Limited Operations Open. Read May Update
5111 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60515
Who We Are…
Sharing Connections brings together community members by enabling families and businesses to share their gently used furniture, household items and clothing with families needing assistance. This is a unique opportunity for the community to directly make an impact by passing on something they no longer need to make a difference in the life of a family.
SC staff works closely with referring partner organizations such as domestic violence shelters, housing organizations, food pantries, schools, veteran, and teen parent organizations refer clients to SC after they have determined the need for beds, cribs, furniture and other household items. Fitting with the vision of SC, distribution of cribs and beds for children is a major focus of our programming.
The families served by SC include the previously homeless, unemployed and working poor, veterans, victims of domestic violence, immigrants, individuals with mental or physical disabilities, victims of fire, flood and natural disasters, etc. They have housing, but are faced with the harsh reality that their “home” is empty or severely under-furnished – without cribs and beds for the children, a table, chairs and dishes to share meals, or even a sofa to sit on and relax. Our clients have an average salary of approximately $12,400 a year for a family of four. After basic expenses such as rent, utilities, food and clothing are paid, there’s little if anything left for the common household furnishings most take for granted. These individuals and families must overcome many obstacles on their way to self-sufficiency.
Since our founding our services have grown to not only include professional referral services from partner agencies for furniture and clothing - but have expanded with our annual toy program, back to school supply program, and in 2019 launched our very own in house option to offer direct to client services through in-house case management. Together, We Furnish Hope.
Our Vision: Tonight, everyone eats at a table and sleeps in a bed.
Our Mission: Share good things with good people.
Leeanne McGrath, Founder
Leeanne McGrath, the founder of Sharing Connections, used to become disheartened by the daily news and the staggering amount of poverty alongside such prosperity in her community. She realized, however, that even if she could not brighten the news or make everyone’s life better, she could at least do something to help someone. Thus, in 1986, Leeanne began using her Lisle garage to collect baby cribs and baby accessories from people who no longer needed them. She then found grateful families who eagerly gave these items a new home.
Leeanne’s grassroots organization soon gained a loyal crew of volunteers, attention from community agencies, and a surge of public awareness. Leeanne received numerous awards recognizing her philanthropic achievements including the President’s Volunteer Action Award in 1991 and the National Caring Award, presented in Washington, D.C. in 1996.
Eventually, the McGrath’s overflowing garage necessitated a larger home for Sharing Connections. In 2001, Sharing Connections moved to its current location (5111 Chase Ave.), a 4,700 square foot warehouse in Downers Grove. In March 2009, Sharing Connections expanded to include an additional 4,700 square feet of warehouse and office space to meet the demands and in July of 2019 the expansion to an offsite 3,000 sq. ft. site was added. Today, we work collaboratively with more than 200 hospitals, municipalities, and other social service agencies to redistribute cribs, beds, tables, chairs, dressers, and more to disadvantaged families in the Chicago Metropolitan area.
This one-woman operation has grown to include several staff members, a full Board of Trustees, and a small army of volunteers. Although we have grown, Sharing Connections still acts in accordance with the same values in which we began, as reflected in our Vision and Mission statement.
“Yes, we provide much needed furniture and clothing - but it’s so much more than that. So many of us here that have dedicated our professional career, or our free time through volunteering, have also overcome a similar crisis in our journey. It’s this experience that gives us the opportunity to share in the experience with our clients. We provide more than furniture, each day that we come to Sharing Connections, we truly do furnish hope one person at a time.”
- Ryan Varju, CEO
Attaining a 4-star rating verifies that Sharing Connections exceeds industry standards…Only 25% of the charities evaluated have received at least 3 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Sharing Connections outperforms most other charities in America.
Sharing Connections - 5111 Chase Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515 - 630.971.0565 - Fax 630-971-9594 - www.sharingconnections.org
Business Hours: Monday-Friday: 9am-3pm, Saturday: 9am-Noon, Sunday: Closed
Furnished hope to more than 123,419 individuals since 1986.
Audit and 990 information is available via our desktop website.