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Two Marklund brothers get special invite to Blackhawks game

(Oct. 7, 2016) Brothers Brad and Phil, two clients at Marklund in Geneva, had the time of their lives at the Oct. 4 Chicago Blackhawks game. They are serious Blackhawks fans, watching every game on TV and keeping up with the sports news in the media.

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Marklund and Little Angels Finalize Merger

(Oct 28, 2016) Geneva, IL – After eight months of preparation, Marklund and The Little Angels Center for Exceptional Care announced that they have approved the merging of both not-for-profit organizations.  Serving children and adults with profound developmental disabilities, Marklund is based in Geneva and Bloomingdale, and Little Angels in Elgin.

“After working toward this goal since February, I am very excited that our merger will finally become a reality,” said Gil Fonger, Marklund President and CEO. “I am confident that the joining of these two solid organizations is going to be very positive and make us stronger together than we could be apart. I am grateful for the positive board leadership in both organizations and for the enthusiastic support of the staff that made this day possible.”

The merger will become effective as of Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The Marklund Board of Directors approved the merger at a board meeting Thursday night, Oct. 27. Little Angels’ board made its approval Sept. 24. Two board members and a parent from Little Angels will be joining the Marklund Board of Directors.

“The Board has great respect for the long-term commitment and accomplishments of the Little Angels organization and we are excited to join forces with them in our collective mission to care for individuals with profound developmental disabilities,” said Duane J. Fitch, Board Chair for Marklund. “We are so pleased that this day has come and we look forward to continuing this important journey.”

Upon the official sealing of the deal and signing of all legal papers, Little Angels will be renamed the Marklund Wasmond Center, to acknowledge its rich history and founding family, as well as to conform with the naming of Marklund’s other facilities. The new organization will have more than 450 staff.

“Little Angels has always been a labor of love for the entire Wasmond Family,” said Shelley Lewis, longtime executive director of Little Angels, whose parents founded that organization.  “Of utmost importance to us is that we carry on my mother’s legacy of providing care and support to children and young adults with profound disabilities and complex medical needs in a place that feels like home. My family and our dedicated staff have entrusted this legacy to Marklund who shares a very similar history and passion for caring.  Joining the Marklund Family feels very much like home to us and we are excited about what the future holds.”

In preparing for the merger, Marklund administrators and legal counsel completed a due diligence process which included a comprehensive appraisal of the Little Angels organization. The appraisal included assessment of such matters as financial records, building and equipment,   staff organization, HR practices and benefit programs. In addition, leaders from both organizations held meetings with board members, parents/guardians, and donors.

“Nothing unexpected emerged from this process which allowed us to confidently move ahead with the merger plan,” Fonger added.

Marklund and Little Angels have very similar histories in that their programs have grown out of the dedicated and selfless care provided by their founding families more than half a century ago.

Established in 1954 by Claire and Stan Haverkampf, Marklund currently serves more than 170 families in its residential, therapeutic and educational programs, and operates on a $20 million budget. The Marklund Philip Center in Bloomingdale is home to 21 medically complex residential clients, plus a developmental therapy program. The Marklund Day School, which serves 55 students with multi-needs and Autism Spectrum Disorder, is also located on that five-acre campus. The 25-acre Marklund at Mill Creek Campus in Geneva features six 16-bed residential homes, a Miracle League ball field, as well as the Marklund Hyde Center which houses seven developmental training classrooms, therapy areas, administrative offices and an indoor heated aquatic therapy pool.

Founded in 1958 by Pat and Bob Wasmond, Little Angels provides services to 57 clients at its five-acre facility, operating on a $7 million budget. Located on the eastern edge of Elgin, its campus includes the Pat Wasmond Home and the Cathy Freeman Center for Developmental Training. These programs offer services for medically complex individuals with developmental disabilities including 24-hour skilled nursing care, comprehensive respiratory and therapeutic  services, and social and community activities.  

All programs will continue to operate in their current locations, which are:

Marklund at Mill Creek/Marklund Hyde Center, 1S450 Wyatt Drive, Geneva, IL 60174;
Marklund Philip Center, 164 S. Prairie Avenue, Bloomingdale, IL 60108
Marklund Day School, 164 S. Prairie Avenue, Bloomingdale, IL 60108
Marklund Wasmond Center, 1435 Summit Street, Elgin, IL 60120

Marklund Earns BBB, CARF Accrediations

 Marklund, a nonprofit organization that serves people with profound developmental disabilities, recently earned accrediations from two well-known certification bodies.

