Downers Grove Junior Woman's Club Awards $10,000 Grant to Sharing Connections


DOWNERS GROVE, Illinois - The Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club (DGJWC) is pleased to announce the recipient of the $10,000 grant is Sharing Connections.

“As we celebrate our club’s 60th year, we are very excited to be awarding this $10,000 Grant to Sharing Connections” said Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club President, Erin Kolschowsky. “This grant will support the purchase of new cribs to help meet the goal of providing a safe, comfortable space for a parent to safely lay their baby each night.  We are grateful for Sharing Connections’ contribution to our community and proud to be a part of their success”.

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.

“We are so grateful to be the recipients of this year’s grant which will allow us to provide beds to children right here in DuPage county who in many cases have never had one before,” said CEO, Deborah Rickert.  “The hard work and dedication of members of the DGJWC is a gift to our community and in a very real and tangible way, makes Downers Grove a better place to live and work.”

The Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club announced their $10,000 grant program to the public and was pleased to accept 28 applicants from a variety of organizations from within the community.  It is the mission of the DGJWC to service women, children and/or individuals within the surrounding communities.  Applicants were narrowed to three outstanding finalists and presentations were made at the DGJWC general meeting on in October.  Final voting by club members occurred immediately following the presentations.


About Sharing Connections

Leeanne McGrath, the founder of Sharing Connections, used to become disheartened by the daily news and the staggering amount of poverty alongside such prosperity in her community. She realized, however, that even if she could not brighten the news or make everyone’s life better, she could at least do something to help someone. Thus, in 1986, Leeanne began using her Lisle garage to collect baby cribs and baby accessories from people who no longer needed them. She then found grateful families who eagerly gave these items a new home.

Leeanne’s grassroots organization soon gained a loyal crew of volunteers, attention from community agencies, and a surge of public awareness. Leeanne received numerous awards recognizing her philanthropic achievements including the President’s Volunteer Action Award in 1991 and the National Caring Award, presented in Washington, D.C. in 1996.

Eventually, the McGrath’s overflowing garage necessitated a larger home for Sharing Connections. In 2001, Sharing Connections moved to its current location, a 4,700 square foot warehouse in Downers Grove - and as of March 2009, has expanded to include an additional 5,000 square feet of warehouse and office space to meet the demands. Today, we work collaboratively with more than 160 hospitals, municipalities, and other social service agencies to redistribute cribs, beds, tables, chairs, dressers, and more to disadvantaged families in the Chicago Metropolitan area.

This one-woman operation has grown to include several staff members, a full Board of Trustees, and a small army of volunteers. Although we have grown, Sharing Connections still acts in accordance with the same values in which we began, as reflected in our Vision and Mission statement.

About Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club:  The Downers Grove Junior Woman's Club is a non-partisan, non-denominational, volunteer women's organization.  Its members are dedicated to supporting and raising the awareness of charitable organizations, individuals in need, and the community. If you are interested in joining, or would like to learn more about DGJWC, visit:  Women interested in joining should are welcome to attend our New Member Social on Tuesday, January 22 at 7:00 p.m. at Emmett’s Restaurant in Downers Grove.

Samantha Figueroa