was the help fundraise and use Speedy's story to help champion the cause. Idaho now has it's own hotline and during the 2016 legislative session the State added the hotline back into the budget and partially funds this incredible resource. 

A mental health crisis is more common than most people realize. You are more likely to come across a person having a mental health crisis than a person having a heart attack. Where CPR training is common, the same is not true of responding to a mental health crisis. We believe it is crucial to prepare to help our neighbors, friends, relatives and coworkers when they need help. The Speedy Foundation supports and provides Mental Health First Aid and QPR trainings in Idaho and Utah. 

  The Speedy Foundation's MISSION  

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization named after 3-time Olympian, Jeret  "Speedy" Peterson of Boise, ID and Park City, UT. Our mission is to prevent suicide, support mental health education, and promote conversations to end stigma. The Speedy Foundation raises funds for, and collaborates with, other advocacy groups to achieve our mission.

SkyART--Imaginative Possibilities and Impact

SkyART is a permanent fixture in the vibrant cultural landscape of Chicago's South Side. Founded 16 years ago with a mission to provide youth with an accessible, safe place to participate in quality visual arts programs at no cost, SkyART continues to fulfill its mission in South Chicago and surrounding neighborhoods, reaching young people through a rich variety of programs. Driving its mission, is a deep understanding of the transformative power of art and its capacity to enhance intellectual, emotional, and social development. SkyART is a foundation from which creativity grows, connections are made, and individuals flourish.  All SkyART participants – whether they are part of a one-hour workshop in a community center, enjoy five weeks of after-school arts programming, or spend a year in programs at the SkyART Studios – are invited into a world of imaginative possibilities. Every participant is challenged and encouraged to find a voice to share their experience and to develop the curiosity to look beyond it at the larger world. SkyART makes connections that go beyond the individual, to positively impact all of the communities where we work and the city of which they are a vital part.  All activities at SkyART are guided by three core values that define the organization:  Accessibility – SkyART removes barriers for young people to participate in free and consistent programming, to visit cultural institutions, and to connect with other communities and the broader world.  Stability – SkyART is a consistent presence in the lives of our young people, the “third place” after home and school. We create an encouraging and supportive environment where young people develop meaningful relationships with their peers and SkyART staff, creating a feeling of extended family.  Totality – SkyART acknowledges that every young person has their own life experience and we are responsive to that reality. We understand that each is a whole human being with unique needs. We are committed to providing what is essential to their growth. 

Meet Carson: An ALL Survivor

Carson's part of a community of heroes for a common cause.

In October 2016, after a few months of asymptomatic fevers, joint pain, and extreme irritability Carson was admitted to the University of Virginia Children's Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia where she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Despite the many challenges she's faced with the disease and treatment, she remains an amazing and brave little girl. She is a wonderful, loving and precocious three-and-a-half year old girl who adores her older sister. She desires nothing more than spending time with her family, dressing up like a princess and swimming on hot afternoons. 

For more inspirational stories, click here.


About: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Illinois Chapter (LLS) is: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. 

LLS exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. We are the voice for all blood cancer patients and we work to ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients.

LLS is the leading source of free, specialized blood cancer information, education and support for patients, survivors, families and healthcare professionals. We touch patients in their communities through our chapters across the U.S. and Canada. We advocate for blood cancer survivors and their families, helping patients navigate their cancer treatments and ensuring they have access to quality, affordable and coordinated care.

Creating A Place to Dream, Find Peace and Comfort

Special Spaces creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical illnesses. This is a place that only the child can dream or imagine while addressing their medical needs. Our focus is answering one question; Where does a child go when battling a serious illness to find peace and comfort?

Special Spaces was founded in July 2004 on the precedent that children battling life-threatening illnesses need their own special space.  This is a place of hope and inspiration, and a special space to find peace and comfort. As of today, Special Spaces has created hundreds of bedrooms across the country.  It is the vision of our organization to have a Special Spaces Director everywhere there is a child in need.

Special Spaces Chicagoland is a Great Hearts Community member. Today we’re showcasing their work and Sophia’s story.

How it works  Special Spaces first meets with the child and family to find out their wants and needs for their dream bedroom. After interviewing the child and family, a team of contractors, seamstresses, painters and a group of eager volunteers meet up and in a single day transform the bedroom into a new place of hope, comfort and joy!