CARF Accreditation
Marklund recently received a three-year accreditation from CARF International for the Developmental Training program at its Geneva campus, earning a nearly perfect survey score of 99.68 percent. It is the second consecutive three-year endorsement that CARF, an independent, nonprofit accrediting body, has awarded to Marklund.

This accreditation represents the highest level that can be awarded to an organization and shows Marklund’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. Marklund demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.

“A tremendous amount of hard work over many months went into the preparation for the survey,” noted Gil Fonger, President & CEO. “The focus of CARF is on our Developmental Training area, but we also asked them to look at the overall organization. We are not required to undergo this survey but considered it a ‘best practice.’”
Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, CARF establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services.

Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently named Marklund as an accredited charity, certifying that Marklund meets all 20 of its Standards for Charity Accountability based on a review of information and materials provided by the organization.

Reports created by the BBB summarize, among other things, the programs, finances, governance and fundraising practices of the charity. In addition to completing a detailed questionnaire form, Marklund Development staff provided copies of audited financial statements, IRS Form 990, and an annual report.

“We are very pleased to again receive this two-year endorsement from such a respected organization as the Better Business Bureau,” Fonger noted. “This accreditation proves what we have always known about Marklund—that we strive to provide top quality care. Although it is a lengthy process, we appreciate the thoroughness of the BBB and are proud to be included on its list of nonprofits that meet the highest ethical standards.  We believe this designation is an important “seal of approval” for donors, volunteers and friends who may be interested in investing in Marklund,” Gil Fonger noted.





Get ready to Run, Walk & Roll for Marklund

Marklund will present its 4th Annual Run, Walk & Roll 5K/1 mile event Sunday, Oct. 23, at the Marklund at Mill Creek campus in Geneva, and registration is underway.

Growing in popularity, this fundraiser gives participants a fun and healthy way to support the care of children and adults with profound developmental disabilities, and even change their own lives, as noted above by Cynthia. Sign up and enjoy the fresh air and a brisk walk, comfortable jog or competitive run along a USATF-certified course throughout the South Mill Creek neighborhood. Men, women and children of all ages and abilities, including those using adaptive devices, are invited to participate.

“This is not your typical 5K,” said Stephanie Heinz, Marklund Development Coordinator. “We are pleased to open our event to people of all abilities. We’ve had people use wheelchairs, racing chairs and walkers join in the fun. Even Marklund clients take part with the assistance of staff or family members.”

Both the 5K and 1-mile events start and end at Marklund Hyde Center, 1S450 Wyatt Drive, Geneva. Start times are: 7:55 a.m. racing/adaptive wheelchairs; 8 a.m. 5K and 1 mile. Last year, more than 600 participated in the event, helping raise more than $129,000 to support the care of Marklund clients.

Prizes will be awarded to top male and female finishers in various age categories, as well as to top fundraisers. Following the race, participants can join in the Party in the Park with hot and cold food and beverages, and entertainment.

Register today at

Those who prefer not to participate can still support the event by sponsoring individual runners or walkers who set up personalized fundraising pages. Information on registered participants and teams will be posted on the website.

For information about registration, volunteering or sponsorships, contact Stephanie Heinz, Marklund development coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..





Marklund and Little Angels to Merge

Two agencies that have long helped children and adults with severe developmental disabilities announced Tuesday they intend to merge.

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Marklund Closes Resale Store

Marklund, a nonprofit organization that serves children and adults with profound developmental disabilities, will close its Wood Dale resale store on June 17, the organization announced. The store is located in the Georgetown Square shopping center on Irving Park Road.

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Marklund, Little Angels Eye Merger

Little Angels Center for Exceptional Care may be adding the name Marklund to its Elgin-based center as the two nonprofits that serve children and adults with severe development disabilities pursue a merger.

