Annual HJWC benefit to support many in need

More than 50 nonprofits across the greater Chicago area are turning to the Hinsdale Junior Woman's Club this year with the hope of receiving vital grant money from the philanthropic powerhouse that has served the Hinsdale community for more than 70 years.

"We are so grateful to all our members, sponsors and local supporters who helped us raise a near record-setting year (in 2021), all in the middle of a pandemic," said HJWC member Bridget Nagle, who is chairing the club's annual benefit along with Stephanie Tuthill and Alicia O'Brien. "HJWC and the benefit committee are working tirelessly to help raise as much money as we can to support these worthy causes. This year we have had over 50 nonprofits request over $1.2 million dollars, and our aim is to fulfill as many as we can."

Last year, during the pandemic, HJWC raised a staggering $300,000, which was allocated amongst 27 nonprofits. One local organization, Simply From The Heart, received almost $40,000. This enabled the charity, which provides free in-hospital personal care services (hair styling, make up applications, manicures, facials and massages) to those living with a terminal or life-threatening illness, to launch the Mobile Glam Van Restoration Project. The Glam Van is a touring 1958 pink Ford that visits local hospitals to offer pampering services.

"Spot this vintage pink-mobile outside hospitals to see the glamorous before and after patient reveals," said Hinsdalean Jackelyn Kastanis, who founded Simply From The Heart when her childhood friend, Brooke Bolley, passed away at 27 due to complications from esophageal cancer. "Wigs to try on, enough pink heels to fill Carrie Bradshaw's closet and the cutest 'hospital' robe will surely distract (patients) from their illness, at least even for a moment," she said. "Providing makeovers, self-care treatments and a glam box filled with over 30 beauty products will help showcase their personality, but the human connection is what will boost and ignite their innermost confidence."

Each year the HJWC philanthropic committee works to identify and introduce new nonprofits to the club, Tuthill said. Organizations have the opportunity to apply for grants of up to $50,000, and must provide three bids and participate in a site check and a grant presentation meeting with HJWC's membership. This stringent vetting process helps club members better understand the needs of each organization.

And in terms of raising vital funds for the numerous nonprofits in need, every dollar raised at the upcoming HJWC annual benefit will go toward grant fulfillment. This year's benefit theme is GIVEchella. Inspired by the annual art and music festival Coachella, the event will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Theater on the Lake in Chicago.

"We were looking to create an event that is accessible and fun for everyone," O'Brien said. "GIVEchella allows attendees to play with fresh color schemes, exciting music and different experiences for guests that we have not done in the past. Unlike a traditional black-tie gala, the GIVEchella theme lends itself to allowing guests to have more flexibility on their outfits. We really want our guests to have fun and be creative with the upscale festival theme."

To purchase tickets, which are $225 per person, please visit

Light up the night

The Clarendon Hills Chapter of the Infant Welfare Society will host its annual benefit, Light Up the Night, at 6 p.m. Friday, April 22, at Butterfield Country Club in Oak Brook.

This year's theme - garden party - is a nod to spring and warmer weather. Guests are encouraged to don their best pastel or floral attire to enjoy dinner, dancing and live/silent auctions.

Since 1948, the Clarendon Hills chapter has supported the society's mission to fundraise for the Angel Harvey Family Health Center of the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago. The long-standing nonprofit offers health care services and education to medically underserved and vulnerable families throughout the Chicago area.

To purchase tickets, which are $175 per person, please visit

- Alexis Braden of Hinsdale is the paper's society columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].