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Chapter Idea Fair

Caring Initiatives

Greater Chicago Chapter

Entry Details

Many of the Greater Chicago Chapter clubs created individual initiatives to help their staff and local community. Clubs created employee relief funds, fed first responders, held food drives and worked with local charities.


Valley Lo Club
Valley Lo Cares
On March 16, the State of Illinois’ Executive Order forced all restaurants, bars, grocery stores and food halls to suspend on premise consumption. Due to the unexpected closure, Valley Lo Club decided to donate their perishable food. The staff loaded and delivered two SUVs full of fresh produce, bakery, and dairy items to their local food pantry: Northfield Township Food Pantry (NTFP). A couple of days later, GM, Judy Higgins were given a tour of the facility to see the Club’s food ready for families in need. It was an emotional moment for her; and the need was still great. That was the day they launched "Valley Lo Club Cares," a program to help their community through NTFP. Higgins contacted the club’s members for support. She asked them to either purchase items and deliver to the pantry or to donate money to the Club. Each $40, charged to their member account, paid for a case of product that the club purchased through its vendors: paper towels, toilet paper, feminine products, toothpaste, shampoo, bath gel, razor kits and mouthwash. Valley Lo Cares raised $4,650 for the pantry!

Senior Outreach
Each of Valley Lo Club managers “adopted” six to ten senior or house-bound members not wishing to leave home. They made weekly phone calls and provided grocery shopping, prescription pick-up and hot meal delivery service. In addition to Valley Lo’s senior members, General Manager, Judy Higgins contacted the club’s immediate neighborhoods: Valley Lo North, Valley Lo South, and the Lake Homeowners Associations offering assistance.

Employee Assistance Program
Members were concerned for their Valley Lo Club staff, as many were furloughed due to limited operations. While this decision was difficult, it also provided these employees access to unemployment benefits. In addition to the unemployment allowances, the Directors established a fund for the benefit of these displaced employees to help them meet other financial obligations. The members donated $20,417, and have been helping employees with rent, medical bills, and repairs.

Valley Lo Club courageously banded together to help their employees, community, and members.

Woman’s Athletic Club

The WAC created meals for first responders. 400 meals were purchased by members for donation at $25 per meal. The meals were then delivered over two months to Chicago fire houses, police departments and hospitals.

Skokie Country Club

Skokie created a ‘COVID-19 Employee Relief Fund’ that was funded by voluntary Member donations totaling just under $130,000. Any employee and/or spouse of employee that had their income impacted due to COVID-19 could apply for a tax free grant from the Fund. The club was able to make all of the employees whole in their income and have a balance remaining that can be used for any future uptick in the virus that may cause a club shutdown. Something similar was done for caddies through a separate fund.

Midlothian Country Club
Midlothian helped their local Fire and Police Departments enjoy Mother’s Day by sending them dinner.

The Birchwood Club

The Birchwood Club created the Give Back with Backpacks program. 140 students in need received backpacks full of necessary school supplies and teachers received gift cards to purchase classroom essentials

Northmoor Country Club
Northmoor Country Club ran a food drive and created a drive-up food bank for its caddies during the states shelter in place order. The caddies and their families received much needed food and supplies when they were unable to work.

Exmoor Country Club

The Exmoor Foundation continued to serve its mission by creating an Employee Assistance Fund in addition to the scholarship program. That was launched in early April of this year. The Club raised nearly $100,000 to help staff families adversely affected by the pandemic. Grants were issued quickly and to date over 60 employee families have benefitted.

In addition, the club provided meal/grocery kits for staff that were furloughed and continue to do that for 3 employees that remain in that status.

River Forest Country Club
River Forest created an employee relief fund which raised over $70,000. 40 staff members benefited from the program.

About the author

Diana Sbarbaro

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