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Board of Directors

Ron Crawford


Ron and his wife, Diane, live only a few blocks from Village Hall, in the second house they have owned in Arlington Heights since moving here in 1977. They have two children, a son Ryan, and a daughter, Andrea. Ron worked for Com Ed for 31 years and retired in 2001. During his career, he worked in 10 different offices for Com Ed, all around the Chicago area. His last job was as Public Affairs Director for the northwest suburbs, a position that involved working with public officials and Chambers of Commerce for 15 communities. In that position, he joined the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce board of directors and served as president in 1997.

Ron is active with the Rotary Club of Arlington Heights and served as its President in 2008-2009. He also started a bicycle donation program through Rotary which donates “gently used” bikes to needy kids and adults. The program has donated more than 1000 bikes over the last six years. Rotary District 6440 selected Ron as the International Service Chair for 2011-2012. A large part of this responsibility is to plan the District’s International Service Trip to Guatemala in January. Next year will be the sixth time that Ron and Diane have traveled to Guatemala to work at a school for Mayan youth in the jungle near the Caribbean.

Bridget Schank

Vice President

If you ask Bridget what she loves most about Arlington Heights she will say, “Hands down, the people.”  That is the main reason she and her husband, Tim, their children, Jack and Gracie, and their golden retriever moved here seven years ago.  Bridget is currently a community activist and volunteer.  Her son had a liver transplant when he has 2, and at that point she decided to stay home full-time.  Before that, Bridget was a lobbyist for the Ounce of Prevention Fund, working heavily on perinatal depression issues and overseeing a statewide campaign to increase funding for early childhood home visiting.  Bridget was a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and a community organizer in Fresno, California and on the south side of Chicago.  She and Tim helped start and run the youth group at Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago for six years.  Bridget received her B.A. in Government from the University of Notre Dame and earned her Master’s in Public Policy from the Harris School at the University of Chicago.  Bridget’s deepest held values, thanks to her parents and grandparents, are to care for those in need and to fight social injustices.  She is active in supporting Arlington Cares, Teen Parent Connection in Glen Ellyn, Lurie Children’s Hospital, and North Star Reach, a camp for children with serious health conditions.  A proud resident of the Pioneer Park neighborhood, Bridget leads the service club at Westgate School, is the PTA’s Legislative Liaison, and helps run the school’s art club.  Bridget is also a first person narrative storyteller performing at shows in Arlington Heights and around Chicago. Bridget has been a Board member since 2019.

Mary Ellen Juarez


Mary Juarez has worked in the Finance Department of the Village of Arlington Heights for over 25 years.  She joined the Arlington Cares Board because she believes it is so important to help residents in their time of need and to give back hope to someone who lost all hope. Helping to change people's lives for the better can have such a lasting impact.  She is very proud to help serve Arlington Heights' residents.

Pastor Randy Thompson

Chaplain - Secretary

Pastor Randy Thompson has been the pastor of Cross and Crown Lutheran Church in Arlington Heights since April, 2001. Cross and Crown reaches out to the community in two significant ways. They have a preschool/daycare called “Kids of the Kingdom” that serves under-resourced families. Also, since May of 2006 they have reached out to the homeless and jobless of the community with a Saturday program called the “Ministry of Hope.” 60-70 guests come for a hot breakfast, hot lunch, a worship service, fellowship, and other services. Pastor Randy lives with his wife, Carol, and daughter, Kira.

Dwight Walton

Founding Member and Director

Dwight and his family have lived in Arlington Heights since 1964. His community activities have included serving on several Village Boards and Commissions, the Metropolis PAC Board, Chairman of Frontier Days and Chairman of the Bicentennial Commission. Dwight served for twenty years as an elected Arlington Heights Village Trustee. He is a founding member of Arlington Cares, NFP, in 2001.

Sharon Swanson


From 2014-2020, Sharon Swanson served as the President of the Board of Directors for Arlington Cares.  Sharon is also the Volunteer Coordinator for the Village of Arlington Heights Senior Center.  She has lived in Arlington Heights for over the thirty years with her husband Paul and their three children. She is deeply dedicated to volunteerism in the community and has personally volunteered in numerous ways including at her church and at her children’s schools.   She joined Arlington Cares because she believes in serving others and helping those in need.  Sharon is very proud to be a resident of Arlington Heights and is honored to support the services  the Village provides to Arlington Heights residents.

Nicole Espinoza

Village Liason

Nicole Espinoza is the Social Services Coordinator for the Village of Arlington Heights and serves as Liaison to the Arlington Cares Board of Directors. Nicole received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Social Welfare and Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also holds a Masters in Social Work with a concentration on International Program Development from Dominican University. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who has been in the Social Services field since 2001. Nicole is a bilingual Spanish-speaking practitioner who works with diverse populations presenting with a myriad of needs and challenges. She has a background working in non-profit organizations, community mental health facilities, municipalities and schools. Additionally, she has international experience working with NGOs in Guatemala and Nicaragua, where she worked with children living on the streets and designed a domestic violence prevention program. Nicole has a deep dedication and passion for serving those in need, increasing equity and reducing poverty. She is excited to be a part of Arlington Cares and is humbled to be able to serve the residents of Arlington Heights.

Nancy J. Cardella


Nancy works for the Village of Arlington Heights in Human Services. In this capacity, she sees the need and the impact that the funds we raise for Arlington Cares has on its residents. She wishes everyone could see the “hope” in our residents faces when we are able to assist them and is excited to work with this committee on fundraising for Arlington Cares. She has been involved in numerous fundraising opportunities with her church and other community organizations. She is a strong believer in the Village’s and our committee’s motto of “Neighbors Helping Neighbors”.

Claudette Nowell-Philipp


Claudette is a 25 year resident of Arlington Heights and joined the Arlington Cares Board in 2018. She cherishes Arlington Heights as a vibrant and caring community. Prior to retirement in 2012, she served as Director of Leadership and Staff Development at the College of American Pathologists. Claudette is an idea person who enjoys using her marketing and organizational expertise to increase community awareness of Arlington Cares and develop fundraising efforts that support Arlington Heights residents in need.

Ray "Buzz" Gross


Senior Citrus Promotions and Marketing Specialist for State of Florida Department of Citrus for over 30 years. Developed and presented marketing, advertising, and promotional programs to all major accounts in 21 Midwest States and Westeren part of Canada. Also developed theme marketing promotions and community relations programs.

Worked for the following sports teams: Cook County Cheetahs Baseball Team, Crestwood, IL, Kenosha Mammoths Baseball Team, Kane County Cougars, Windy City Dawgs Basketball Team, Elgin Racers Basketball Team, and Schaumburg Flyers Baseball Team for over 12 years. Developed and presented marketing, advertising, and promotional programs to all major accounts in the market place. Also, developed theme marketing promotions and community relations programs.

Ray is a member of Faith Lutheran Church for over 50 years. He is the Head Usher, President of the Men's Bowling League, Member of the Men's Club, set-up the altar for Communion every Sunday and also assist on giving communion. Set up the Men's Club baseball outing each year. Past years for the church Ray was Chairman of the Elder Board, Chairman of the Personnel Committee and set-up the men's softball and basketball teams. Also worked on many other committees when needed.

Georgine Voight


All of our Board members volunteer their time to help make Arlington Heights the best community it can be.  They share their time and resources freely to support Arlington Cares and the funds it provides to offer assistance to families who live in Arlington Heights during times of crisis.

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