Started by football legend Walter Payton and his wife, the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation (WCPF) helps thousands of children with economic and social challenges who are involved with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services as well as families who voluntarily contact the organization. The WCPF aims to expand children’s opportunities, boost their self-confidence, and offer them hope and emotional support. The WCPF manages two important, far-reaching programs. Its largest, the Holiday Giving Program, provides gifts for more than 14,000 kids annually.
To drive the program, the WCPF hosts toy drives at schools, libraries, and other community facilities. The WCPF also runs the Back-to-School Supply Drive at the beginning of each school year. In addition to supplying monetary donations, individuals and businesses sponsor volunteer drives to collect a variety of school supplies. Backpacks are then filled with the supplies and distributed to children at the Back-to-School parade held in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Entrepreneur Perry Mandera founded The Custom Companies, Inc., which operates headquarters out of Northlake, Illinois. In addition to sitting on the WCPF board, Mr. Mandera supports a variety of other children’s charities.