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22nd Top Hat Ball Slated for Feb 3 at new Chicago Hotel

TOPHAT logo webAhoy, mateys! Ready yer sea legs and leave the landlubbers behind Saturday, Feb 3, 2018, when Marklund's 22nd annual Top Hat event, “Escape to Treasure Island,” sets sail at the brand new Marriott Marquis at McCormick Square hotel in Chicago. As one of the area’s premier black tie fundraiser dinner auctions, it supports the care of children and adults with profound developmental disabilities served by Marklund at its Bloomingdale, Elgin and Geneva locations.

Having the “Treasure Island” theme, this popular event will give guests the chance to seek Captain Jack Sparrow and experience the days of swashbuckling pirates, hearty buccaneers, captivating lasses, roaring seas, priceless treasures and new adventures.

Individual tickets to the Top Hat Ball are $450 per person, with various sponsorship and group packages are available. As Marklund's major fundraiser of the year, proceeds will help Marklund bridge the large funding gap created by the state of Illinois, of $17,000 per year for each of Marklund’s 174 residential clients.

To register, visit or contact Jeannine Zupo, director of signature events at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 630-593-5445.

Marklund is a nonprofit organization founded in 1954 that serves children and adults with severe and profound developmental disabilities. With locations in Geneva, Elgin and Bloomingdale, Marklund has 174 full-time clients, in addition to the students who attend the Marklund Day School in Bloomingdale and Elgin.
Contact: Dawn Lassiter-Brueske, Director of Marketing and Communications
630.593.5467-d, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 630.429.8461-c

Winery owner helps raise thousands for Marklund

Nov. 6, 2017 -- When Marklund’s event-planning team reached out to Bob Evanosky to take part in an auction item for a fundraising event, he did not merely say yes. Evanosky, owner of Aspen Lane Wine Company in Aurora, decided he wanted to do as much as he could to help Marklund raise as much as possible in one night.

The event was Marklund’s Angel Songs Soiree, held last month in Barrington Hills.
More than 200 guests attended, enjoying a strolling dinner, and participating in both silent and live auctions. Marklund is a suburban nonprofit organization that cares for children and adults with profound developmental disabilities.

Evanosky, an accomplished home winemaker, combined his love of making wine with creating a business that would provide a sustainable source of income to a select group of nonprofit organizations, much in the same way as the Newman’s Own company founded by actor Paul Newman. Evanosky selected Marklund as one of his nonprofit partners since helping individuals with serious disabilities is a cause near to his heart. All three of his children were born with rare degenerative condition. Yet through this tragic circumstance, Evanosky and his wife, Sonya, have maintained a positive spirit and are both very passionate about helping others through their winery.

For the Angel Songs Soiree, Bob not only offered his wine as part of one auction package, but three different packages. He also attended the event in order to serve samplings of his product to guests prior to dinner, and, during the auction, he and Sonya spoke to the audience about their story and their mission.

“There is a purpose to telling our story that evening,” Bob said. “We hoped to engage and energize people to support Marklund by purchasing our wines.”

The auction packages were a success.
First, he will bring his winery trailer to dispense his Aspen Lane Sangria at a private party/corporate event for 100 guests. Second, he will offer his varietals as part of a “Wine, Dine & Chocolate VIP Experience” for 20 guests, pairing his wines with Guittard Chocolates.

The third auction package was the big one…”The Wine Lover’s Perfect Gift.” Guests bid $1,000 each on 26 cases of custom-labeled wine from Aspen Lane.

Bottom line, Aspen Lane’s participation helped in netting around $38,000 for Marklund.

It was a great night,” he said. “All of these people will get a case of wine with their own custom label on it and, hopefully, serve it to friends and family, which will start an important discussion. By personalizing this offering, the wines will help spread awareness of Marklund.”

“We are happy to partner with Bob and the Aspen Lane Wine Co. as they exist to give back to organizations serving children and adults with developmental disabilities,” said Heather Graves, Chief Development Officer at Marklund. “Because Marklund is a choice benefactor of every bottle sold through their wine club, and every bottle served at our special events - it truly is a win-win!”

Learn more about the Aspen Lane partnership with Marklund and other ways to support Marklund by visiting the Marklund website at

With locations in Bloomingdale, Geneva and Elgin, Marklund is a nonprofit organization that provides residential, therapeutic, vocational, and educational services to children and adults with severe and profound developmental disabilities. Its mission is to make everyday life possible for individuals with profound disabilities.


Marklund Day School ready for another 'successful school year'

After organizing their classrooms, reviewing curriculum, and finalizing lesson plans, Marklund Day School teachers and staff welcomed 55 students to its Bloomingdale campus for the first day of school, on Aug. 23.

"We've all been hard at work getting ready," said Paula Bodzioch, director of education. "We look forward to another successful school year."

