A fundraising wonderland for HJWC

Plummeting down the rabbit hole of fantasy with a tardy white rabbit was a first for many Hinsdale readers when the library acquired a copy of "Alice in Wonderland" around the turn of the century. The best-selling novel was one of the first books to grace the shelves of Hinsdale's then newly minted library.

Roughly 125 years later, the Hinsdale Junior Woman's Club hopes to take guests on a similar Queen of Hearts-inspired adventure. In order to raise money for several deserving organizations throughout the Chicago area, the club will host its annual benefit, "Wonderland," from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at Untitled Supper Club in Chicago.

A few years back, recognizing the need to support more than just one nonprofit, HJWC adopted a revised grant funding model to provide tangible items on highly vetted philanthropies' wish lists. The wishes of nearly 25 nonprofits were granted just last year. Share Our Spare received 60 infant car seat/stroller combinations and extend-to-fit car seats. Harmony, Hope & Healing was gifted percussion instruments and audio recording technology for its music programming. And right here at home, the Hinsdale Hospital NICU was gifted a Giraffe Warmer machine to aid in the care of the hospital's smallest babies.

"Last year was our largest fundraising year yet," said Jaclyn McNamara, 2022-23 club president. "Coming out of COVID, we realized the needs of the community ... and their need for tangible items that can have a lasting impact of 10 years or more."

HJWC's grant funding model allows for the club to see exactly where its fundraising dollars are going, she added, as opposed to a blank monetary donation that could cover administrative costs at a nonprofit, for example.

Over the last five years, the powerhouse club has raised more than $1 million dollars for deserving organizations. Last year almost $365,000 was raised.

The black-tie optional event, which is the primary fundraiser for HJWC, will offer guests gourmet bites, cocktails and entertainment. To purchase tickets, which are $245 per person, please visit https://www.hjwc.us/event-details/wonderland-hjwc-2023-benefit.

Derby Day Party

For nearly 70 years, members and supporters of the Hinsdale Auxiliary of the Children's Home and Aid have donned traditional seersucker and fascinators to help raise money for the nonprofit, which provides welfare services and programming ranging from counseling to early education to more than 30,000 families throughout the state.

"The Kentucky Derby has been a fabulous backdrop for the Hinsdale Auxiliary's annual fundraiser," said Beth Lyons, Derby Party chair and auxiliary member. "For this reason, we've made this our signature annual event and are proud to say this May marks our 68th year. Our guests enjoy dressing in festive derby attire and watching the Kentucky Derby race, while at the same time supporting a wonderful cause."

Previous Derby Day events have raised vital funds for the organization. Lyons added that donations last year helped support the organization's early childhood education centers as well as programming for teens living in the Englewood neighborhood.

More than 200 guests are expected to attend the 68th annual Derby Day party from 4:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday, May 6, at Butterfield Country Club in Oak Brook. Guest will enjoy a cocktail hour while viewing the race, followed by dinner, dancing as well as a live auction emceed by NBC Chicago's Lauren Petty Stoltz.

To purchase tickets, which are $185 per person, please visit http://www.childrenshomeandaid.org/events.

- Alexis Braden of Hinsdale is

the paper's society columnist. Readers can email her at

[email protected].