Leadership Will Continue to Build Organization’s Legacy in Foster Care and Adoption and Activate Program for Children with Special Healthcare Needs
Let It Be Us has appointed Vince Foglia as the organization’s new board chair and also voted five new members to the board of directors. The collective expertise of the new leaders, who join current board members Elizabeth Felice (Secretary) and Doug Locke, will build upon the child welfare organization’s accomplishments and support strategic priorities, including placement of children with special needs.
“Children in foster care are extremely vulnerable, but we have the ability and resources to set them on a path towards a thriving future,” Foglia says. “Let It Be Us is making a measurable difference in the lives of children and families throughout Illinois, and I am honored to serve as the board chair. In partnership with the board and executive director, I aim to further propel the organization forward by focusing on board development, program growth, and strategic partnerships.”
Mr. Foglia is a successful businessman, generous philanthropist, and longtime supporter of Let It Be Us. He served in the United States Navy and earned a BS in Marketing from the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL. Founder of Sage Products, Mr. Foglia is recognized as an innovator in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of prevention products that have improved outcomes for patients and clinicians, while improving efficiency and profitability for healthcare facilities. In 2016, Sage was acquired by Stryker Corporation and today is a business within the Stryker Medical Division.
He provides leadership and support to YMCA organizations, including the Foglia YMCA in Lake Zurich, healthcare facilities, and youth and community programs. Empowering families whose children have Down syndrome, he funds programs offered by GiGi’s Playhouse and also was instrumental in forming the Let It Be Us Special Families Program, which provides foster and adoptive homes for children with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and medical complexities.
Mr. Foglia and his wife, Pat, have been named to the prestigious list of Distinguished Benefactors by the Chicago Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Let It Be Us also has appointed the following new directors to its board:
Vinnie Foglia (Vice Chair) was Vice President of Operations for Sage Products and brings to Let It Be Us experience in strategic planning and change management as well as a decisive leadership style. He serves on the board of directors of the following organizations: Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Neurobalance Center, Recovery Force LLC, Sage YMCA, and Wynstone Golf Club. Additionally, he is an executive board member with the Foglia Family Foundation.
Matt Hower (Treasurer) has held leadership roles, focusing on finance, at several industrial companies. A dedicated volunteer, Mr. Hower is a mentor with Barrington 220 School District’s Business INCubator and serves as treasurer of the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District. He earned a BS in Accountancy from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
Jessica Canning is a marketing advisor to suburban restaurants, The Foxtail and Cadence Kitchen. She has served as co-chair of the “Be Mine” fundraiser benefiting Let It Be Us since its inception and is actively involved with other charities, such as PAWS Chicago. Also, Ms. Canning is the founder and a board member of Second Chance Saddlebreds. She earned a BA from Hamilton College and an MBA from Boston University.
Kaycee Coles is a licensed reading specialist and former teacher. To strengthen her community, she has co-lead an effort to design, build, and fundraise for an inclusive playground project at Countryside Elementary School in Barrington Hills, participates in the Barrington Civic Leaders Program, and is a member of the Barrington Youth Lacrosse Board of Directors. Ms. Coles has served as co-chair of the Let It Be Us “Be Mine” fundraiser.
Carolyne Osterhues and her husband have been licensed foster parents for more than two decades. They have fostered more than 20 children and adopted five. She supports new foster parents and advocates for changes to the foster care system through Let It Be Us recruitment events, media interviews, and guest appearances on the Let It Be Us podcast. Ms. Osterhues has an MS from Marquette University.
Founded in 2014, Let It Be Us focuses on recruiting foster and adoptive parents, matching and placing children in loving homes and supporting youth in foster care who are at risk of aging out of the system without a family or permanent support network. They apply unique innovations to child welfare.
In addition to current initiatives, the board will help support the new Special Families Program for children and teens who are the most challenging to place, including those with special needs. Nearly 50% of children in foster care have or are at risk for physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities and chronic medical conditions, compared to 20% of youth in the broader United States population.
“Children with special developmental and healthcare needs are a priority for us, as we know they require – and deserve – inclusion and connection in order to thrive,” said Let It Be Us founder and executive director, Susan McConnell. “We appreciate Vince Foglia’s passion for our cause, and in particular, for finding permanent homes for children with special needs. We are especially excited about the possibilities our new board members will help us uncover and pursue.”
Let It Be Us recently entered discussions with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to focus efforts on finding placements in homes for children who struggle with deafness and hearing loss.
About Foster Care and Adoption
In Illinois, there are more than 20,000 children in foster care. Compared to other states, Illinois ranks extremely low in both permanency and in providing adoption for waiting children. Lack of permanency, whether a child can return home or achieve adoption into a new family, significantly increases a child’s chance of aging out of the system alone, putting them at an increased risk of experiencing homelessness and prison, and less likely to continue schooling.
About Let It Be Us
Headquartered in Barrington and founded in 2014, Let It Be Us is a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the landscape of foster care and adoption in Illinois. Its mission is to inspire engagement with the foster care system through programs that build strong and innovative bridges between Illinois’ waiting children and foster and adoptive parents, so more children grow up in stable, healthy homes. Let It Be Us envisions a future in which our most vulnerable children have the opportunities and resources they need which can best be met by belonging in a family. For more information about Let It Be Us, visit LetitBeUs.org.