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Donor Spotlight

Donor Spotlight - Liautaud Family Foundation
By Angie Hatfield Marker, Director of Development and Communications 

Camp Jackpine:  A Happy Place to Play

The Liautaud Family Foundation was established in December 2016 by Jimmy John’s owner, founder and Chairman Jimmy John Liautaud, and his wife Leslie Liautaud. In January 2017, the Liautaud Family Foundation made its first-ever donation to Crisis Nursery. Their $200,000 donation, along with another $100,000 donation from Dan and Rhonda Proctor completed fundraising for the Nursery’s recent $1.9 million capital campaign for building expansion.

Jimmy John Liautaud founded Jimmy John’s in 1983 in Charleston, Illinois. His sandwich company is one of the fastest growing franchises in the U.S. with more than 2,600 stores in 43 states.

Jimmy John Liautaud loves to share the love. The sandwich-maker and his family have donated millions of dollars to help people in our community over the years—supporting health and wellness, the military, education initiatives and the arts. And now they’re helping prevent child abuse and neglect with their most recent donation to Crisis Nursery.

“It’s such a blessing and a gift to be able to help,” said Leslie Liautaud. “To me, that’s what ‘community’ is all about. We’re there to lend each other a helping hand when needed. And I’m so grateful Crisis Nursery is a part of the Champaign community.”

The Liautaud Family Foundation stepped in at a critical time to help the Nursery complete payments for the construction of our newly expanded building. Once fully staffed, the building expansion will allow the Nursery to increase capacity from 12 to 18 children. 

“Leslie and I have three beautiful children,” Jimmy John said. “Family is everything to us, so when I got the call about Crisis Nursery, Leslie and I said, ‘We’re in!’ Boom, the deal was done. Life can get tough for folks and sometimes people need some help. Crisis Nursery provides that help to keep families together.”

The Nursery’s building project, completed last summer, includes new bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and new indoor and outdoor play areas. The largest indoor play area will be named Camp Jackpine, a name selected by the Liautaud Family Foundation.

Camp Jackpine is also a property out-of-state where the Liautauds spend quality time with family and friends.

“Camp Jackpine is my happy place,” Jimmy John said. “And the indoor space at the Nursery is such a big, happy safe place for kids to play so it just seemed like the perfect name.”

Thanks to the Liautaud Family Foundation’s gift, and other generous community donations, the Nursery can now direct fundraising efforts toward hiring and training more staff to serve more children and families in our community and reduce incidences of turning away families. We look forward to increasing and sustaining the quality of care we provide the community in our newly expanded space.

It’s a new day at Crisis Nursery. We have the space. Now we need your help staffing our programs and services. Consider a gift to the Nursery to help us sustain the quality of care we provide children and families in our community. Giving is easy. Click on Make a Donation under Giving Opportunities at or call Angie Hatfield Marker at (217) 337-2731 for more information. YOU can help Crisis Nursery say “YES” to more children and families in need.

Special Recognition

Volunteer Spotlight - Peggy Gates-Wieneke
By Kristen Bosch, Development & Marketing Director

Crisis Nursery celebrates National Volunteer Week from April 6–12. The Nursery relies on over 150 volunteers per week, including Peggy Gates-Wieneke, who celebrated her 20 year volunteer anniversary in March. Here’s Peggy’s story.

You’d think Peggy was a staff member as often as she’s at the Nursery. It doesn't matter if it’s 7am, 11pm or any point in between, chances are you’ll find her rocking a baby, changing a diaper, preparing a snack or taking out the garbage. 

Peggy started volunteering at Crisis Nursery in 1994 and quickly became a favorite of both the kids and staff. She is always up for any task and can be counted on to volunteer at a moment’s notice. But,her favorite volunteer duty? “There is no contest...rocking babies!”

While volunteering with the kids keeps her coming back two decades later, Peggy assumed another role from 1997-2003 when she joined the Crisis Nursery Board of Directors. She continued to volunteer with the children on a weekly basis but also gave of her time as a board member. She was the board secretary for three terms and also co-chaired the Nursery’s Holiday Shop in 2001, helping to raise nearly $30,000 at the annual event. “I had 2 reasons for volunteering at the Nursery. First, I love babies and was not able to have my own, so I was seeking a place where I could rock babies and play with toddlers. Second, I was looking for a way to become more involved in the community. The Crisis Nursery was the perfect answer.”

Much has changed since she started at Crisis Nursery in the mid-nineties—our program statistics have nearly doubled; we welcomed a new Executive Director in 2008; new services and collaborations have been added. But there are still common misconceptions about our work that persist since Peggy’s early years at the Nursery. 

“It is important for the community to know that we are not simply a babysitting service,” she said. “It’s also important to know that our services are for ANYONE in the community. We serve parents from all walks of life and all services are confidential.

“The staff and volunteers work very hard to help families become the best and healthiest families they can be. It is also really important that we have volunteers who are permanent, local community members. The U of I and Parkland students who volunteer are great, but we need volunteers who will be available consistently throughout the year.”

So, what keeps her coming back twenty years later?

“I still love rocking babies and hanging out with the little ones. But, more than anything, I see, day after day, that it is critical for these little guys and gals to have someone who will care about them unconditionally.”

Now’s the perfect time to start volunteering at Crisis Nursery! Maybe you only want to volunteer a few months of the year? We're desperate for volunteers in December, May, June and July. Don't want to commit to a weekly shift? Consider our 'share a shift' option where you share the same time each week with a group so you only volunteer once or twice a month.

Long story short, we're willing to work with you. Crisis Nursery is a great place to volunteer and while the process may seem lengthy, from paperwork to fingerprinting to training, the payoff is worthwhile. Keeping kids safe and making them feel loved - doesn't get much better than that! Stop by for a tour, email or call 337-2731 and we'll answer all your questions.