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5 Questions with Jeff Hayden, WDSRA Foundation

Jeff Hayden (left) steps into the role of WDSRA Foundation Chairman as Elden Brauer (right) steps down. |  Submitted

Jeff Hayden (left) steps into the role of WDSRA Foundation Chairman as Elden Brauer (right) steps down. | Submitted

Jeff Hayden, senior vice president of commercial lending at First Bank & Trust in Naperville, recently took over the reigns of the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association Foundation from outgoing chairman Elden Brauer.

After two years on the board, Hayden’s new leadership position was announced during a board meeting Dec. 10.

Hayden, of Geneva, joined the WDSRA Foundation Board as a trustee in August 2011. Since then he has served as a member and chair of the foundation’s Finance Committee, participated in the foundation’s fundraising efforts, and has been an ambassador for WDSRA.

Brauer, who is a broker/consultant employee benefit plans at Advanced Insurance Partners., has been an active member of the WDSRA Foundation since 1998, although his association with WDSRA began as a consultant in the early ’90s. Over the years, he has participated at the foundation’s fundraisers and served as chairman since 2006. Brauer will continue serving as a trustee.

The WDSRA Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, is the official fundraising arm of the association. It was formed in 1993 to develop long-term programs of giving from individuals, businesses and organizations to further the goals and ideals of the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association. WDSRA provides engaging, community-based recreational programs and inclusion services for children, teens, and adults with special needs.

WDSRA serves more than 4,500 individuals as a cooperative extension of nine park districts serving the communities of Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Roselle, Warrenville, West Chicago, Wheaton and Winfield.

Hayden recently shared why his involvement in WDSRA is so important to him:

Question: Why did you become a trustee?

Answer: “I had been looking to become more involved in the community both as volunteer and as a board member. Over the years, I had gotten to know the WDSRA mission and many members of the team through various events. It was a natural fit for me to offer my time to a group I already knew and to a cause in which I believed.”

Q: What do you see as the primary responsibility of a trustee?

A: “Very broadly, the foundation trustees are a bridge. Our obvious responsibility is to bridge the gap in funding for the wonderful programs provided by WDSRA. Maybe more importantly, we try to bridge the awareness gap between WDSRA and the community. All the trustees have significant personal and professional networks. By leveraging those networks and making everyone aware of the good and vital services of WDSRA, we can expand the association’s reach, and the fundraising will take care of itself.”

Q: What strengths do you bring to the foundation?

“Given my career, I have the financial management, analysis and budgeting skills that are a necessary part of any board’s fiscal responsibility. Being one of the newer and younger members of the board, I can also be a fresh voice or a new viewpoint.”

Q: Three words that describe you:

“Committed, trustworthy, easy-going.”

Q: Three words that describe WDSRA:

“Dedication — the WDSRA staff are some of the most dedicated and caring professionals you’ll ever meet. Talent — despite the challenges faced by many of our participants, the WDSRA programs expose many talents that lie within. Joy — all you have to do is volunteer, attend an event or simply look through the WDSRA program guide and you’ll see joy on the faces of participants, staff, parents and volunteers.

For more information about WDSRA, visit www.wdsra.com.

Courtesy of Western DuPage Special Recreation Association.

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