Connections to Care (formerly Escorted Transportation Service) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2006 with the sole goal of providing reliable, volunteer-based, accompanied transportation for the older adults in our community to get to their crucial medical and dental appointments.

Our Annual Report covering what we achieved in 2023 is now available here.

We are so proud of our organization and its history. Enjoy a few highlights from our years in service.


  • Connections to Care is awarded “Non-profit Organization of the Year” by the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of our work in the community.


  • The Board established the Pat Champion award to honor outstanding administrative / fundraising volunteer service. Pat Champion was a Connections to Care Board member from 2020 until her untimely passing in 2023: she is remembered for her can-do spirit, kindness, and enthusiasm.


  • Char Padovani is selected by the board to become the new Executive Director of Connections to Care.
  • We provided our 35,000th ride in October 2022


  • The Board of Directors make the bold decision to change the organization’s name to Connections to Care. This new name and brand capture the true essence of our program. It is more than a ride. It is a connection.


  • Provided our 30,000th ride


  • 10 year anniversary celebration with many activities
  • Volunteer thank you party
  • Display at Arlington Heights Public Library
  • Local fundraiser
  • Riding in the Arlington Heights 4th of July parade


  • The 15,000th ride was provided
  • Founder retired after 7 years with the organization


  • First Executive Director hired


  • First full Board of Director’s Meeting
  • Moved offices to the Arlington Heights Senior Center
  • Received major funding from The Retirement Research Foundation (now RRF Foundation on Aging)
  • Gave 1,861 round-trip rides in first full year of operations


  • A similar program was discontinued in the community
  • The founders knew the concept was too valuable to lose and created the non-profit organization Escorted Transportation Service
  • We opened our doors on September 1
  • We provided 400 round-trip rides in just 4 months

None of the Connections to Care successes would be possible without the wonderful volunteers, funders and donors throughout the years. We owe our deepest gratitude to every single one of you. THANK YOU.

Here’s to the coming years of service …

Board of Directors

Andy Schmitz, President

Linda Smith, Vice-President

Patti Kozlowski, Secretary

Gary LaBedz, Treasurer

Bob Lattanzio, Member

Brian Reynolds, Member

Pat Ahern, Member

Rafal Piontkowski, Member

Robin Ward, Member


Char Padovani, Executive Director

Amy Gall, Director, Program & Operations

The following companies, organizations and government entities provided generous donations or grants to Connections to Care in 2023, thus supporting our efforts in the community.

We are very grateful for their support. Please click through to visit their websites and learn more about them.

Wheeling Township

$1,000 – $14,999
Arlington Heights Community Development Block Group
Arlington Heights Senior Center, Inc
Elk Grove Township
ITN America
Lions of Arlington Heights
Luther Village Spiritual Foundation
Mount Prospect Community Development Block Group
Mount Prospect Lions Club
Northwest Community Hospital Foundation
Palatine Township
Rotary Club of Schaumburg/Hoffman Estates
Rotary Club of Wheeling
Schaumburg Township
Webb Foundation

To $999
50’s Plus Group-Immanuel Lutheran
ACE Hardware Des Plaines
ACE Hardware Arlington Heights
Drost Kivlahan McMahon & O’Connor
Egg Harbor Café
Equitable Insurance
First Advantage
Flaherty Jewelers
Hey Nonny
Kilwins Chocolate, Fudge & Ice Cream
Knights of Columbus Arlington Heights
Northwest Auto Wash
Palatine Jaycees
Rotary Club of Arlington Heights
Rotary Club of Buffalo Grove
Rotary Club of Palatine
Rotary Club of River Cities
Scratch Board Kitchen
St James Catholic Church
State Farm Insurance
Trader Joe’s Arlington Heights
Village Bank & Trust
Wintrust Financial
Pat Ahern
Bob Lattanzio
Arpine Mikayelyan
Linda Smith

In Kind Donations
Rick & Kathy Pfleeger

We want to thank the following individuals for their donations to Connections to Care during our 2023 Annual Appeal campaign. Every dollar is greatly appreciated and will ensure that we can continue to make a connection with the older adults in our community while providing a ride to their important medical/dental appointments.

$10,000 +
Anonymous (our Annual Appeal Match Partner)

Anonymous (1)
Clark Baird Smith
James & Catherine Liggett
Linda Smith

Anonymous (3)
Gloria Amling
Bill & Sue Grandt
Patti Kozlowski
Jean Machado
Bob & Gail Mathein
Janet & Cliff Nelson
Andrew Schmitz
William Stoecker
Billie Tucker

$250 – $499
Anonymous (1)
Patricia Ahern
Ann Anderson
Lillian Kochanski
Gary LaBedz
Joan Libner
Lloyd Miller
George & Cathy Ostendorf
Ken Overholt
Bob & Marcia Paddock
James Platt
Daniel Ruane
Joseph Ruane
Francis Wren

$100 – $249
Anonymous (3)
Jim Amling
Jan Anderko
Peggy Babler
Pat Barrett
Bob Bellock
Mary & Rosemary Benz
Jerri Bisantz
Linda Borst
Patricia Brennan
Karen Brucks
Susan Daniels
Bill Danielson
Helen Danielson
John Davis
Helen Dawley
Kathleen (Kay) Dodge
Jeanette Domek
Laura Fuhrman
Deborah Guerino
Shirley Hackler
Bill Hanson
Josephine Harden
Kathy Kasprowicz
Lawrence Kengott
Lee Koenig
Thomas Kovacs
Bob & Dee Lattanzio
Robert & Nancy Lincoln
Emily Luerssen
Arlene Malachuk
McGluin, LLC
Mary Morley
Marjorie Nachowicz
Joe Nagy
Jennifer Naylor
Sandra Polanski
Joann Poplar
Barbara Robinson
Judy Rogers
Gregg Schreiber
Judith Schreiber
Laurence Sophian
Michael Steinberg
Gary Takahashi
Jo Ann Vais
Christa Wells

To $100
Over 120 additional donors

So many amazing individual donors! Thank you.

“This is truly a tremendous organization. I’ve always been impressed with everything Connections to Care does. Very professional in its approach to everything. After close to four years I still feel enthused and fully committed.”
“I am 92 years young and live alone in a HUD building. Connections to Care has been a God sent to me. I love (Connections to Care Program Director) and don’t know what I would do without her. She is so very patient with me. Every single driver has been wonderful to me.”

Do You Have the Drive to Help?

You can make a difference in the lives of older adults of Northwest Suburban Chicago