Friends of Barrington’s White House


story by lisa stamos | Photo by Linda M. Barrett

Barrington’s White House major donors (from left) Mary Smith, Kim Duchossois, Barbie Hills, Paul Hills, Dr. Stacie Stephenson, and Richard J Stephenson.

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A new not-for-profit capital reserve fund has been created to assure the long-term preservation of Barrington’s White House

Barrington’s White House is our area’s premier Cultural and Community Center and is also available for private events. Over the past three years, it has begun changing the fabric of our community and encouraging us to embrace arts and culture in new and expanded ways. It offers intimate spaces for hosting world-class concerts, performances, lectures, theater, and exhibits for the arts and humanities.

The Village of Barrington owns Barrington’s White House with the vision that it will be self-sustaining. Before and through the home’s renovation, generous local donors have supported the project through the completion of its physical renovation and earning its recognition as a National Register of Historic Places property.

An advisory committee was established with seven voting members in 2016 with the first full cultural season starting in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017. There have since been hundreds of cultural events held for and open to the public, as well as private events such as weddings and corporate meetings.

Today, many of the initial major donors who with foresight and vision generously established the initial funding are now looking to the future. They are once again supporting a Barrington’s White House new not-for-profit, a Capital Reserve Fund, run by a Board of Directors who have financial and investment expertise. The Fund will accrue the necessary funds and interest to maintain the house in its current condition. Donations to the Capital Reserve Fund will be restricted for the specific purpose of funding long-term capital replacement costs. A Cultural Reserve Fund will also be created in the future to ensure that costs for cultural programming are covered and the possibility of a director position being added.

Quintessential Barrington invited our community visionaries, all of whom have been major donors, to share what they value most about the community and Barrington’s White House. We also invited the Friends of Barrington’s White House Board Members to share their views on financial long-term planning, why they stepped up to lead the way, and their hope that others, too, will support the long-term financial vision for future generations to enjoy Barrington’s White House.

A Call to Action

Mary Smith is a Founding Lead Donor and Chair of 2013 BWH Capital Campaign, as well as the Honorary Chair of Barrington’s White House Advisory Board. Smith’s philanthropic passion is historic preservation, bringing the past, present, and future together through her work on selective projects in Naples, Florida, Chicago, and in Barrington. She has been an active leader from the beginning of the renovation and capital campaigns for Barrington’s White House and continues today as the honorary chairwoman for the historic property’s advisory board. We asked Mary Smith to share thoughts about what she believes are the important next steps for preserving this historic and vital community cultural center. This is what she said:

My father was a smart man. Time and again when we children were old enough to understand abstract concepts, he’d casually repeat suggestions for our use as life guides…while each of us, in turn, was forming personal opinions and probable life choices. Some of his suggestions settled into our heads like osmosis.

I paraphrase my father here: Don’t look down at your feet. Keep your eyes on the horizon, because that is where you’re going.” Recently, I came across this: “Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road.” (Dag Hammarskjold, former U.N. Secretary-General) This directive resonated with my parent, and he’d adapted it for his own use in raising us children.

If, at this moment in time, we keep our collective eyes on the horizon and seriously start building the Capital Reserve Fund for our brand new White House, we can ensure a rock-solid financial future for this treasured place, with funds to maintain it properly. As you know, we are delighted to have a strong presence in the village and bring fine cultural and community programs to Main Street. If we don’t look far down the line today, we’ll drift, side-wise, into a financial burden we really don’t have to carry. We have to look at the “big picture” and build the Capital Reserve Fund for ourselves and for many generations to come. That means keeping our eyes on the horizon. That is where we are going.

This year, please consider supporting the Friends of Barrington’s White House, and our Capital Reserve Fund!

David F. Nelson

President, Friends of Barrington’s White House Board of Directors
Barrington’s White House Advisory Board

I’ve been a public servant in the Barrington community for over 40 years. My fundraising skills are from being passionate about the projects I am involved with. I prefer to educate people on a particular subject rather than try to “sell” them. I recognized early on that we live in a very generous community that has the resources to support great ideas. People want to support successful projects that have longevity. Also, most of the people I work with could use a tax deduction, so it can become a win-win proposition.

