Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club awards charity grants

Tim Caruso (fourth from right) and The Kids Equipment Network Board members accept a $20,000 grant from Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club Board members.

The Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club selected three local charities to receive grant funding totaling $35,000, the largest single donation in the club’s history. The announcement came on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29.

“Our DGJWC members are deeply moved by the mission of each of the three finalist organizations and the impact they each make in unique ways for our community,” Kristen Avery, who chairs philanthropy for the club, said in a news release.

DGJWC awarded a $20,000 grant to The Kids Equipment Network, which serves children with special needs. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to connecting the children with durable, adaptive equipment to help them embrace their lives and become active, independent members of their community.

The grant will support The Kids Equipment Network’s goal to provide equipment to every family at little to no cost to the recipient. Established in 2005, the organization has served more than 3,000 families with more than 5,300 pieces of adaptive equipment, such as wheelchairs, strollers and mobility devices. This year, The Kids Equipment Network has helped 165 kids.

“We’re very proud of what we do. This organization is a labor of love for so many people,” Tim Caruso, founder of The Kids Equipment Network and physical therapist for more than 30 years, said in the release. “They say it takes a village, and so we welcome Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club into our village and we thank you for the opportunity to be a part of yours.”

DGJWC also awarded grants of $7,500 each to Family Shelter Service Metropolitan Family Services DuPage and NAMI DuPage.

Family Shelter Service Metropolitan Family Services DuPage addresses domestic violence in DuPage County. The organization was created in 2019 via a merger of two long-standing support organizations: Family Shelter Service and Metropolitan Family Services DuPage. The Wheaton-based organization provides emergency shelter, support services, legal assistance, early childhood education, health services, workforce development programs and other services to help survivors of domestic violence plan for safety, heal from trauma, build skills and confidence and break the cycle of abuse.

NAMI DuPage is a grassroots organization that serves almost 20,000 individuals and family members each year who are facing mental health challenges. NAMI DuPage provides mentorship, guidance, support and tools to give hope for recovery and continued support after discharge.

Their services include The Living Room, a safe place staffed by NAMI DuPage-trained volunteers that is open every weekday for individuals experiencing mental health symptoms who likely would not benefit from visiting an emergency room.

“We are honored and humbled to help further the missions of these organizations,” Avery said. “Making a difference is an incredibly rewarding benefit to being a part of Juniors.”

The Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club is a nonpartisan, nondenominational, volunteer women’s organization. Its members are dedicated to supporting and raising the awareness of charitable organizations, individuals in need and the community. For information about the club, visit

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network provides local news throughout northern Illinois