At SOS Illinois, we have been honored to welcome many donors, supporters, and partners into our shared story. Often, these important friends come to us with close, personal reasons why our model of foster care inspires them to get involved, make a difference, and help build our future. For one family, turning heartbreak into hope is helping to create a legacy of their daughter and an opportunity for youth and families to shine at SOS Illinois. We are deeply grateful for the establishment of the Jill L. Meinzer Scholarship Fund, which will not only help to open doors for our youth but for all those who enter into the Roosevelt Square Community Center.
About Jill Louise (Hubbard) Meinzer
With over 20 years of leadership roles in the cable and communications industry, Jill L. Meinzer was known as a hands-on team-builder, collaborator and problem solver. Jill received a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University with majors in Computer Science and Math. Inspired by the strong work ethic of her parents, she began her career at Rockwell as a software engineer for large telecommunications systems, later transitioning to the start-up company Cadant. ARRIS International, who acquired Cadant in 2001, offered many opportunities for Jill to showcase her talents as Vice President, overseeing Technical Support, Consumer Support, Global Knowledge Services and Service Contracts, as well as many managerial capacities.
Committed to helping strengthen other women in the field, Jill also was very active in industry and community organizations that promoted education and leadership opportunities for women, including serving on the board for Women in Cable Telecommunications. Jill frequently served as a mentor for young women in the cable industry, recognizing the value of utilizing her own experiences to guide and empower others as they navigate career paths of their own.
In addition to an accomplished career, Jill still found time to earn the title, “Favorite Aunt” as she frequently hosted her nine nieces and nephews, all from Indiana, with fun-filled Chicago weekends. These often would include trips to see the Bears, Blackhawks, or Cubs as well as memorable walks and bike rides along Lake Michigan and Navy Pier.
Jill’s Commitment to Building Healthy Families
As Jill was committed to her career and the strength of her industry, so too was she committed to the strength of families. Jill recognized that others, due to circumstances beyond their control, faced challenges that could keep them from reaching their full potential. Through her work and through her mentoring, Jill became particularly aware of the challenges faced by youth in foster care, including those served by SOS Illinois. Jill privately helped a colleague adopt and support a child out of the foster care system and from there her interest grew.
Turning Heartbreak into Hope
In the spring of 2018, Jill was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) and passed away less than a year later on January 14, 2019, at the age of 53. However, several years prior to this, she had already put into motion a scholarship fund, and with the time she had, Jill was able to share her wishes with her family. As a long-time resident of Naperville, it was important to Jill that her estate fund Chicago-based organizations that support youth in foster care. The Hubbard Family found SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, and after meeting with Foster Parents, children, and staff, the Hubbard Family felt that Jill would have wanted to support SOS Illinois without reservation. Together, they decided to support the building of the Roosevelt Square Community Center, in addition to establishing an endowed fund that will support education and job skills training programs associated with the Center through a gift of $1 million.
Karen (Hubbard) Whitaker, one of Jill’s sisters, commented, “We know Jill would be incredibly honored to support the SOS Children’s Villages Illinois mission. It is a privilege for us, her family, to help make that happen. We are so grateful for all those at SOS Illinois who have chosen to work in this area and make such a difference in the lives of very deserving children.”
Gratitude for the Hubbard Family
The tremendous and groundbreaking support of the Hubbard Family and the Jill L. Meinzer Scholarship Fund is providing essential resources that can help to ensure our children and families receive the life-changing services provided by the Roosevelt Square Community Center.
“Strengthening families is at the core of our mission,” shared SOS Illinois CEO, Tim McCormick. “We are humbled by the strength of the Hubbard Family and honored by their trust in SOS Illinois. This transformational gift to the Community Center and its programs will reinforce Jill’s wishes to support youth in foster care, and her legacy will be honored through the success of our youth and families for years to come.”
We offer immense gratitude to the Hubbard Family who, moved by Jill’s legacy, are strengthening the heart of our community for many years to come.