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Featured Philanthropy: WGIRLS Chicago

With their can-do attitudes and cheerful smiles, and through their volunteer work and donated funds, the WGIRLS have been helping ChicagoCAC provide our children and families with school supplies, toys, and items to meet their basic needs. Most recently, they volunteered at our Luminary Award Dinner as auction spotters and check-in staff. We talked with WGIRLS Chicago President Elle Light about why ChicagoCAC is a cause her group continues to support!

How did you first get involved with ChicagoCAC? 

WGIRLS Chicago first became involved with ChicagoCAC in 2018. Part of our mission is to help agencies who support women and children in Chicago communities. ChicagoCAC was a perfect fit to become a partner in making a positive impact.  The women of WGIRLS Chicago were looking for ways to help students get ready for the upcoming school year. ChicagoCAC’s backpack drive was brought to our attention, and this was our introduction to the organization.

When we became involved, it was very clear to all of us how special they are.  We absolutely loved filling up hundreds of backpacks, knowing that the children ChicagoCAC advocates for and supports will be ready to learn in the fall.  WGIRLS Chicago could not wait to continue our partnership with the ChicagoCAC, and over the past 4 years we have had the pleasure of helping out with numerous other activities at ChicagoCAC.  

Tell us about the history of WGIRLS. How can people join?

Founded in 2007 by a group of young professional women in New York City,  WGIRLS Inc. was created to meet the needs of underserved women and children in the local community.  Today through volunteerism and fundraising initiatives, WGIRLS Inc. creates reverberating change in thousands of lives through its continued commitment to meet the needs of women and children in local communities throughout the country.  Currently, there are six different chapters of WGIRLS groups across the country. 

The Chicago chapter has been established since 2017 and has over 75 active women.  If you would like to be a part of WGIRLS Chicago, you need to identify as a woman and be open to meeting like-minded people who want to give back to your community.  For more information, please visit https://wgirls.org/chicago or email elle.light@wgirls.org      

What aspect of ChicagoCAC’s work or mission appeals to the group?

ChicagoCAC’s mission embodies everything that the WGIRLS organizations support.  We work with over 30 different organizations across the Chicagoland area, but always come back to supporting ChicagoCAC.  They are true heroes in our community and make an impact on both a child’s and family’s life forever.  Their holistic approach to care and supportive programming is inspirational.  We are very proud to be a partner of ChicagoCAC and hope to help continue their mission of eliminating child abuse.

What’s been the most inspiring outcome or project that your connection with ChicagoCAC has created?

While we have been involved with many different ChicagoCAC projects from toy drives to gardening, our most inspirational project was last September, when WGIRLS Chicago had the opportunity to host a Stock the Closet fundraiser for ChicagoCAC.  We learned that the Kids’ Resource Closet stores comfort bags for families that contain a blanket, stuffed animal, toiletries, an outfit, and age-appropriate activities for children who may need to find a foster placement, whose family is experiencing homelessness, or lack consistent access to basic needs. After learning more about the amazing services provided to these children through their Child Life program, we knew we had to get involved. 

The WGIRLS mission is not just to give back, but to also help spread awareness of different programs within the community. We were able to provide funding to the Kids’ Resource Closet, and additionally showcase how ChicagoCAC’s efforts are helping to start the healing process for so many children. So many children are affected by different situations at home and in their lives, and knowing that WGIRLS can be a part of helping improve their lives makes us aspire to keep helping for many years to come.   

What would you say to someone who’s considering ChicagoCAC as a cause to support?

ChicagoCAC is free of charge for children and families in need of support after experiencing abuse.  Their services start the healing process and provide a safe haven for those in need.  Knowing that the pandemic has disrupted all of our lives, it is our job as a community to help those agencies like ChicagoCAC, who provide aid to those who cannot advocate for themselves. Through donations and spreading awareness about the services ChicagoCAC provides, we as a community can help ChicagoCAC eliminate child abuse.  Every child counts!  

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