Children's Legacy Luncheon Celebrates Movers and Shakers

Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Now in its 16th year, the Children’s Legacy Luncheon has a new organizer but a continued commitment to honoring Chippewa Valley residents who work tirelessly in the community to improve the lives of children. This year’s honorees include teachers, philanthropists, volunteers, and nonprofit leaders, as well as the event’s founders.

The luncheon will be 11am-1pm Thursday, June 1, at Florian Gardens, 2340 Lorch Ave., Eau Claire. Beginning this year, the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire has stepped in to oversee the longstanding event, which exists to “recognize individuals who have made a positive and long-lasting contribution to the lives of children in the Chippewa Valley through their innovative work, leadership, volunteerism, or philanthropy.” Since 2010, the Eau Claire Community Foundation has presented the event. Now, under the leadership of the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the museum’s Play Forever Endowment Fund.

“At the Children’s Museum, we are honored to impact the lives of children and their families every day through our exhibits and programs,” said Mike McHorney, the museum’s executive director. “We know firsthand the difference that an individual can make in the life of a child, and the Children’s Museum is grateful to serve in a leadership capacity to keep this annual event a Chippewa Valley tradition for years to come.”

Five people will be honored with the Outstanding Achievement Award for 2017

Jason Collins

Language arts teacher for the Menomonie School District who founded the After School Literature Club and is a volunteer musician for nonprofits.

Mary Jacobson

Founder of McDonell Catholic Schools Student Ambassador Program, as well as a community volunteer and philanthropist.

Tim Olson

Board president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin, board member of Boy Scouts of America-Chippewa Valley Council, volunteer and past co-chairperson of the Chippewa Valley Air Show, and philanthropist.

Blia Schwahn

Advocate for Hmong children, Hmong American Peem Tsheej Club advisor, and school/community liaison for the Eau Claire Area School District.

Tammy Tillotson

President of International Dyslexia Association-Wisconsin, director of Children’s Dyslexia Center of Upper Wisconsin, and advocate and nonprofit leader.

These Outstanding Achievement Award honorees will receive a unique gift: Each will have the ability to award $500 to the nonprofit group of their choice.

This year’s luncheon also will honor the event’s founders, Patty Horecki and Helen Nordstrom, with the newly-created Legacy Award, which will be named in the honor. Beginning next year, the Legacy Award will be given to those “who’ve made a long-lasting legacy in this community through their work in addressing important community needs or issues,” McHorney said.

Tickets to the luncheon are $40 each, while a table can be sponsored for $500. They can be purchased online at

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