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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.

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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.


View article in The Daily Herald at


Marklund Day School welcomes student volunteers

May 16, 2017   Eleven fifth-graders from Roy De Shane Elementary School, in Carol Stream, Ill., recently spent the morning with Marklund Philip Center residents, reading books, playing games and assisting them with crafts.

The service project took place on May 9, as part of the school's problem-based learning -- a student-centered approach in which they learn about a subject by working in groups to solve an open-ended problem.

"One of the goals of the project was to instill in students a passion for service," said Teacher Tracy Legner. "We wanted to ignite a fire for giving of yourself, and learning you can make a difference at any age."

The project came together after students completed a variety of assignments. For example, they brainstormed on different needs throughout their community, and then narrowed their project to organizations that serve children with disabilities. They then researched such sites as to learn more about organizations' ratings and overhead costs. After choosing Marklund, students researched its website for information on the age requirements to volunteer, and the different ways to serve.

As part of their project, students also had to determine how they'd get to and from Marklund. They created a presentation for the school district's business manager, describing their service project, with the hope that the district would fund their transportation costs.

"When they agreed to fund our trip, I was really excited," said Aaliyah Tally-Sierra, one of the students. "We cheered and celebrated when we learned they said "yes" to paying for our bus ride."

Aaliyah rallied students behind Marklund, and took on a leadership role on the project, Legner said. "She shared how her aunt had been a resident of Marklund. Her personal story garnered the enthusiasm of the other students, and helped them decide to do their service project at Marklund."

"My heart felt really warm and happy that we were going to serve at Marklund," Aaliyah said. "I wanted to do something to help people with special needs, like my aunt."

"The intention of our students was to help, but they are realizing they are getting more out of the experience than they are giving," Legner said. "It is exciting to think of our students growing into adults who will give back to their communities."


See the article in The Daily Herald here:

Marklund Welcomes New Nursing Director for Elgin Campus

(March 24, 2017)   The Marklund Wasmond Center in Elgin recently welcomed Michelle Orwig as its new director of nursing.

Orwig, who has more than eight years' experience working in the hospital and health care industry, came to Marklund after serving as director of nursing for Villa Healthcare, Rockford. Her other experience includes working for ManagCare as quality assurance coordinator in the Chicago region, and for Friendship Senior Options, Geneva, as director of nursing.

Orwig, a registered nurse, received her associate's degree in nursing from Elgin Community College. She also has a nursing home administrator license.

As she looks ahead, Orwig looks forward to making a positive impact on the lives of residents, as well as their family and loved ones, she said.

"After researching job opportunities at other long-term care organizations, I was drawn to Marklund because its vision and mission are so spectacular," she said. "Marklund is so unique."

"Marklund and Little Angels were founded in the same manner, by families who had a heart for those in need," Orwig added. "The two organizations started the same way, and now they are together as one."

"We are thrilled to welcome Michelle," said Shelley Lewis, administrator of the Marklund Wasmond Center. "Michelle's experience, professionalism, and commitment to excellence, will enhance the lives of our residents, and help us carry out our mission of 'making everyday life possible for individuals with profound disabilities.'"

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, Chicago Tribune

Annual Top Hat Ball Breaks Fundraising Records

Published: Wednesday, March 8, 2017 5:30 p.m. CDT

By KANE COUNTY CHRONICLE - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Marklund’s 21st annual Top Hat Ball fundraising event, “The Gatsby Ball” on Feb. 14, broke all past fundraising records for the nonprofit organization by netting $646,700, officials announced in a news release.

The Top Hat event is the largest fundraiser of the year for Marklund, a nonprofit that serves children and adults with severe and profound developmental disabilities at campuses in Geneva, Elgin and Bloomingdale, the release stated.

The Top Hat event was held at the Chicago Marriott Downtown, and the net proceeds from the Top Hat Ball have steadily grown over the past five years, since recording $338,700 in 2013, the release stated.

Nearly 600 guests participated in the Roaring '20s-themed fundraiser, with one of the highlights being a dollar-for-dollar match offer – up to $100,000 – which was made by an anonymous donor during the live auction portion of the evening, the release stated.

The annual fundraiser helps bridge the funding gap between what it costs Marklund to care for its 174 residential clients and the $17,000 per person funding provided by the state, the release stated.

“The generosity of those in attendance at this event year after year continues to amaze us,” Gil Fonger, president and CEO of Marklund stated in the release. “We are thankful and humbled that they choose to support our mission of making everyday life possible for individuals with profound disabilities.”

Bud and Binna Porter of St. Charles presided over the evening’s program as co-chairmen of the event.

“What a true honor it is to be chairing Marklund’s Top Hat Ball for the second year in a row,” Bud Porter stated in the release. “This organization has grown so near and dear to our hearts, and we are humbled to serve in this capacity. Each year we leave this event in amazement at the selfless giving and support of so many loyal donors — each person, truly impacting our community in big and bold ways.”

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.

Read the rest of the article on the Daily Herald website at

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 is 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