For the past 8 years the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry has recognized individuals who personify Marie Wilkinson’s belief that it is a privilege to give a helping hand to people in need by giving their time, effort, expertise, concern, and love to improve the quality of lives to those in need.
This year they honored Robert (Bob) Vaughan with the 2018 Spirit Award, and Madeline “Maddie” Bozik with the Student Leadership Award, and an award of appreciation to East Aurora School District.
Superintendent for East Aurora School District Jennifer Norrell and Board member Ken Darby were recognized for supporting the MWFP eastside pantry.
20 restaurants participated including East Aurora High School culinary team, entertainment by students from Metea Valley High School and Waubonsie Valley High School and volunteers from EAHS NJROTC.
Bob served as the executive director of the Dunham Fund, since its inception in 2007, until his retirement this year.
The Dunham Fund is one of the largest private foundations in Kane County with more than $100 Million in assets. The Fund provides more than $4 Million in grants to area nonprofits each year. Some of the notable projects funded include RiverEdge Park John C. Dunham Music Pavilion, The John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School, and John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center.
Prior to his tenure as the executive director of the Dunham Fund, he served as former mayor of Aurora Tom Weisner’s chief of Staff from 2005 – 2007. Bob Spent 26 years as the CEO/CFO of the Fox Valley Park District, Illinois’ second largest park district. He also volunteered his knowledge and expertise to many organizations over the years.
Bob and his wife Toni were both born and raised in Aurora. They have three children and two grandchildren.
2018 Student Leadership Award:
New for 2018 is the Student Leadership Award which was presented to Madeline ‘Maddie’ Bozik, 19, who is currently a college student and president of Maddie’s Mitten March, a non-profit organization that provides winter clothing to those in need.
Maddie started Maddie’s Mitten March while in 5th grade at Schneider Elementary School.
Maddie recognized that some individuals did not have winter coats and started a coat drive in her neighborhood as part of a Girl Scout community service project. Seeing the success of her first year, Maddie decided to continue with the project the following year as she entered 6th grade at Herget Middle School. Maddie continued to collect, donate, and expand her charity to a point that she incorporated her charity into a 501c3 non-profit corporation. As her charity expanded and as she entered her freshman year at West Aurora High School, Maddie purchased a retired school bus, converting it to a mobile closet to more efficiently distribute the winter clothing. During high school, Maddie juggled the demands of high school, extra-curricular activities, and Maddie’s Mitten March.
Currently, Maddie is in her sophomore year at Illinois Central College where she is working on her nursing degree. After a year exploring Engineering at Bradley University, Maddie chose to change her major as she realized her calling is to serve others. In addition to school and Maddie’s Mitten March, she serves as a volunteer firefighter/EMT for the West Peoria Fire Protection District.
• North Auroran of the Year – 2015
• What’s Your Story Award for Charitable Business – 2015
• Kohl’s Cares Foundation – Regional Winner 2015
• Commitment to Community Award – North Aurora Mothers Club – 2013
• Ted Bratton Youth Leadership Award – Rotary Club of Aurora – 2012
Photo by Joshua Schultz of GreenLife Media Group
Previous Spirit Award recipients:
Daniel D. Dolan 2017
Jim Dean 2016
Mike McCoy 2016
Henry & Phyllis Cowherd 2015
Al and Clara Kennedy 2015
Gordon Kerkman 2015
Robert O’Connor 2015
Jim Butler 2014
Linda Chapa LaVia 2014
John Galles 2014
Theodia Gillespie 2014
Brian & Kathy Dolan 2013
Clayton Muhammad 2013
Chuck Nelson 2013
St. John AME Church 2013
Karen Evans 2012
Rose Marshall 2012
Kathy Snow 2012
Jesse Vazquez 2012
Chuck Anderson 2011
Connie Hommowun 2011
Sandra Lowder 2011
Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner 2011
Susan Anderson 2010
William & Scheketa Hart-Burns 2010
The Prisco Family 2010
Miriam Whall 2010
— Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry