Penguin Plunge in Ottawa returns virtually for 2021

In 10 years, program has raised $993,200 for Make-A-Wish

Teams from Ottawa and the surrounding counties are making a splash regardless of the pandemic as the annual Penguin Plunge is scheduled to go virtual Saturday, Jan. 30.

The Penguin Plunge is an annual event that benefits Make-A-Wish Illinois that raised $67,650 last year in what was thought to be the last event. It returns this year, however, as teams will jump together into whatever outdoor body of water is nearest to them, whether it be a puddle or a baby pool, to raise money for granting wishes to children with critical illnesses.

This is the 10th year the Penguin Plunge has supported Make-A-Wish. They have raised $993,200 since 2011.

“The continued support of this community event makes a real difference for children living with critical illnesses in Illinois,” said Ashley White, gift officer for Make-A-Wish Illinois, in a press release. “In addition to building much-needed hope and resilience for wish children, I’ve seen a genuine camaraderie grow among participants as they band together for a good cause, resulting in some really tight friendships.”

Plans are already being prepared for the 2022 event as well, which will take place in January 2022 at Skydive Chicago's swimming pond.

Last year's event had to change locations when Heritage Harbor wasn't available because of construction. Organizers ended up hosting a plunge into a pool at the Knights of Columbus in Ottawa.

To form a team or donate to this event, visit and for additional information, contact