Members of Our Board
Our board gives We Grow Dreams the guidance and support that it needs in order to continue to be successful. They work very hard to make the concept of We Grow Dreams and our mission known for the world to see.
Donna F. Jarmusz
Board of Directors
As the founder and president of IBIS Enterprises, a national facility development company specializing in turnkey medically based health and wellness destinations and creating healthier communities, Donna Jarmusz brings a successful track record of corporate and healthcare business development, marketing and strategic planning experience.
Jarmusz has developed numerous projects including ambulatory care centers; hospital-physician organizations; centers of excellence in cardiology, oncology and orthopedics; over a dozen wellness centers; medical office buildings; rehabilitation centers; and physician practice management services utilizing her expertise in business development, strategic planning, marketing, sales and operations.
Donna previously served as Vice President of Business Development for Edward Health Services in Naperville, IL, where she was responsible for the establishment of the business development division comprised of seven distinct entities to support a 350-bed acute care hospital, 90-bed psychiatric facility, and numerous outpatient sites. She directed a staff of 300 while managing a $5 million budget.
When Justin, her son with disabilities, was in high school, Jarmusz began researching establishing a business to train and employ young adults with disabilities regardless of their abilities/disabilities. The dream was a business where there would be a place for everyone to feel welcome and experience a sense of accomplishment. A local family-owned greenhouse and garden center was for sale and the seeds were planted for the establishment of We Grow Dreams.
In 2004, the Jarmusz family with two other families founded We Grow Dreams, Inc. a West Chicago not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation, which owns and operates the We Grow Dreams Greenhouse & Garden Center. Open year-round to the public, the Center provides job training and paid employment opportunities to young adults with disabilities.
Jarmusz earned a Masters degree from Boston College and a Bachelor’s degree from Marquette University.
She is an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE); the American Hospital Association – Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development, Medical Fitness Association and the Medical Group Management Association and a Special Olympics volunteer.
Board of Directors
Karen is a retired actuary. She spent 30 years working in Property and Casualty Insurance, specializing in Reinsurance Pricing. Since retiring from GE Reinsurance and the end of 2006, she has been active with a number of volunteer activities, most of which involve gardening and sustainability. She chairs the Green Team at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Elmhurst Cool Cities Coalition. She has run a Green Garden Fair for the church for the last five years and served in a variety of Board member positions there. Karen has been a U of I Extension Master Gardener since 2009. She began volunteering at We Grow Dreams that same year, helping out in the greenhouse where ever needed and on the planning committee for the annual Bowlathon. Since 2015, she has been working at We Grow Dreams with a group of volunteers from the U of I Extension Master Gardeners’ program. They provide gardening expertise and guidance to team members from the Transition Programs at District 200 and District 95 schools who work at the greenhouse during the school year. During the summer, the volunteers work with team members in 12 raised beds on the greenhouse property, where they have grown hundreds of pounds of food for the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
Karen’s husband Don is also an avid gardener and can occassionally be found planting seedlings or doing other chores at WGD. Don and Karen enthusiastically support the We Grow Dreams mission, having experienced the same challenges as team members’ families with Don’s brother, who lives in a group home and attends a sheltered workshop in the southern suburbs.
Board of Directors
When WGD opened, Billy was 18 and in transition. I was working full-time. So we started on Saturday mornings, with the intention of the school district taking over my position, once he was used to the work. My thinking was too out-of-the-box for our district and they never assisted. So, Saturday mornings at the greenhouse became our routine. Year, after year, after year. Billy has much better gross-motor skills than fine-motor and Gregg knows just how best to use those skills every week. Billy looks forward to coming to the greenhouse, has made many friends there, and enjoys the movies his paycheck buys him!
Now, at 33, Billy is living in his own home and his staff is being trained to replace me. Still on Saturday morning, though. This has been slowed due to COVID-19, but is progressing and in his plan-of-care. My hope is that he will be able to continue to contribute to We Grow Dreams past me.
Gregg Bettcher is a five year veteran as director of We Grow Dreams. His life’s work until joining the greenhouse was in industrial sales covering the Midwest territory for manufacturers of engineered components. His wife Gail is retired from WDSRA and is a valued volunteer and employee at We Grow Dreams.