Marklund Day School has a Life Skills program, which serves students with autism and other disabilities, including those with behavioral and medical needs. The school also offers a Multi-Needs program for students with multiple disabilities and complex medical needs.

The Day School has changes in store for the 2017-18 school year, including offering a new Multi-Needs program at the Wasmond Center in Elgin.

"We are thrilled to be able to expand our services to Elgin," Bodzioch said. "We are looking forward to working with new students, their families and districts."

Other changes include additions to the staff: a board-certified behavioral analyst and an assistant principal; as well as an increase in enrollment. This year, Marklund Day School will serve 22 new students, and will service 28 school districts.

Marklund Day School is a non-public ISBE - Illinois State Board of Education - approved program that provides high-quality individualized educational and vocational programming for students, ages 3-21, with mild to complex disabilities, including autism. Learn more:

This item was posted by a community contributor. To read more about community contributors, click here.
Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune

Marklund Employee is Part of the Family

Jan. 19, 2018 -- The highlight of each weekday for Annette Parmantie takes place at 5 a.m. That's when she arrives at the Marklund Wasmond Center, in Elgin, to help some of the residents start their day.

As a part-time employee, the 53-year-old Elgin resident assists staff with feeding breakfast to those who will be heading off to school. She gets their school bags and lunches ready, and entertains them while they wait for their school buses.

"While we wait in the lobby, I keep them engaged by singing and talking with them about what they'll be doing that day," Annette said.

The first school bus arrives at 6:30 a.m. Annette accompanies the resident to the bus, tells them to have a good day at school, and waves to the student as the bus drives off.

"The clients are like my family," Annette said. "I love them like they were my own kids. The highlight of working here is seeing their bright little faces each day."

Annette has worked for the Marklund Wasmond Center, formerly known as Little Angels, since 1982, when she was 18-years-old. Throughout her entire tenure, she served in a direct-care role, assisting clients with grooming, feeding, taking medication and other activities of daily living.

Ten years ago, Annette transitioned from working full-time to part-time, due to her worsening symptoms of cerebral palsy. Today, she has difficulty walking, and uses a cane or a wheelchair to navigate the hallways of the Wasmond Center.

"It was important for us to maintain our relationship with Annette," explained Shelley Lewis, administrator of the Wasmond Center. "Annette has a passion for what we do here. She has such compassion and a huge heart."

Despite her own physical limitations and health challenges, Annette maintains a cheerful attitude and works hard to make sure residents feel special, by remembering their birthdays, singing to them, and making them laugh.

"The relationships she has with residents is priceless," Lewis said. "Everyone loves Annette. She is part of the family. We love having her here."

See original article here.

Marklund is the Best of the Best

Gil Gunjan Best of the BestMarklund recently received the 2017 Best of Bloomingdale Overall Award from the Bloomingdale Chamber of Commerce.

Gunjan Patel, Administrator of the Marklund Philip Center in Bloomingdale, accepted the award along with Gil Fonger, President and CEO.

“We are so proud!” said Patel. “Marklund's history in Bloomingdale reaches back to 1958 so this area holds an important place in our hearts.”

“As the Chamber, we are thrilled that Marklund was selected as the inaugural recipient of this award,” stated Deb Evans, President and CEO of the Chamber. “With its strong mission, dedication to its clients, and partnerships throughout the community, Marklund truly represents the best of our community.”

According to Evans, there were over 200 submissions for nominees and nearly 5,000 voting entries. Judges reviewed all information and combined those results with the voting tallies.

Before selecting recipients within each of the categories, the Chamber identified two awards that stood out from the rest: the Rising Star (for a newer business) and the Overall Best of Bloomingdale given to the one nominee that stood out above the rest in both voting results and the judges’ evaluation.


Marklund Employee Wins Scheduler of the Year Award

(April 7, 2017)  Marklund Scheduler Jennifer Thompson and six other schedulers recently received the 2017 OnShift Scheduler of the Year Awards. The annual award program honors the achievements of staff schedulers who work in healthcare organizations nationwide.

As Marklund's scheduler, Thompson, of Oswego, is responsible for making sure all shifts are covered by direct care staff, and to ensure Marklund clients receive the care and support they need.

Jim Rubadue, chief customer officer for OnShift, came to Marklund's Geneva campus from company headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, to present Thompson with the award. It was kept as a surprise, and included administrators, many employees and Marklund clients who were on hand to share in the excitement.

"Her team members raved about Jennifer and how she's a tremendous asset to the community," Rubadue wrote in a blog. "The outpouring of love and support she received during the celebration was unbelievable. Many of the staff members and residents shared with me the wonderful things Jen does for their community and how dedicated she is to its success."