How Can I Help?  Special Spaces relies solely on the generous donations of local businesses, corporations, community and youth groups and foundations. Ask your group or business to sponsor a room for a child in need and help us change a life!  Click here for more about how you can help.


The Impact of a Fall

Reflecting on a Decade’s Ripple Effect

Ten years ago today, I fell. I fell from a roof onto the hard concrete below. Ten years ago, the impact of that fall affected my body – breaking numerous bones that, along with my life, had to be painstakingly and patiently put back together. Ten years ago, the impact of that fall was very personal – between me and my body, me and my family, and me and my identity – but the ripple effect of that impact has reached far further than I ever could have imagined.

Because, my time in the University of Tennessee Medical Center – Level 1 Trauma Department ten years ago (read more about that here) and my realization of the role that hope plays in the healing process changed my life. And, by extension, has changed the lives of countless other people in communities across the country.

As I reflect on my accident a decade later, Random Acts of Flowers – the organization founded as a direct response to my experience – is closing in on making 250,000 deliveries of hope and encouragement nationwide. Our five branches continue to impact more lives each month by increasing the number of deliveries, linking up with more healthcare and floral partners, reaching out to volunteers at community organizations, and spreading the word of our mission far beyond their own branch backyards. Further, organizations inspired by Random Acts of Flowers’ simple goal of recycling flowers and delivering hope are serving people in more than two dozen communities outside RAF’s service areas.

This ripple effect cannot be denied.

Random Acts of Flowers deliveries do not only touch the lives of the recipients. We receive testimonials from family members, doctors and nurses, RAF volunteers, and community members about how the RAF mission has touched their lives. Hope is an infinite resource and it can be delivered in myriad forms. For us, the vase and the flowers are the catalyst for making real connections with people and for sharing personal moments of kindness.

I can’t imagine how many people we will have impacted and inspired ten years from now. Half a million? A million? Five million? More? As RAF puts down roots and its branches reach further into each community, the ripple effect will only increase. That’s an impact I am happy to make again and again.

So today of all days, I encourage you, wherever you are, to remember that each day blooms anew, turns over a new leaf, and is an opportunity to make an impact for the better in your own life and to your community. Get out there, make an impact, and live your life filled with hope.

Larsen Jay, Founder, Random Acts of Flowers

Mexico Earthquakes: World Vision Report

At least 225 people are dead after a magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck central Mexico Tuesday, Sept. 19, on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 Mexico earthquake that killed thousands. Hours before it hit, people throughout Mexico were conducting earthquake drills to mark the date.

“I heard this rumble in the walls, so I rushed downstairs,” said Victor Martinez, World Vision emergency communications manager based in Mexico City. “This quake was shorter than Friday’s (Sept. 7), but it felt much stronger. It felt as if the floor was jumping, like a vertical motion. People were really nervous. Then I drove to my nephew’s school to make sure they were okay and saw large amounts of people exiting buildings to pick up their children that were in school. I saw several cracks in the streets on my way to the school. As I listened to the local news, we were hearing about collapsed buildings, but I don’t have certainty of what kind of buildings.”

This earthquake comes on the heels of another magnitude-8.1 quake Sept. 7 that left more than 90 people dead and was the strongest earthquake to hit Mexico in a century. It struck off the country’s southwest coast, leveling buildings and causing mass evacuations. Residents in Chiapas and Oaxaca states were hit particularly hard. The Mexico earthquake triggered alerts as far away as southeast Asia, reports Reuters.

Two major earthquakes in the same country within two weeks of each other may sound rare, but it’s not a surprise in such a seismically active region.

World Vision staff have deployed where possible to assist with debris removal and coordinate with other response agencies to provide aid to affected children and families, said Silvia Novoa, World Vision’s national director in Mexico.

“We will be working closely with the government to assess the situation not just in Mexico City but in the surrounding rural and urban areas. Our staff are on standby to respond with aid where it will be most needed,” she said.

To help World Vision with relief efforts click here.





International Literacy Day

Literacy in a Digital World

This year, International Literacy Day (September 8th) will be celebrated across the world under the theme of ‘Literacy in a digital world’. On September 8th, 2017 a global event will be organized at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris, with the overall aim to look at what kind of literacy skills people need to navigate increasingly digitally-mediated societies, and to explore effective literacy policies and programs that can leverage the opportunities that the digital world provides.  

