Just like the families we serve, surviving and thriving is the path forward that WINGS has always taken. This past fiscal year was no different. Despite the worst public health crisis in 100 years, all of the WINGS teams pushed forward to achieve new heights and to help more survivors of domestic violence and their children.

Both of WINGS Safe Houses continued operating throughout the pandemic, but the Suburban Safe House moved families into hotel rooms to protect their health and safety. Without missing a beat, the teams took in families and cared for them as they prepared for the next leg of their journeys. The Housing team mobilized to move people from hotel rooms and WINGS Metro Safe House in Chicago into homes and apartments. Through all of it the Children’s Advocates, Counselors and Mentors continued to provide support virtually. The teens even loved the FaceTime interactions better than live counseling sessions. The level of creativity by all of the program staff was beyond amazing.

While the Program team was taking care of our guests, the Development team powered through also. While they held successful events in the fall of 2019, they had to postpone the spring events including our Sports Luncheon and our 35th Anniversary Celebration. We were extremely grateful that our sponsors allowed us to keep the dollars raised as we determine when we can safely hold those events in the future. Working remotely, the team mobilized to replace lost revenues through appeals using social media, electronic and mailed appeals to engage donor support. The results were impressive and WINGS gained over 1,000 new donors.

Until the pandemic hit and the resale stores were shuttered, the Resale team was on track to hit their highest profitability rate in five years. While no other resale chain was accepting donations, WINGS Transportation team picked up thousands of bags, boxes and furniture items to ensure that the stores were packed with great merchandise when we reopened. Their efforts paid great dividends in sales revenue when the stores reopened.

And, behind the scenes of all of this happening, the Administrative team worked remotely with the main office being shut down. They developed new and innovative ways to electronically obtain signatures and never missed a payroll. With their efforts, we were able to secure a PPP loan through BMO to help cover the lost revenues while the stores were closed.

Over the year, we continued to add more amazing Board members and the Board adopted a new committee structure to support the growth. We are truly grateful to long-standing Board members, Rita Canning and Ellaine Sambo-Reyther who are now co-chairing the Board. We are also thankful to Matt Baumann for serving as President for many years. WINGS is fortunate to have many dedicated and talented individuals on our Board and Councils.

Together, we are pulling through this crisis, while surviving and thriving. Thank you to each and every one of you for making that happen.

Rebecca Darr
President & CEO