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Pearls of Wisdom from the Supporters of Bridge Communities: Jack Flowers

February 2, 2018

30Yearslogo2018 marks Bridge Communities’ 30th anniversary year, and we have lots in store to share with you this year. Alongside our special events and celebrations, we will also share “Pearls of Wisdom” stories each month, which will feature a different longtime friend, supporter, volunteer or graduate from Bridge Communities.

We are honored that our first “Pearl of Wisdom” story is of Jack Flowers. Read on to learn more about his journey with Bridge Communities!

Jack Flowers has been involved with Bridge as a program partner from St. Peter and Paul Parish Catholic Church in Naperville for the past 20 years. Jack has been a mentor, manager, believer, thinker, fundraiser, doer and champion of Bridge Communities’ mission, organization and families.

He attributes the 30-year accomplishments of Bridge to the driving forces behind the mission, in particular the work by Mark Milligan. According to Jack, “He and Bob had a vision. A lot of us have visions, but to carry it to the point that he did is successful. He’s an inspiration to me and it shows that given the time and dedication, people can achieve so much good. You can get things done. You can accomplish far more than you ever imagined.”

Jack still stays in touch and exchanges Christmas presents with former clients, and relishes in their accomplishments of independence, education and successes at supporting their families and learning viable skills. “My goal is that the children in the program end up in a better position than when they came in,” Jack says. “Two years of stability, two years of the Naperville schools, two years of having your own bedroom and apartment makes a huge difference. So my satisfaction and reward is seeing these kids growing up now.”

Most importantly, Jack feels that Bridge has given him the compassion, empathy and respect for those in need, that he didn’t have before he became a volunteer. “The major thing when I talk about being a mentor is compassion,” he says.

Jack’s 30th anniversary wish for Bridge:

“Continue the good work that you do. Continue with a great attitude. Life is all about attitude, and I think Bridge has the right attitude for what it does for people. Without that kind of attitude, the organization would fall apart. So keep up how you look at people, yourselves, your clients, your mentors, your program partners and just be accountable like you are in a very possible way.”

Special thanks to our 30th Anniversary Committee Volunteers Lisa Sallwasser and Geoff Bevington, and to our 30th Anniversary Media Sponsor Compass Mortgage. 


Meet a Family You Brought in From the Cold on #GivingTuesday

January 12, 2018

IMG_0937Because of  100+ generous donors on #GivingTuesday, two families were brought in from the cold this winter and into Bridge Communities.

These families were warm and safe in a Bridge apartment before the recent cold snap. Thank you for keeping them safe!

And now, we’d like to introduce you to one of these families: K and her young daughter, A.

They moved into the safety of their Bridge apartment just before Christmas–and not only that, her mentors and community volunteers rallied together to provide them with a tree, ornaments, decorations, and presents. Little A said that it was “the best Christmas ever!”

    Not only are they safely housed, you’ve connected them to all the opportunities that Bridge Communities provides: employment services, children’s programming, counseling, nutrition programs, and more. In fact, K just received a donated car last week, and now has reliable transportation to work and her daughter’s school.

Next month, we’ll introduce you to the C family and let you know their remarkable story. In the meantime, click here to meet more Bridge families, and learn how you’re changing lives for homeless families in our community.

Thank you again for making a donation on #GivingTuesday!


Double Your Impact on #GivingTuesday

October 31, 2017

GT2017_BeatriceOn November 28, we ask you to become a hero to the homeless families served by Bridge Communities.

      A generous foundation donor has agreed to match your #GivingTuesday donation, dollar for dollar! Thanks to this generous match, your $35 gift will be enough to give not one family, but two families a night of housing in a warm, safe apartment.
     Not only that, you will connect them to all the tools they need–mentoring, financial counseling, job coaching, tutoring, children’s services, counseling and more–so that they can recover from the trauma of homelessness.

     Click here to make a gift toward #GivingTuesday today!
     Thank you for being there for homeless families when they need you the most.

Take a Seat! The Chair Affair Artwork has Arrived in Hinsdale

September 14, 2017

Three cheers, the chairs are here! As of Monday, September 11, the 20 pieces of artwork to be featured in A Chair Affair – Hinsdale have been installed at retail and community locations throughout Hinsdale, Oak Brook, Clarendon Hills and Burr Ridge.

Until October 5, you can visit and view the chairs in person, and vote for them online on Then, join us at our cocktail auction gala event at The Community House on October 5, where you can bid on your favorite chair and take it home!
Tickets for A Chair Affair – Hinsdale are $50 and include an hors d’oeuvres reception, open bar, the auctions and a story shared by a Bridge graduate. Click here to purchase your ticket today!

Experience a life-changing night on November 4: Sleep Out Saturday 2017

September 8, 2017
On Saturday, November 4, be one of the hundreds across Chicagoland that will take action against the growing family homelessness crisis.

Join the Sleep Out Saturday movement todayto raise funds, donate, and for one night sleep outside, all to help homeless families rebuilding their lives in the Bridge Communities transitional housing program reach a brighter future.

On Sleep Out Saturday, rise up to the challenge and camp out in boxes, cars and tents on your own, with your family or with groups, and fundraise to provide safe housing and help for homeless families working toward self-sufficiency. Sign up for Sleep Out Saturday today!
Listen below to Maria, a local youth pastor, share why it’s important to participate in Sleep Out Saturday!
Sign up today! Experience the movement that is changing the lives of local homeless families. Join, start your pledge page and prepare to sleep out on November 4.

Not ready to sleep out but still want to make your support known? Visit to make your donation today in support of the hundreds sleeping out this year!

Please contact us at or 630-545-0610 x19 with any questions. Bridge Communities is excited to welcome you to Sleep Out Saturday on November 4!

A Chair Affair – Hinsdale to Debut October 5!

August 25, 2017

Hinsdale Chair Affair_date.jpgYour favorite “chairity” event is on the move—please join us for the debut of A Chair Affair – Hinsdale on October 5!  This fall, A Chair Affair’s cocktail auction & gala will be held at the beautifully redesigned Community House in Hinsdale.

You’ll be able to enjoy in person all the one-of-a-kind pieces of chair artwork, designed by local artists.  Starting September 11, they’ll be on display throughout businesses in downtown Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, and at retail locations in Burr Ridge and Oak Brook. Online voting for the chairs will be available through October 5, when they’ll be moved to The Community House for the main event—and you can bid on your favorite chair and take it home at our live and silent auctions!  You’ll also enjoy raffles for exciting prizes and experiences, a wine pull, and a jewelry pull featuring exclusive pieces from Kendra Scott.

Tickets for the October 5 event are now available! Your $50 ticket includes an hors d’oeuvres and dessert buffet, plus an open bar. Proceeds of A Chair Affair go directly to support Bridge’s transitional housing program and the 130 homeless families served this year. Purchase your ticket today on

Thank you for joining us at A Chair Affair!

June 13, 2017


ACA17 91On June 8, Naperville hosted the “chairity” event to kick off summer with A Chair Affair! Held at the brand new Elements at Water Street inside Hotel Indigo alongside Naperville’s beautiful Riverwalk, nearly 250 guests had an exciting evening full of food, fun and philanthropy to benefit the families of Bridge Communities.

The program kicked off with a welcome from Bridge’s CEO John Hayner, followed by a heartwarming and inspirational speech from Bridge client Maria, who’s already transforming her life in the short 10 months she and her children have lived in the safety of a Bridge apartment.

ACA17 225     Next, the live auction began! Guests bid on the 12 amazing chairs garnering the most online votes prior to the event. The chair winning the People’s Choice Award was “A Century in the Waiting” by Stephanie Price and Zachary Mestek, a set of reclaimed movie theater chairs that showcased the historic 2016 World Series-winning Chicago Cubs.

Up next was the “Stuff the Chair” raffle from john greene Realtor, where the winners had their choice of four outstanding prize packages, including tickets to Ravinia and the Paramount Theater, gourmet packages and more.

At the evening’s end, the silent auction closed, and 12 more happy bidders claimed their prize of beautiful, one-of-a-kind chair artwork to take home.

We thank all the attendees of A Chair Affair for joining us–because of you, nearly 130ACA17 245 formerly homeless families in DuPage County are on their way to a bright, independent future. Thank you!

To view the event album on Facebook, click here.

P.S. Stay tuned for more details soon about the next edition of A Chair Affair, coming to Hinsdale’s Community House on October 5!


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