Be A Gift Foundation


Why We Were Founded

The Be a Gift Foundation was inspired by the words of Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” where he states, “To say that man is created in the image and likeness of God means that man is called to exist ‘for’ others, to become a gift.” The Be a Gift Foundation was created to be a vehicle through which people could become a gift to those in need.

Our Mission

The mission of the Be a Gift Foundation is to offer financial assistance to those in need where such assistance typically is not available to them from other sources. We fulfill this purpose by responding to the requests of social service and non-profit agencies that make us aware of specific needs of the individuals that they serve.

“If you can’t feed one hundred people, then feed just one” 

– Mother Teresa

Examples of Grant Requests

Although our average grant for a specific need generally does not exceed $500, we consider larger requests on a case-by-case basis.
We consider almost any type of grant request that falls within our mission. Here are a few examples:
• Providing a young adult transitioning out of foster care with start-up funds for shelter, food, and/or clothing
• Assisting unwed mothers with pregnancy and newborn baby needs and medical expenses.
• Helping a family survive a sudden loss of income due to job loss or illness by assisting with rent, utilities or other household expenses
• Funding for needed medical care or equipment
• Helping a child or teen go to camp or other special program to help keep him/her off of the streets
• Funding for drug rehab or counseling.
• Providing foster or indigent children with necessary or discretionary items or services for which no government funds are available, such as special classes to learn a trade or skill, music or art lessons, equipment needed to develop special skills, tutoring, and other similar items or services.

How We Work

The Be a Gift grant committee meets weekly to review and respond to the grant requests it receives from social service and other non-profit agencies. Meeting weekly allows us to respond quickly to the requests of the agencies that we work with. Please submit your Grant Request online. Click Here

Who Can Submit a Grant Request?

In general, any not-for-profit organization that provides charitable, social services to individuals, including private and state social welfare agencies, churches, hospitals and schools, can submit a grant request. We look forward to developing solid working relationships with key members of these organizations including social workers, school counselors, clergy, administrators and other staff members and volunteers who regularly provide needed services to the individuals and families that reside in their communities.


Officers & Directors

Elaine Donovan, JD— President and Member of the Board

Elaine received her Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from the University of Illinois and her JD  from Northwestern University.  She practiced tax and transactional law for over 13 years before retiring to raise her children and to found and operate the Be A Gift Foundation.

John F. Donovan. J.D. -Secretary/Member of the Board
John is an associate in Mayer Brown’s Chicago office and a member of the Corporate &
Securities practice. John received his JD from the University of Notre Dame and his BS in
Marketing and Management from the University of Arizona. John is admitted to practice in the state of Illinois.

Lukas B. Donovan-Vice-President/Treasurer
Luke will obtain his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance with high honors from the University of San Diego in May 2022. Prior to transferring to USD, Luke attended the Fisher Business school at Ohio State University where he played football as a walk-on defensive safety.

Luke is currently pursuing a CFA and will be starting as a full-time analyst in commercial banking for the middle market and banking specialized industries for JPMorgan Chase in Dallas in June 2022.

Ellyn Samsky, CPA — Member of the Board 

Ellyn has more than 30 years of experience in public accounting and is a principal of Mann Weitz & Associates, a premier CPA firm in Chicago for associations, foundations and charitable groups. Ellyn is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois CPA Society.  She is the Director and Treasurer of the Rory David Deutsch Foundation and an Advisory Board member for Duke University’s Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center. She received her Bachelor of Science in Accountancy degree from the University of Illinois.
*The officers and directors of the Be a Gift Foundation volunteer their time and talents to the organization without compensation.