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DuPage Foundation Donors Mobilize to Support Residents Affected by November 30 West Chicago Apartment Fire

DuPage Foundation donors mobilized to support residents affected by the recent November 30 Main Park Apartments complex fire in West Chicago. The fire displaced an estimated 100 people and left 20 units uninhabitable. Many residents were left with no clothing or belongings at the start of the holiday season. Requests for funding were submitted to DuPage Foundation by three not-for-profit organizations, totaling $32,600 to help support the victims of the fire.

In December 2022, DuPage Foundation donors recommended grants from donor-advised funds to support victims of a fire in the same complex that displaced 96 low-income residents. “In a few short days, our donors collectively contributed a significant amount to a DuPage Foundation Emergency Fund supporting families affected by the 2022 fire,” said Barb Szczepaniak, DuPage Foundation vice president for programs. “Since not all of the funds were used in the 2022 crisis, and disaster struck again, we asked if donors would be willing to recommend unspent funds to this new crisis, and once again they rallied their support.”

The three not-for-profits that requested help included:

  • WeGoTogether for Kids (WeGo) requested $20,000 to help with overall relief efforts, and to provide emergency shelter for residents who have not found permanent or temporary housing.  
  • Outreach requested $10,000 to help with resettling families into new housing, and to support needs such as first month’s rent, security deposits, and furnishings.
  • DuPage Federation requested $2,600 to cover the cost of providing five Spanish-speaking interpreters for eight hours each to facilitate communication at the December 6 Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) where affected residents accessed assistance.

DuPage Foundation’s Grant Committee approved the full amount of each funding request, which together total $32,600. Grants are being distributed to the not-for-profits the week of December 18. “When we learn about these emergencies, we do everything we can to make connections and bring people together who have the interest and means to provide quick and immediate support,” said Szczepaniak.

Representatives of the three not-for-profits shared the following feedback in response to the support their organizations received:

“This is amazing and very timely as the Red Cross shelter is closing today and we are moving 31 people to hotels,” said Molly Beck Dean, executive director for WeGo Together for Kids. “Please pass along our thanks to the donors. I just want to be sure they know how much their gifts matter and help. The stories I've heard over the last 10 days are heartbreaking and gifts like this give the families security and hope.”

“We are grateful to all of DuPage Foundation's donor-advisors who responded to the needs arising from the Main Park Apartment fire,” said Mary J. Miller, foundations manager, Outreach.  “Thanks to Barb and the rest of the DuPage Foundation staff for coordinating this emergency response at this 'all hands on deck' moment. What a testament to the power of community!”

“Barb, thank you to DuPage Foundation and your donor-advisors for making this possible,” said Dave Roth, executive director, DuPage Federation. “Your process made it very simple for us to reach out and get feedback. And we are thrilled that all fire survivors, with no one disadvantaged by language, had access to all the wonderful resources that came together, with the communication bridge of interpreters.”

Grants to the three not-for-profits were made possible by grant recommendations from the following DuPage Foundation donor-advised funds:

  • Amethyst Fund
  • Daley Family Fund
  • Dare Family Fund
  • DuPage Assistance Fund
  • Edward & Minnie Ceragioli Fund
  • Effort Counts Twice Fund
  • Gene Ball Eyles Fund
  • Gustafson Family Foundation Fund
  • Hillcrest Fund
  • Kaiser Family Fund
  • Louis Ingalls MacArthur Fund
  • Beth and Daniel Maguire Family Fund
  • Robert and Laurie McMahon Family Fund
  • Morrissey Family Fund
  • Mrozek Family Fund
  • Mulholland Family Fund
  • Perma-Seal Fund
  • Webb-Hutter Family Fund

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