Nonprofit Highlight: Barrington Junior Women’s Club

Below is Barrington Area Volunteer Connection’s tenth installment of their profile program, highlighting non-profits using BAVC for their volunteering needs. Keep reading for the profile of Barrington Junior Women’s Club.

Interview with Gina Koertner – President | Barrington Junior Women’s Club

Gifts gathered for seniors this year since holiday parties were not allowed.

How do you utilize volunteers in your organization?

Our volunteers deliver Meals with Wheels to seniors in the Barrington area two times per month. In a typical school year, we also tutor at Sunny Hill elementary school. Our volunteers are also our members who devote time to our organization by chairing committees that benefit our community such as planning holiday parties at the local senior centers, serving food at the Community Meal, packing meals at Feed My Starving Children, or reviewing and selecting scholarships to award to BHS students.

What tips do you have for new or existing volunteers?

Be a “yes” person. Say yes to a new opportunity or something out of your comfort zone. It might include taking a leadership role or assisting in an area of the organization that you have no experience in.

What advice would you give to other nonprofits that need to make use of volunteers?

Gina Koertner, President, and Medbh Huschitt, First VP and BJWC incoming president for next year.

I always feel that when an organization can foster a sense of community and friendship among their volunteers, they will receive twice the productivity and engagement.

What do you feel is the most important benefit your organization provides to the community?

The most important benefit of BJWC is the scholarship and grant program. Our organization spends the year fundraising through a fall and spring event. The scholarship funds are awarded to BHS seniors who exemplify leadership and display a strong and consistent history of community service. The grant funds are awarded to local nonprofits that benefit women, children, and seniors. In years past, BJWC has awarded over $100,000 to area shelters, safe havens, and community projects.

How has your organization handled the challenges during Covid, as far as your services, programs, staffing, etc?

COVID greatly impacted our organization during our fall fundraiser. BJWC has hosted a Fall Fashion show that has been a favorite among women in the area for many years. This event traditionally brings 400 women together for a day of shopping, watching a fashion show, and giving.

With restrictions on crowds gathering in place last fall, we were forced to move out event virtually, like many other nonprofits in the area. The co-chairs of this event pivoted quickly to move the fashion show to a pre-taped event. We also worked with a local production company to move the rest of the event online. The shopping portion of the day was moved online as well. We were able to highlight local boutiques and shops through our social media outlets. In return, these shops donated a portion of our sales generated back to BJWC.

Our community was as generous as always with this event and we were still able to gross $85,000 for our grants and scholarship program!

BJWC Members at the annual grant reception.


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