Honoring Colleen Gleason

The Junior League of Chicago is pleased to announce that the Community Spirit Award—recognizing a member who goes above and beyond in her commitment to the JLC mission in the community—has been renamed the Colleen Gleason Community Spirit Award to honor JLC member Colleen Gleason, who passed away in 2020.

The Award

The Community Spirit Award is awarded each Spring to a member who demonstrates her passion for helping others and represents the JLC as an organization that makes a difference in the Chicago community.

The JLC leadership chose to rename the award in Colleen’s name based on her commitment to giving back and her example for other members.

“Colleen embodied the League’s values of camaraderie, community service, and respect to all. This award will keep her memory alive while honoring other outstanding JLC members,” JLC President Melissa Schumacher said.

About Colleen

Colleen Gleason was a dedicated member of the JLC who tragically passed away in July 2020 after a life-long battle with heart problems. Colleen was born with heart failure and received her first heart transplant at three years old. Despite these challenges, she did not let her health difficulties hold her back and lived a whole life: graduating college, traveling abroad, and even skydiving, all while maintaining a positive and generous spirit.

Colleen’s Legacy

In her memory, Colleen’s parents, Christine and Michael, created the non-profit organization Colleen Cares to continue Colleen’s philanthropic mission. Through Colleen Cares, the Gleasons generously donated $10,000 to the Junior League of Chicago in the Fall of 2021, supporting the organization to which Colleen dedicated her time and passion.

The JLC is deeply grateful to Christine and Michael and their commitment to continuing their daughter’s mission of giving back and helping others.

The donation will be used to continue the JLC’s work on its signature issues of Meeting Essential Needs, Literacy, and Violence Prevention & Awareness, and Colleen’s memory will live on forever in our hearts.