Brenda Krause Eheart, '62

Yearbook image of Brenda Eheart
Current image of Brenda Eheart

Frustrated by the morass of foster care for special-needs children, Brenda took extraordinary steps and achieved extraordinary results. Using $1 million in grant and other money, she purchased Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois, a decommisssioned military site, in 1994, turning it into Generations of Hope, a program combining hard-to-place foster children, willing families to care for them, and senior citizen volunteers who want young people in their lives. Much of this was modeled on the sense of community she carried with her from her youth in Basom. Brenda and her program have won Presidential recognition, and widespread attention from such media as Ms. Magazine (January 1997 "Women of the Year" issue), a front page New York Times story, Oprah Winfrey, network television news, and dozens of other publications and television shows. A research faculty member at University of Illinois, Dr. Eheart has written two books and more than 30 articles on adoption, orphans, and evolving family structures. But in a world in which numerous people propose solutions to problems yet few ever test their theories, Brenda went out and found a solution, labored hard to make it work - and succeeded.