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Local News

Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living to host annual fundraiser

JOLIET — The Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living is less than two weeks away from its annual fundraising event.

But the nonprofit is still counting on the community to step up and purchase tickets or sponsorships before the big event to help reach this year's fundraising goal, said Pam Heavens, the center's executive director.

For $50, guests can partake in dinner, dancing, a silent auction and raffles from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Aug. 29 at Harrah's Joliet, 151 N. Joliet St., with live music from the Teddy Lee Orchestra.

“Don't be intimidated by the big band music. [The Teddy Lee Orchestra] plays other music, too,” Heavens said. “My father is 92 and he's even brushing off his dancing shoes.”

Meeting or exceeding the group's $35,000 fundraising goal is vital this year with the backdrop of state budget uncertainty and anticipated local funding reductions from the United Ways of Will and Grundy counties, Heaven said.

The local nonprofit is among the more than 20 advocacy nonprofits statewide run for and by people with disabilities that are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act this year. The center hopes to highlight the landmark legislation's successes at the event, which is titled "Empowerment Event 2015."

Will County Board member Denise Winfrey, D-Joliet, is serving as master of ceremonies. As a longtime supporter of the center, Winfrey said she urges people to donate to help the nonprofit carry out its core mission: helping people with disabilities become as independent as possible.

"Many of these people may be in a nursing home for no other reason other than being in a wheelchair," she said. "Our big push is to get people who don't need to be [in nursing homes] into a place of their own."

The event's major sponsor is the James E. Hearns Charitable Foundation. Other sponsors include Exxon Mobil, Northern Illinois Steel Supply Company, Silver Cross Hospital, First Midwest Bank, Caterpillar, Aetna Better Health and D'Arcy Motors. A list of other sponsors is available online.

Information about sponsorships, which range from $250 to $10,000, can be found at the center’s Sponsorships page,

Tickets can be purchased at the door, but it is preferred they be bought in advance so the center can plan accordingly.



WHAT: Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living's "Empowerment Event 2015"

WHEN: 5:30 to 10 p.m. Aug. 29

WHERE: Harrah's Joliet, 151 N. Joliet St.

WHAT: Dinner, dancing, raffle prizes, silent auction and live music from the Teddy Lee Orchestra.

INFORMATION: Call the center at 815-729-0962.

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