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

We want to thank the following individuals for their donations to Connections to Care during our 2022 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.


Mary Ann Hetreed (our Annual Appeal Match Partner)

$600 – $1,000

Anonymous (1)
Jim & Cathy Liggett
Jean Machado
Hugh Parker
Andy Schmitz
Linda Smith
Francis Wren

$250 – $599

Gloria Amling
Ann Anderson
Mark Anderson
Karen Brucks
Patricia Champion
Thomas Grana
Stephen Kohler
Patti Kozlowski
Gary LaBedz
Emily Luerssen
Maureen McNett
Janet and Cliff Nelson
Mr & Mrs George Ostendorf
Marcie and Bob Paddock
Daniel Ruane
Michelle Scherer
Gregg Schreiber
Jenny Tanquary
Sandra Venator Topps

$100 – $249

Anonymous (8)
Jim Amling
Jan Anderko
Adelaida Aragones
Pat Barrett
Bob Bellock
Jerri Bisantz
Laura Charboneau
Virginia Chepell
Gary and Patty Colabuono
Susan Daniels
Helen Danielson
John Davis
Jack & Patricia Devron
Kathleen (Kay) Dodge
Eleanor Doherty
Alice Frank
Mark Furhrman
Tracey Grimm
Karen Hansen
Diana Knemen
Kathy Kasprowicz
Gerald Kellen
Jean Kengott
Verna Lee Koenig
Bill Kozlowski Memorial
Darlene Landers
Cecelia Larson
Robert & Nancy Lincoln
Gary and Haven McClung
Janet Moravec
Mary Morley
Kim Nguyen
Florence Organ
Robert Pease
Sandra Polanski
Joann B Poplar
Barbara Robinson
Joseph Ruane
Judith Schreiber
Nancy Schreiber
Kenneth Schutlz
Jason Seleski
Dorothy Smith
Jim and Mindy Sorensen
Conrad and Connie Sparkowski
Lisa Steinberg
Gary Takahashi
Anita Thomas
Billie Tucker
Christa Wells
Daniel & Julia Woolley

To $100

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