Service Spotlight: Mothers Trust Foundation

Barbara Monsor, founder of Lake Forest’s Mothers Trust Foundation.
Photo by Robin Subar, originally published in Forest & Bluff Magazine, May 2017.

Each year leading up to Mother’s Day, Lake Forest’s Mothers Trust Foundation hosts a summer camp fundraising campaign. But given the current corona climate and the chance there might not be camps this summer, this life-changing organization has something else in mind.

Mothers Trust Foundation Executive Director Paula Turelli

“Since it’s unlikely there will he summer camps this year,  we’re holding a ‘donate in honor of your mom or a mom you love’ fundraiser to support a mother working hard to give her kids a good life,” says Mothers Trust executive director Paula Turelli. “More than 75% of our requests last year came from single-mom households. This pandemic has put these families in such a tough place. We really need funding.”

Mothers Trust was founded in 1998 by Barbara Monsor after witnessing firsthand how a seemingly small amount of assistance can change a child’s life. Her idea was simple—to connect people in desperate situations with those who want to provide assistance.

“I knew when I moved to Lake Forest that this was the kind of town that would respond to an organization like Mothers Trust,” Monsor has said. “My friends were so supportive. They were very interested in what I was doing and that made me confident that this could work.”

At its core, Mothers Trust Foundation fills in financial gaps for children from birth to age 21, in turn providing hope, building confidence, and making a positive difference in young people’s lives. “It was important to me that we help the children in need—not necessarily the families,” Barbara said. “Kids, even those less fortunate, are kids with possibilities. I wanted Mothers Trust to help them realize their potential.”

Before we were all quarantined at home, a group of Mothers Trust volunteers would meet weekly to review grant requests and vote on whether or not a grant should be made. It was always important to Barbara that decisions be made impartially. However today, to ensure that needs aren’t falling through the cracks, Paula and her service manager Karla Patlovich talk weekly and review grants using the emergency guidelines in place. (Mothers Trust has special rules in their bylaws so that they can issue grants in crisis situations.)

When a grant is approved, the check is cut within 24-48 hours. Grant requests range from something as small as eyeglass frames to something as significant as money to cover health care costs. Since its inception, Mothers Trust Foundation has assisted more than 37,000 children with nearly $3 million in grants.

Asked why she decided to call the organization she founded “Mothers Trust Foundation,” Barbara said, “The notion of ‘mothering’ is at the very core of what Mothers Trust tries to accomplish,” herself a mother of six and grandmother to eight. “The name sends a message of affection, responsibility, and accountability. A big part of this in my mind is that you’re accountable to your mother.”

If you’d like to make a donation this Mother’s Day in honor of a mom in your life, click here. You can download a card from Mothers Trust and let this special person know that have made a gift on their behalf.

To learn more about Mothers Trust Foundation’s work in Lake County, visit

My name is Ann Marie Scheidler and I'm thrilled you've decided to check out my blog. I'm a pearl-loving yogi with a thing for travel, a weakness for beautiful bags, and a passion for storytelling. In this space, I'll be sharing stories about my family, go-to recipes, my wellness journey, fashion and beauty favorites, and my love for Chicago’s North Shore. I find new inspiration wherever I go. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride!


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