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Remembering Dan O'Donnell
This week we are mourning the sudden passing on January 19th of a special Friend of Freadom®️ – Dan O‘Donnell.

While grieving, we also remember – and celebrate – Dan‘s profound impact on our work with children.

In the pursuit of our mission to break the cycle of intergenerational incarceration, we entered into a partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Lakeview – Chicago in 2015. Dan was Treasurer at the time of our joining and had been a member holding key positions of leadership for many years. True to the Kiwanis motto of “Serving the Children of the World,” Dan strongly supported our children’s programs and was instrumental in our ability to continue and expand our literacy programs for young at-risk children and their families.

Dan was particularly passionate in his advocacy for our “John Stephan’s Escape from the Jeopardy Zone” program. This program, initiated by us with Kiwanis Board Member and Director of the Chicago Boys and Girls Club of Logan Square, John Stephan, was designed to avert the dire prediction of future incarceration for third graders falling below proficient in national reading test scores.

Additionally, Dan was a top supporter of our Inaugural Fundraiser on November 12, 2019. He promoted attendance, provided prizes for our Raffle and Silent Auction – including the stunning and innovative Modo Bag which had just received recognition in Washington D.C.

These tangible actions and this unswerving support would be reasons enough for remembering Dan and earning our enduring gratitude. But there are intangibles too that make Dan forever memorable. These intangibles are the personal qualities he brought to everything he did – high, unwavering enthusiasm, zest, and wholeheartedness. He leaves us these to remember him by and be inspired.