Insights: Chicago | Community | Fall 2017

Easterseals Chicago: non-profit partnership and support

How Easterseals Chicago provides lifelong support for individuals with disabilities

Easter Seals girl at computer

Although Easterseals serving Chicagoland & Rockford has been part of its community since 1936, its nonprofit mission has had to evolve to stay relevant with the needs, challenges and opportunities individuals with disabilities and their loved ones face in a modern world.

“We are driven to change the way the world views disability through a 21st century lens to include social, emotional, intellectual and physical development,” says Director of Communications Kelly Anne Ohde.

What Easterseals does

Part of the broader Easterseals network, Easterseals serving Chicagoland & Rockford offers 20 programs designed to support children and adults living with disabilities, from early childhood programs to early detection and interventions, employment training and programs that help clients build the skills and access the resources they need to become successful members of the community.

“We serve 33,000 clients annually and have 10 locations throughout Chicagoland and Rockford,” Ohde says.

How its people help

Easterseals tailors its programming and outreach to the variety of populations it serves, Ohde says. For example, “Head Start and Early Head Start families can be very hard to reach because they may not have access to a computer. We try to find them in the community and connect with them,” she says. The nonprofit also partners with local school districts and organizations to connect with families that may qualify for Easterseals programs.

Adults have access to a variety of services and support and work with the organization to create individualized plans to meet their needs.

“We are driven to change the way the world views disability through a 21st century lens.”
— Kelly Anne Ohde, Director of Communications, Easterseals serving Chicagoland & Rockford

Huntington supports Easterseals through representation on its board, charitable support, event sponsorship and financial services, which Ohde says helps Easterseals deliver on its mission.

“We are the leader in working with people in disabilities,” she says. “We have great support from the businesses and families in our community. Huntington is a key partner in helping us provide these critical services to the people of Chicagoland and Rockford.”

How you can help

To get involved or learn about Easterseals fundraising events, visit

About the organization

  • Name: Easterseals Serving Chicagoland & Rockford
  • Website:
  • City: Chicago
  • Phone: (312) 491-4110
  • Mission: To change the way the world defines and views disabilities by making profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day