To read the rest of this article in the Courier News section of the Chicago Tribune, click here






Marklund receives $7,965 grant from Community Foundation

Capital purchase will create new opportunities for more physical activity

December, 2015 (Geneva, IL)           Marklund, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities, received a $7,965 grant from the Community Foundation of Fox River Valley to purchase a MOTOmed for its Mill Creek Campus in Geneva, Illinois. The MOTOmed, which is similar to a stationary bicycle but with a motor to support an individual’s movement, will enhance Marklund’s programming that encourages physical activity – from aquatic therapy to adapted bicycle riding.

Designed for use by individuals with limited mobility, Marklund will purchase the model designed to strengthen both leg and arm mobility.

“We are so grateful for the support of the Community Foundation of Fox River Valley,” said Vicki Krystof, director of corporate and foundation relations at Marklund. “This gift enhances our therapy program with equipment that will help our clients increase muscle strength, build confidence, and have fun!” 

There are multiple benefits that come with the MOTOmed. It is an easy piece of equipment for Marklund’s clients to use, as their wheelchairs can be positioned directly in front of it. By using the MOTOmed, Marklund expects clients to see improvement in range of motion, circulation, muscle tone, bone density, and joint integrity. Additionally, by utilizing the MOTOmed, clients will feel a sense of accomplishment and other benefits of exercise while enjoying the feeling of biking.

The Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley is a non-profit, tax exempt, philanthropic organization that administers individual charitable funds from which grants and scholarships are distributed to benefit the citizens of the Greater Aurora Area, the TriCities and Kendall County, Illinois. For more information, please visit






Top Hat Ball Breaks Fundraising & Attendance Records

Marklund’s 20th annual Top Hat Ball broke all attendance and fundraising records, raising more than $600,000 in net proceeds.

“We are so grateful to the many generous sponsors and the more than 650 attendees who participated in making this the best Top Hat Ball in Marklund history,” said Jeannine Zupo, Marklund’s Director of Special Events. Marklund, founded in 1954, is a nonprofit organization that provides residential, therapeutic and educational services to children and adults with severe developmental disabilities. Based in Bloomingdale and Geneva, Ill, it serves families from throughout Chicago and the suburbs.

Held last month at the Marriott Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile, this year’s Top Hat Ball event was intended from the start to be particularly memorable as it featured a spectacular Knight in Camelot theme.

And what a night it was!

Dueling jousters, ladies in waiting, and knights in shining armor mingled among the guests, while a live owl and hawk, wandering monk, sword-in-the-stone ice sculpture, and an impressive castle and topiary garden all added to the ambiance. As a fitting start to the evening program, Bud and Binna Porter of St. Charles, event co-chairs, were knighted for their generosity and leadership to the event.

Silent and live auctions featuring spectacular vacations to Europe, Atlantis, the Caribbean, and Cancun, sporting event packages, and even tickets to the MTV Video Music Awards contributed to the fundraising success. Generous on-the-spot donations made during the event’s “Fund-in-Need” portion of the event, where guests make donations from $20,000 to $100, also pushed the totals above past records.

The evening also celebrated longtime Marklund supporter Karen Golden, who was named 2016 Friend of the Year. An active volunteer for Marklund since 1992, Golden, a resident of Naperville, joined the Marklund Board of Directors in 2000, serving as Board Chair from 2003-2010. She has helped cultivate numerous new donors to the organization. In addition, she has served on the Top Hat Ball committee since 2004, and was Event Chair from 2013-2015. Over the past 24 years, she has made significant personal contributions to Marklund, and continues her commitment to the ongoing work of the organization.

“When you see the work that they do at Marklund, it compels you to act, to support and to help our kids. I have gotten more out of Marklund than I could ever possibly give back,” Golden said in accepting her award.
As a major fundraiser for Marklund, the Top Hat Ball has come a long way from its inaugural year when a few hundred guests “Danced Among the Dolphins” at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, raising approximately $80,000. Since then, the event has continued to grow while keeping its goal of raising funds to support the care of those served at Marklund.

United Airlines and Viking Travel Services held major sponsorship roles serving as the official airline and travel sponsors for the event. Among the other major sponsors were Carol and Mike Donahue of Geneva, Porter Pipe & Supply Co. of Addison, Fitch Healthcare of Wheaton, and Zimmerman Ford of St. Charles. A full list of the Top Hat Ball sponsors can be found at

The 21st annual Top Hat Ball will be held on Feb. 4, 2017.