The 2017 UNESCO International Literacy Prizes awards ceremony will also take place to recognize and reward excellent literacy practices from around the world in connection with this year’s theme and as a key target in Sustainable Development Goal 4.

At record speed, digital technologies are fundamentally changing the way people live, work, learn and socialize everywhere. They are giving new possibilities to people to improve all areas of their lives including access to information, knowledge management, networking, social services, industrial production, and mode of work. However, those who lack access to digital technologies and the knowledge, skills and competencies required to navigate them, can end up marginalized in increasingly digitally driven societies. Literacy is one such essential skill.

Just as knowledge, skills and competencies evolve in the digital world, so does what it means to be literate. In order to close the literacy skills gap and reduce inequalities, this year’s International Literacy Day will highlight the challenges and opportunities in promoting literacy in the digital world, a world where, despite progress, at least 750 million adults and 264 million out-of-school children still lack basic literacy skills.

International Literacy Day is celebrated annually worldwide and brings together governments, multi- and bilateral organizations, NGOs, private sectors, communities, teachers, learners and experts in the field. It is an occasion to mark achievements and reflect on ways to counter remaining challenges for the promotion of literacy as an integral part of lifelong learning within and beyond the 2030 Education Agenda. 

FabNewport: Celebrating Learning to Use Technology

FabNewport is excited to present our Second Annual Maker Party at Casino Theater at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport, Rhode Island. This is a two part event, including a student showcase from 5-7 pm, and a special speaker and author, Peter Gray, from 7-8 pm. In addition there will be food and fun for the whole family.

Peter passionately and clearly articulates a vision for liberating children from the shackles of traditional learning via his book, Free to Learn, Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant and Better Students for Life. Steve Heath, FabNewport Executive, had the pleasure of spending an afternoon traipsing through the Massachusetts’ woods discussing the history of “learning.” “Whether you agree with his strong perspective or not, Peter has lots of food for thought.”

In Free to Learn developmental psychologist Peter argues that our children, if free to pursue their own interests through play, will not only learn all they need to know, but will do so with energy and passion. Children come into this world burning to learn, equipped with the curiosity, playfulness, and sociability to direct their own education.

At FabNewport we believe students of all ages are capable of learning to use technology and materials to create. We believe in collaboration across sectors, ages, and economic spectrums. The path to a better future requires innovation and equal opportunity. 

Register Here

Sponsor Spotlight: thriveosity

“I created thriveosity to boost an individual’s spirits while providing the necessary tools needed to survive, and thrive, beyond a cancer diagnosis.”  Dr. Ritu Trivedi-Purohit




Start-up thriveosity recently launched its innovative subscription-model box designed as a gift option for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers, to help support them along the path toward becoming thrivers. Thrivers are those who flourish with unbending resilience in the face of adversity. 

“When someone is diagnosed with cancer, the disruption to daily life is clear—both the illness and the treatments can adversely affect the mind and body, which in turn can diminish the spirit,” says thriveosity founder and CEO Dr. Ritu Trivedi-Purohit. “I created thriveosity to boost an individual’s spirits while providing the necessary tools needed to survive, and thrive, beyond a cancer diagnosis.”

thriveosity is a tangible, practical and caring way for loved ones to offer support to a thriver throughout their journey. “After a diagnosis it’s not unusual for a patient’s loved ones to wonder and repeatedly ask how they can help,” says Trivedi-Purohit, whose early work at Loyola University’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center inspired her to create thriveosity. “In addition to providing meals or transportation to treatment, friends and family can also arrange delivery of a monthly thriveosity care package that contains what thrivers need to navigate their way to recovery.  

According to an analysis by the Journal of the American Medical Associations’ JAMA Oncology, lifestyle factors are associated with nearly 40 percent of cancers, underscoring the importance of living a healthy life. “At thriveosity, we want to make living a cleaner, healthier lifestyle easier, so every product that goes into our boxes is free from carcinogens and other negative elements,” adds Trivedi-Purohit.  

Each thriveosity care package is carefully filled with hand-selected products, all of which contribute to healing across the whole person, mind, body and spirit. This mindful curation of each box is what sets thriveosity apart from the competition, whether it be other subscription boxes, get-well gifts or cancer-related products. “Additionally, oncology treatments are still primarily focused on the patient’s medical condition,” notes Trivedi-Purohit. “thriveosity subscription boxes focus on an individual’s spirit and self-care to close that gap and nourish the whole person.” 

