Jill McWilliams, director of foundation and government relations at Elmhurst College, was honored as a recipient of the first 50@50 Illinois Award from AARP Illinois and Crain’s Custom Media.
McWilliams was recognized for her work in nonprofits and philanthropy. She is responsible for raising funds from foundations, corporations and government sources to enhance programs and services at the College. She joined the College’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations in 2003, and earned a master’s degree in English Studies from Elmhurst in 2008.
The award honors Illinois residents over 50 who make a difference in their communities and also challenge outdated beliefs about aging. The 50 honorees were nominated by their peers and selected by AARP for their work in nonprofits as well as arts and culture, business, community building and disruption.
In addition to her work at Elmhurst, McWilliams has volunteered for a number of causes. She is a member of the West Suburban Philanthropic Network board and editor of the organization’s newsletter. She also is a member of the DuPage Foundation’s Next Generation Initiative, which promotes philanthropy, service and volunteerism. From 2011 to 2015 she served as a trustee of the Helen M. Plum Memorial Public Library District in Lombard. She founded the library’s foundation and serves on the board as immediate past president.
McWilliams said she got involved in community organizations as an extension of her position at the College. “A door opened to the world of nonprofits,” she recalled. “I met a lot of good people doing good work with a lot of passion and desire.”
In a sweet turn of events, McWilliams also recently landed a grant that enabled the College to begin an educational beekeeping program.
McWilliams plans to pursue an Elmhurst MBA in the spring. Crain’s noted that McWilliams “takes a mindful approach to giving back to the community and living a well-rounded life.”