WINGS Receives 5 Purple Ribbon Awards from National Organization DomesticShelters.Org

Fall 2022:

  • Outstanding New Service Launch – Survivor Lifeline
  • Annual Report of the Year
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Rita Canning, WINGS Board Chair Emeritus

Spring 2023:

  • Survivor of the Year – Sarah McClarey
  • Outstanding Thrift Store

To be considered, agencies complete applications in specific categories. The judging panel consists of reviewers who work in or with domestic violence agencies.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Rita Canning, Board Chair Emeritus

For more than 30 years, Rita poured her passion and leadership into WINGS growth. She helped WINGS open two Safe Houses and start community-based programming.

Under her leadership on WINGS Board of Directors, WINGS assets grew from $600,000 to over $23 million. These resources empowered WINGS to reach thousands of survivors.

Rita Canning with Purple Ribbon Award
Elizabeth, WINGS Survivor Lifeline Coordinator, poses with Purple Ribbon Award

Best New Service Launch

Survivor Lifeline

Survivor Lifeline matches compassionate survivor mentors with clients who are moving from domestic violence shelters into housing. This year the program served 62 clients with 647 hours of mentoring and 91% have maintained their housing over a year.

Out of 125 Purple Ribbon winners in Fall 2022, WINGS was one of only seven organizations selected to receive a grant for the Survivor Lifeline program.


WINGS operates three Resale Stores in the Northwest Suburbs. Every donated item goes to a survivor, a store, or a recycling center. Clients can shop for their own items through gift cards and select furniture from the stores when they move into housing.

WINGS Resale Store

Survivor of the Year - Sarah McClarey

Sarah McClarey fled domestic abuse with her two young sons in 2005 to WINGS Safe House. During her first Valentine’s Day in the shelter, Sarah bought herself roses.

Now thriving, for the past 15 years she has raised funds to buy and deliver Valentine’s bouquets to WINGS and other Chicago-area domestic violence shelters.

Called Operation Shelter Cupid, Sarah delivers over 150 bouquets and a heartfelt note.


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