Part of thriveosity's mission is to support nonprofit causes that are addressing cancer.  By weaving sponsorship into their business model, thriveosity lives it mission in all aspects of their business.

thriveosity offers three subscription plans—one month, three months, and six months. The longer-term subscriptions are a perfect solution for friends and family who want to collectively show their support. From well-loved essentials to emerging brands, each package contains carefully hand-selected products designed to support the recipient’s journey toward recovery and thrivership. Boxes are available for men, women, caregivers, teens, boys, and girls.

Making Summer A Lot Brighter Raffle

Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley is making the summer a lot brighter for one lucky winner!  By entering the New Wheels Raffle you'll have a chance at driving off in your choice of the 2017 Mazda MX-5 convertible, CX-5 SUV or pocketing the cash equivalent.  Tickets are $50 and only 3,000 will be sold, so don't wait.  Sales end Monday, August 14 at 12PM CST.


All proceeds will support therapy services for infants, children and adults with disabilities in the Chicagoland area.  Each week, more than 1,000 individuals visit Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley for the life-changing services they depend on to achieve their maximum independence and find support for the whole family.


Scottie was born with Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy, but that hasn't stopped him from motoring forward to reach milestones and achieve his goals. There are only two weeks left to enter the New Wheels Raffle for Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley. Don't miss out on your chance to drive off in a brand new car!


Click here to purchase and review complete rules & regulations. On the checkout screen enter Ticket Seller/Code as "Great Hearts Initiative - 0055" and you'll be helping out the Great Hearts Community, too. 


Another way to win!

10 raffle tickets for Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley could mean $5,000 for your organization!

Sign up to help sell tickets.  You'll receive a unique seller code and for every 10 tickets sold with your code, you'll earn an entry in a drawing for a $5,000 cash prize.  Sign up at



This Mandela Day, Afrika Tikkun Celebrates its 'Future Leaders'

This Mandela Day, Afrika Tikkun, the Nelson Mandela-patroned multinational nonprofit organization widely known to be one of the most effective of many devoted to the upliftment of disadvantaged kids in South Africa, invites you to participate in a unique social media campaign on LinkedIn called ‘Future Leaders’. Afrika Tikkun has the honor of being one of the only four organizations for which President Nelson Mandela volunteered to become Patron-in-Chief.

The campaign creatively disrupts the standard LinkedIn profiles where professionals state their present job title. Instead, the ‘Future Leaders’ - 12 kids aged 13 to 19 who have surmounted abject poverty and enormous obstacles - each state their laser focus on taking over a current high-profile CEO/leader’s job in the foreseeable future.

For example, 19-year-old, Gabrielh (LINKEDIN PROFILE) (VIDEO)

who is interested in tourism and hospitality, boldly states that she’s after Richard Branson’s job. 14-year-old Sinesipho (LINKEDIN PROFILE) (VIDEO), says she’s set on Steve Collis’s seat at AmeriSourceBergen, and Surprise (LINKEDIN PROFILE) (VIDEO) at 13 years of age, is giving Charles F. Bolden, former Administrator at NASA, notice that he’s on his way. 

To meet and connect with the rest of our 'Future Leaders', please click HERE.

The Afrika Tikkun learners are inviting professionals and leaders to connect with them on LinkedIn and follow their stories, as they make progress towards achieving their academic and professional goals. The audience is able to read a short bio in their profile which includes information about their family, their lives in South African townships and their hopes for the future. Each profile also has a video where each student shares a bit more about themselves. Finally, there is more information on Afrika Tikkun and how its unique and holistic development model enables thousands of learners to break the cycle of poverty and live their dreams.

In 2002, Nelson Mandela, Afrika Tikkun’s Patron-in-Chief-in-Memorium wrote: “Afrika Tikkun demonstrates in a practical and sustainable manner what can be done with limited resources, great commitment and passion. It is my belief that Afrika Tikkun represents the best of what civil society can offer in partnership with Government’s considerable efforts.”

The campaign is designed to generate both awareness and donations so that Afrika Tikkun can help more disadvantaged youths achieve their potential. The campaign solely uses LinkedIn and its social functionality to amplify itself. Furthermore, Afrika Tikkun’s partners and their leaders will help to promote student stories and raise support for them.

