• MSV

Reflecting on a Life Built on Giving Back


Former MSV Board Chairperson and Chief Financial Officer, Karen Kane, on the St. Vincent de Paul Center playground where so many children spend their summers thanks to her support of the Mission of MSV.

The daughter of Irish immigrants, her dad worked for the CTA and her mother was a housewife. Living on the southside of Chicago, Karen attended St. Ethelreda grammar school and Queen of Peace High School. A quintessential Midwest middle-class family and neighborhood.


One of the constants in her life was her family, school, and parishes’ expectation that helping others was a part of life. “Whether it was giving to the collections in school or helping neighborhood families in need, we were always there for others. We knew that we were fortunate, and we used our gifts to support others when they needed our help.”


After graduating from Northern Illinois University and receiving her CPA certification, Karen joined the Arthur Anderson Accounting firm. At work, community involvement was an expected part of professional life.


Giving through the United Way, working as a precinct captain, or volunteering at her church Karen continued to be involved in her community. “As an accountant, it may surprise you to know that I believe that the best things in life are free. Supporting organizations and volunteering has enriched my life in so many ways. I have made so many friends and brought so much joy into my life, I can’t imagine not reaching out to help others.”


During a fateful phone call with her aunt, Sr. Louise Landers, D.C., Sr. Louise encouraged her to get involved with Marillac St. Vincent Family Services.


After talking with Sr. Katie Norris, Marillac St. Vincent President and CEO, Karen was hooked. She joined the Associate Board and co-chaired their first Casino Night. With Dan Walsh, Fred Hogan, Denny Banner, Maureen O’Brien, Lynn Penrith, Lynn Siegel, and many others they held events, raised needed funds, and volunteered for many years. “My aunt, Sr. Louise, opened the door to MSV but, the people and programs kept me coming back year after year.”

"For me, the Early Childhood Education programs were always impressive and impactful on the children and families.” - Karen Kane

Karen transitioned to the Marillac St. Vincent Board of Trustees and served faithfully on the Finance Committee.


After a fruitful accounting career, including a stint as the CFO for MSV, Karen reflected on the things that truly enamored her to Marillac St. Vincent.


“First, you have to love the mission to serve the those in need. For me, the Early Childhood Education programs were always impressive and impactful on the children and families.”

“Second, the fact that MSV has been around since 1914 is awesome. That kind of longevity and the evolution of the programs over time shows strong, thoughtful leadership.”


“Finally, having the Daughters of Charity as sponsors means a great deal to me – especially my memories of my late aunt, Sr. Louise.”


Karen’s next step was becoming part of Marillac St. Vincent’s planned giving society, the Vincentian Circle. By choosing to remember MSV in her estate plans, Karen is still helping others. Her thoughtful planning will ensure that the programs she loves, and cares about can continue to help others for generations to come.


“It truly makes me happy to know that after my passing, my wishes for my estate will make a difference to those served by Marillac St. Vincent. My life has been a happy life, and I am so proud to have had an impact on my neighbors and city.”


If you want to make an impact on your neighbors and city for generations, visit msvplannedgiving.org to learn about the estate planning process.


Planning for the future is critical. To receive a FREE Personal Inventory and Planning Guide, contact Daniel Summins, MSV Director of Development, at (312) 278 - 4220 or dan@marillacstvincent.org.

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