Updated: Apr 25
John Sonderegger's daily mission is to help others make the most of their lives. His work with Faith Community Homes illustrates this philosophy of giving and serving.
John Sonderegger is making the most of life and his daily mission is to help others do the same. For decades he has taken on volunteer leadership roles with a variety of nonprofit organizations, mainly in the Arlington Heights area. And the community is all the better for it.
As a member of the Faith Community Homes Board of Directors, Sonderegger has contributed greatly to the organization’s direction and development. He first learned about FCH through h
is church, First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights, where he is a longtime member. Back in 2003, First Pres was one of several organizations that worked together to establish Faith Community Homes. Sonderegger’s interest in FCH grew as he learned more about its mission to help low-income families rise above poverty. In 2007, Sonderegger was elected to the FCH board. He agreed to serve because, “I was drawn by the mission of FCH, its involvement in the local community, its small size.”
Faith Community Homes is fortunate to have Sonderegger on its team. At age 89, “I enjoy my role as kind of an elder statesman whose knowledge gained from life experiences helps keep Faith Community Homes moving forward in a positive way.” He welcomes the opportunity to serve FCH, drawing on the wisdom gained from a successful career and deep experience helping several other organizations. Some of these include supporting his church and its local and international missions; serving on the alumni association board of his alma mater, Drake University; and spending time as chair of the board of trustees for the NCH Foundation at Northwest Community Hospital.
A knack for fundraising
Sonderegger currently serves on the Marketing and Communications Committee for FCH. He has been on several FCH committees since 2007 and tends to gravitate toward roles that best use his talents. An accountant by education, he enjoys writing, planning and problem solving. Very often, he is called to exercise his gift for raising money. “Somehow, I have fooled people into thinking I know something about fundraising,” he comments, with his usual dry wit.
He sees the impact FCH makes in the larger community and hopes the generosity he strives for is contagious. “I want to believe that our gifts to FCH have served to encourage friends to do the same.” As for Sonderegger’s personal philosophy behind giving, he believes in bolstering the strength of his monetary donations through direct service. “I have followed a practice of getting involved in worthwhile charitable organizations with not only my money but also with my time. If we [he and his wife, Bea] are to support financially in a significant manner, I want to be involved in how those gifts are used.”
This give-and-serve strategy seems to work well, because it has become his pattern. Sonderegger’s dedication and often-used talent for fundraising have made significant contributions to the organizations he has served, including Faith Community Homes.
Sonderegger’s ideas about success have expanded over the years. Looking back and employing his typical rational perspective, he sees a logical and fulfilling progression. First came his long career culminating in an executive role at the former International Minerals & Chemical Corporation. Once retired, he shifted focus to serving the community.
Supporting nonprofits including Faith Community Homes has enriched Sonderegger’s life in an important way. “I have thought of my work career as having provided for the material well-being of family. It’s the taking care of the body. Sharing a significant portion of that material well-being serves to satisfy the soul.”
Sonderegger continues to appreciate the difference FCH makes in the community. “I find it most gratifying to observe how individuals have improved their lives after ‘graduating’ from the two-year FCH program. Their financial house is in order. They have learned new skills that have led to better income-producing jobs.” He is optimistic for the future of FCH and its ability to help struggling families by empowering them to discover, strengthen, and use their gifts to build a better life. After all, Sonderegger’s goal is to help others make the most of their lives, just as he has done.