Above / The tribute at the entrance of Naper Settlement recognizes individuals of Naperville Heritage Society back in 1969 who inspired and welcomed dedicated volunteer contributors such as Sally Pentecost for their future roles in helping Naperville share its story. 

Sally Pentecost

The Naperville Heritage Society is excited to announce that Sally Pentecost, the board’s Immediate Past Chair, has been awarded the West Suburban Philanthropic Network 2017 Philanthropic Leadership Award for her visionary guidance and dedication to the community. Awarded annually, WSPN honors individuals, foundations and corporations for their humanitarian leadership. With an array of experience in formal education and 16 years on the NHS board, Pentecost has worked diligently to better the educational and cultural sectors in the western suburbs.

“Sally oversaw the largest transformation, in vision and in leadership, that Naper Settlement has ever experienced,” said Naperville Heritage Society’s Board Chair, John Koranda. “Not only has she been a great mentor to me, but she is known for being incredibly thoughtful and receptive to everyone she works with. Her educational background and guidance has helped the institution progress and remain relevant within the City.”

With a background stretching almost four decades in formal education, Pentecost has served as a teacher, principal, education consultant, workshop facilitator and administrative leader in area school districts including Naperville Community Unit School District 203, Valley View Community Unit School District 365 and Community Consolidated School District 146 in Tinley Park. Known for her strong, but approachable style as Principal at Madison Junior High School in Naperville, Pentecost transitioned after retirement in 2002 into a student-advocate and expulsion hearing officer for the Naperville and DeKalb school districts, a role she continues today.

Looking to benefit the broader community by sharing her passion for education and history, Pentecost joined the Naperville Heritage Society Board in 2001. Since then, Pentecost has held a variety of positions, including Assistant Treasurer, Vice Chair, Chair and currently as the Immediate Past Chair.

Longtime farm-family member Joe Modaff and Sally Pentecost supported the Barn Raising Benefit.

“Sally was instrumental in setting the course in the transformation and forward movement experienced at Naper Settlement,” said Naper Settlement’s CEO & President, Macarena Tamayo-Calabrese. “She not only led the vision for how to best serve our community in the 21st century, but she recognized the necessary steps in elevating our institution. Sally was the right leader at the right time, and her guidance as I took the helm was indispensable.”

Pentecost’s imprint on the institution’s growth is notable. With her directed focus on early learning at Naper Settlement, Pentecost helped to open the Rita (Fredenhagen) and John Harvard Early Learning Playscape in 2014. Pentecost also helped to guide the vision for the 2016 launch of Never Settle, a capital campaign. The campaign will deliver a true cultural campus for our city.

Most recently, Pentecost assisted in hosting the largest fundraising event in Naperville Heritage Society history, the Barn Raising Benefit. In support of Naper Settlement’s Agricultural Interpretive Center, Pentecost’s leadership helped to raise $250,000 in addition to commitments of nine leadership campaign gifts.

Among many other accomplishments, Pentecost has been the quiet but powerful force behind the institutional planning and the philanthropic advancement that have led to dramatic growth of Naper Settlement. Pentecost is deeply honored by the award and recognizes the volunteers she believes are critical in carrying on the values of Naper Settlement.

“I am certainly humbled by the recognition,” said Pentecost. “Telling our community’s story is important because it values education, honors its growing diversity, fosters economic growth and celebrates our cultural richness. I am honored to represent all the volunteers who give so richly of themselves and join the Naper Settlement staff to tell the narrative of our city.”

Story submitted by Emma Vodick for Naper Settlement and the Naperville Heritage Society.

Editor’s Note: The West Suburban Philanthropic Network (WSPN) will recognize the 2017 honorees at the 15th Annual Philanthropy Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, May 23 at Embassy Suites, 1823 Abriter Court in Naperville.

According to event organizers, WSPN annually recognizes individuals and organizations who, through their generous donations of funding, leadership and time, have done so much to enrich the more than 8,000 nonprofits working throughout the western Chicago suburbs—nonprofits that aim to make a difference in areas such as education, healthcare, arts and culture, social services, the environment, religion and so many others that enhance the quality of life throughout our communities.

Honorees for 2017

Philanthropists of the Year, Nancy Hamill Winter (Stockton, Ill.) and Elizabeth Hamill Bramsen (Barrington Hills)

Philanthropic Leadership Award, Sally Pentecost (Naperville) 

Humanitarian of the Year, Rich Dickson (Carol Stream)

Nonprofit Executive of the Year, Kay McKeen, executive director of SCARCE (Glen Ellyn)

Foundation Philanthropic Award, Ronald L. McDaniel Foundation (Burr Ridge)

Service Club Philanthropic Award, Naperville Noon Lions (Naperville) 

Grantmaker of the Year, Kristin Carlson Vogen of Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation (Oak Park)

Nonprofit Volunteer of the Year, Theodore E. Lind (Woodstock)

Young Philanthropist Award, Rebecca Vogt (Elmhurst)

WSPN Distinguished Service Award, Ann E. Spehar (Aurora)