"I am so incredibly proud of Jen for this well-deserved award," said Rachelle Jewison, administrator, Marklund Hyde Center. "Jen's devotion to 'making everyday life possible' for those we serve at Marklund is truly inspiring."

"Jen's commitment to our clients, staff and to the Marklund community is extraordinary," said Gil Fonger, CEO and executive director of Marklund. "Her efforts in staffing and scheduling have played a big role in our ability to provide high-quality care for our clients."

OnShift clients submitted hundreds of nominations to recognize members of their teams who demonstrate scheduling excellence to improve operational, clinical and financial outcomes of their organizations.

Marklund is a nonprofit organization that serves infants, children, teens and adults with serious and profound developmental disabilities and special healthcare needs. With three residential locations--Marklund at Mill Creek in Geneva, the Marklund Philip Center in Bloomingdale, and the Marklund Wasmond Center in Elgin--it is currently home to nearly 174 clients

For more information, visit, or call 630-593-5500.

This item was posted by a community contributor. To read more about community contributors, click here.
Copyright © 2017, Aurora Beacon-News

Agencies Helping Developmentally Disabled Hurt by State Budget Impasse

June 30, 2017   By Gloria Casas, Elgin Courier News

Gil Fonger is affected by the state of Illinois' budget crisis both personally and professionally.

He is dad to a 30-year-old daughter with developmental disabilities. He worries the services she receives may be affected by the ongoing budget impasse and what the future holds for his daughter and other families.

"I live everyday with the issue," Fonger said. What happens if the state doesn't provide the services his daughter currently has, he said. "I live with the fear every parent with a developmentally disabled child has. What happens to my child when I am gone?"

Fonger's concerns are compounded by his professional role as president of Marklund.

The nonprofit's three centers — Hyde Center in Geneva, Marklund Philip Center in Bloomingdale and Marklund Wasmond Center at Little Angels in Elgin — serve infants, children, teens and adults with profound development disabilities and special health care needs.

"Our mission is to make every day possible for individuals with profound disabilities," Fonger said. "Our vision is a happy, safe, purposeful life for every individual at our facilities."

"It is a struggle every day to bring our services," he said.

Illinois could enter a third fiscal year without passing a budget. Social Service agencies, school districts and universities that depend on state funding have campaigned to get lawmakers to pass a budget before Friday's deadline.

The state owes Marklund $4 million in reimbursements, Fonger said.

It operates on a less than two percent cash margin within a $28 million budget, he said. While the state's reimbursement rate has not changed since 1996, Marklund is having to fund more of the gap, he said. Marklund has had to operate with a $17,000 gap per client per year, Fonger said. The nonprofit must fundraise more than $3 million per year, he said.

"We operate on such a level that we can't operate with a cut," he said.

"Somehow the state needs to come around," Fonger said. Nonprofits "are funding the $15 billion backlog the state has in bills on the backs of the very people we are trying to serve," Fonger said.

Parents have a child and the child grows up and moves on, Fonger said. "There is no moving on when you have a child with developmental disabilities."

"Every day, parents wonder what would happen if Marklund would close?" he said.

Marklund took in a man named Mike about a week ago. His sole caregiver was his 90-year-old father, Fonger said. The agency has a 15 year waiting list, he said. But "Mike's situation was so dire, he would have gone into a geriatric nursing home. What would happen to Mike if we didn't have an opening?" he said.

"There are many people living at home right now in Illinois where the parent is 60 years old," Fonger said, adding there are more developmentally disabled people living at home than are being served in all of the state's facilities. "There's a tidal wave of Mikes that will come and there's no place for them."

"We are the state's safety net," he said.

The budget impasse is hitting the most vulnerable, senior citizens, domestic violence victims, the homeless and children, leaders of social agencies said this week. Women, children, the mentally ill, the homeless and the sick are all affected, Fonger said. "Illinois is the fifth wealthiest state in the country, this should not happen here," he said.

Senior Services Associates, which has facilities in Elgin, Aurora, McHenry, Yorkville and Crystal Lake, serves a population that is grows every day, Assistant Executive Director Micki Miller said.

Illinois budget crisis "comes at an especially bad time for us," Miller said. "We have more seniors than ever before with 10,000 (people) a day turning 65."

Senior Services Associates has not filed numerous positions including abuse investigators, three card coordinators and senior companion staff, Miller said. Some clients have been waiting up for two months to get help in applying for benefits and its senior companion programs was eliminated in the Elgin area, she said.

"If legislators had to squeeze blood out of a turnip like we do, they would learn a lot," Miller said.

"Our seniors are very important to us. These are vulnerable people. These are people with pride. These are the people who created our community. These are the people who built the roads and who paid taxes. We have to take care of our seniors," Miller said.

