Giving for What Matters by Jane Ilgen

I believe that our lives matter. We are put on this earth to help to make the lives of all of those in our communities richer and more fulfilling. Education and educational opportunity are fundamental to this mission. Much of my working life and my chosen volunteer activities have been devoted to educational opportunities for children, children in Madison communities and children across the country and around the world. Education affirms that children’s lives matter.

From an early age, I was attracted to working with young children. I earned a college degree in Elementary Education and spent years teaching in both elementary schools and in pre-school educational settings. I taught children from low-income neighborhoods, children of international students, and the youngsters of military families that had been posted abroad. Later, I took a position charged with supporting childcare facilities throughout the state of Wisconsin. Through these experiences, I became an advocate for early education and improved childcare services with others lobbying the state legislature.

I am particularly concerned at this time that we affirm through our actions that the lives of African American children matter. In this spirit, I am committed to a project that will make a contribution to the lives of African American children in Madison, a sustainable project that will grow and blossom through the work of like-minded community members when my contributions come to an end.

Working with Orchard Ridge UCC and the Wisconsin Foundation UCC, I created the Jane Ilgen Literacy Fund. The endowment fund will provide annual support to Orchard Ridge UCC to use in support of literacy projects for African American children in the greater Madison area. Contributing to the educational uplift of African Americans and the missional support of my local congregation helps me to affirm that my life has mattered.

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