Elizabeth Ngonzi, CEO of Afrika Tikkun USA says: “We are excited to leverage ‘the world’s largest professional network on the Internet, to share the future professional aspirations of our disadvantaged young people in South Africa.  We believe that LinkedIn levels the playing-field for talented, yet marginalized people to access opportunities around the globe.  Our hope is that by connecting LinkedIn members to the stories of 12 of the more than 20,000 young people whose lives we transform every year, will provide them with an understanding of our impact and how they themselves can contribute to the future success of disadvantaged kids.”


About Afrika Tikkun:

Afrika Tikkun was founded in 1994, soon after the emergence of democracy in South Africa. Our visionary founders-- the late Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris and the late philanthropist and businessman, Bertie Lubner-- had the foresight to recognize that South Africa’s future lay in the hands of the millions of children currently living in abject poverty. Recognizing that the new government would not have the skills or resources to address what was required. they started the organization to enable individuals to invest in the children that would make a brighter future. Their early success inspired then President Nelson Mandela to volunteer as Patron-in-Chief-- an honor that he bestowed on just four organizations during his lifetime. 

For the last 23 years, Afrika Tikkun has worked to redress the consequences of institutionalized oppression in South Africa. Our unique Cradle-to-Career Development Model enables our 550+ employees to deliver services addressing holistic educational, medical and economic needs of marginalized youth from early infancy through adulthood, inspiring and enabling them to become productive citizens and leaders. Afrika Tikkun USA, based in New York city is the North American representative (independent 501(c)3) of the organization.  Afrika Tikkun USA's mandate is to build a vibrant community of globally aware supporters who share our passion, relate to our mission of 23 years of impact, and will support the plan we are implementing for a hope-filled future.

Great Governance Is Essential To Great Doing

Sponsor Spotlight:  GovernWell™

Governing boards oversee the operations and finances of nonprofit organizations. The individuals volunteering their time as board members are responsible for not only ensuring that the nonprofit works properly and in accordance with local, state and federal legislation, but for leading the organization to thrive in the fulfillment of its mission and vision. Being a good board member requires being well-informed and knowledgeable of the best practices.

Board service has never been more challenging, the future less certain, and the range of board responsibilities so broad and complex. Good governance of not-for-profit organizations should be better than good – it should be great. Being great means ensuring the board has the education and knowledge necessary to make informed, evidence-based decisions. It means coming to meetings prepared to engage in robust dialogue and discussion, and a willingness to hear outside viewpoints and challenge the norms. 

Great boards evaluate their own performance, and continually look for opportunities to improve. They seek out new board members to fill “governance gaps”, and ensure that new trustees are well-oriented to dive in with meaningful contributions.

Great boards need credible information and readily accessible tools, templates and materials in order to meet the increasing demands of board service and the complexity of the challenges that are confronting boards today. GovernWell™ gives boards the fundamental “quick start” tools and resources need to ensure success.


GovernWell™ has generously offered to help nonprofits beyond the health care sector by sharing their expertise and resources with Great Hearts. By doing so small nonprofits have access to resources that would otherwise be beyond their ability to afford. 

Giving, The Gift that Gives Back!

This Christmas my son and I are invited to help the guests spending the night at our church through DuPagePads. Honestly, my 14 year old son is as excited about doing this as he is about the gifts he will receive the next day. Giving is the gift that gives back. I am not in a position to give money however I can give my time. When I do I find the return on investment to be quick and nurturing to the soul!

Read more…

Carol Simler, Executive Director, DuPagePads spoke at the Elmhurst Presbyterian Church about her vision in our community to end homelessness. My kids and I were inspired! We also learned that a good night’s sleep was not the only help PADS provided. They connect people with agencies for financial and medical assistance and provide family counseling, job training, career counseling and permanent supportive housing. 

My children and I volunteered immediately! Diana Riekse, the organizer for the PADS/EPC told us exactly what to do that night. We helped ready the sleeping rooms and dining area for our guests; my daughter and son placed a pillow and blanket at the foot of each the beds. As I watched my kids serve dinner to the guests and felt the magic happening all around me I knew that Carol’s vision was becoming a reality and we were blessed to be part of it!

Thanks to Great Hearts Community member Lora B. for sharing her story and inspiring us.

With the help of volunteers, DuPagePads has provided over 45,000 nights of shelter in 2016.

Watch the video to see how having someone who believes in you can change everything.