Nonprofit social service agencies are getting to a tipping point, Fonger said. Marklund is managing but, others won't be able to continue, he said. "It won't be a slow failure, they will just shut down," he said.

"The funding levels have been in a steady decline since 1996," Fonger said. "How do you continue to do business? You have to keep raising more money to find ways to diversify the revenue stream. It has been like boiling a frog. After a while, it gets cooked. Certain places will just be done."

Gloria Casas is a freelance reporter for The Courier-News.
Copyright © 2017, Elgin Courier-News

 Find article on Chicago Tribune-Elgin Courier website here.

Golf Outing Enjoys New Record

The 35th Annual Marklund Golf Classic came and went with a day full of newness:

--a new location: Cog Hill Country Club

--new timeline & format: a delicious brunch

--new challenges: Dubsdread championship course

--new surprises: a helicopter dropping golf balls

While the 253 participants happily accepted the changes, the most exciting new item did not have to do with location, food or golfing. No, the biggest news at this year’s event is reaching a new Golf Classic fundraising record--$202,000!

“Marklund was blessed by a perfect weather day, the beauty of Cog Hill and the generosity of our amazing donors,” said Jeannine Zupo, Marklund’s Director of Signature Events. “We remain so grateful for the Porter Pipe family and all they do to make this event a huge success for Marklund.”

Twenty celebrities, most of whom are former sports professionals, joined in the day, meeting with Marklund clients prior to heading out on the links with the other participants. “It’s always great to see the kids,” said Buzz Capra, former pitcher for the NY Mets and Atlanta Braves.

Live and silent auctions accompanied the dinner and included the exciting new “Golf Ball Drop.” Sponsored by Lake Brothers Beer Co., the contest featured a helicopter flying close to the event tent and its passengers tossing balls onto the nearby green. The owner of the ball closest to the hole, George Webster, won two airline tickets to anywhere in the country courtesy of United Airlines. Dinner guests watched this unique activity with great interest, many having cellphones out recording the action. “That was very cool. You don’t see that every day,” commented George Demarakis of ARCON.

Culminating the event was the presentation of the first annual Porter Cup Championship Cup to the Stumm Insurance foursome.

Special thanks goes out to all event sponsors including:

Althoff Industries, AMS Mechanical Systems, Aspen Lane Wine Company, Architectural Resources and Technologies, AT Mechanical, FCL Builders, Inc., Fox River Distilling Company, Gatorade, G&O Thermal Supply Company, John Hancock Retirement Plan Services, Lake Brothers Beer Co., Lochinvar, Merco Mechanical, Next Generation Logistics, Inc. Plante Moran, The PrivateBank, Porter Pipe, RAM Mechanical, Stockham, TC Wealth Partners/Trust Company, Thermo Systems, United Airlines, West Suburban Bank, Wheatland Tube, Zimmerman Ford.


Wheaton Lions Club Supports Marklund

July, 26, 2017 - Thanks to a recent $1,500 donation from the Wheaton Lions Club, residents of the Marklund Philip Center, in Bloomingdale, have a new portable sensory wall -- an engaging device that stimulates residents' sense of sight and touch.

The sensory wall features a brilliant fiber-optic display, with a mirrored backing that magnifies the effect. In addition to being visually stimulating, the sensory wall provides therapeutic benefits, as well, allowing residents to work on active movement by reaching for the fiber optics on the panel.

"Residents of the Philip Center have medical complexities that can sometimes prohibit them from moving around to other areas of the Center," said Vicki Krystof, director of corporate and foundation relations for Marklund. "With this panel, they can enjoy sensory input in their bedroom, on the nursing pod, or in the multi-purpose room."

"We have wanted the sensory wall for some time, so getting this donation has made our wish come true," said Natalie Rubino, qualified intellectual disabilities professional and social service designee for the Marklund Philip Center. "The sensory wall allows residents to do sensory exploration outside of our traditional sensory room, and adds another layer of stimulation and exploration to our sensory time in group activities."

Members of the benevolence committee of the Wheaton Lions Club chose to support Marklund and a variety of other organizations that help fulfill the Lions Club's vision: "To be the global leader in community and humanitarian service."

"Working to aid individuals who have vision or hearing impairments is the primary purpose for which we are organized," said Jim Huck, president of the Wheaton Lions Club, and a former board member of Marklund. "We identified 15-20 organizations in the community that serve individuals with vision and hearing impairments. When Marklund was mentioned, we all agreed it was an organization we wanted to support."

"It has been gratifying for our members to raise the funds -- we were happy to do it," Huck added.

"The Lions Club has demonstrated a commitment to the lives of the most fragile children and adults in the community, as well as a dedication to ensuring they lead dignified lives, filled with hope and opportunity," Krystof said.

For information on making a donation to Marklund, contact Krystof at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 630-593-5482.


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