My wife, Carol, and I have lived Barrington for 45 years and raised our family here in a beautiful historic home. I have been a Village Trustee for 8 years, Village President for four years, Cuba Township Supervisor for 21 years. I am a Sr. Vice President of UBS Financial Services in downtown Barrington. I have served on, or chaired, over 20 organizations in the Barrington Area. I believe we finally have our Community/Cultural Center in Barrington and I feel that it will be the focal point of our community for the next 30 years with correct stewardship. This is my “legacy dream”, that we build a reserve that will fund all future capital needs and continue excellent programing to go with it.


Alfred St. John

Secretary, Friends of Barrington’s White House Board Member Chair, Barrington Area Community Foundation Investment Committee

For over 20 years, I’ve been working in financial asset management and have been chair of the Investment Committee for the Barrington Area Community Foundation. My financial philosophy is to keep investment cost low, be conservative, and diversify. The Capital Reserves Fund provides a vehicle to support the White House for donors who have that specific purpose with their dollars, for decades to come. My family have been residents of Barrington for over 12 years. As a venue for the arts, non-profits, businesses, and families, Barrington’s White House will grow in stature in the community for decades to come. It represents more than a cultural center. It represents the vision that the Barrington community has as a great place to work, live, play, and raise a family.


Tim Romenesko

Vice President and Treasurer
Friends of Barrington’s White House Board Member

My background is in finance and accounting and I have been involved with several corporate and civic investment committees including the Barrington Police Pension Fund, Chairman of the St. Norbert College Finance and Investment Committee, and various corporate investment committees. Organizations like the Barrington’s White House survive and prosper only with the generous support of the community...and this support must be earned and nurtured. Supporters must believe in the mission and have confidence that those entrusted to oversee assets and operations

Jan and I have lived in Barrington for 25 years and I am thrilled to be involved with this great initiative. I have been to several programs and events at the White House and it is a wonderful venue! If you are interested in helping, we would love to talk to you. You can make contributions to the Friends of the Barrington White House, or if you prefer, we have a variety of gifting strategies.


Kim Duchossois

Founding Lead Donor
Barrington’s White House Advisory Board Member

The White House is an iconic symbol of many things characteristic of our unique and wonderful community. It represents strength and stability within its reinforced structure. It stands prominently for tradition, its import, value, and honor. It echoes the generosity and grace of our community members continually seeking opportunities to problem solve, learn, and sustain. It beckons all to opportunities within its walls, to celebrate our families, our culture, our community, our heritage, and our world.

Though I was raised in the South Suburbs, I moved to Barrington after college in the mid-70s. My parents purchased a farm on which to spend their weekends and to have a place to eventually retire. Fast forward…my father, nearly 97, never retired, but he did move up to Barrington full-time after mom passed in the early ‘80s. I’m quite pleased we have since spawned two more generations here, bringing our total to four…all calling Barrington our home.


Mary Smith

Founding Lead Donor
Chair of 2013 BWH Capital Campaign
Honorary Chair, Barrington’s White House Advisory Board

Barrington’s White House is a broad-based venue with opportunities for the arts, education, and plain old-fashioned fun. Have you listened to the house when it is filled with music coming from the third floor?

Quality programming and multiple uses for BWH are already setting high standards for the future. By staying focused, maintaining the house with careful thought, continuing to offer the village the very best of itself, and also by bringing to the White House fine minds and talents from beyond our town, we’ll build a legacy and reputation worth “owning”. Simple as that!


Barbie and Paul Hills

Founding Lead Donors

We are honored to support the creation of the Barrington’s White House. We moved into the Barrington area in 1985 in search of excellent schools for our four children. Not only did we find that, but more—like sports, music, movies, and live shows. We found stores and restaurants and clubs close to home. Local charities and volunteers are countless here.

Nothing can make you feel like all is right in this world like watching or participating in Barrington Fourth of July parade! We can’t forget the Park District and Good Shepherd Hospital for healthcare, as well as community social and cultural events. This area is full of wonderful, caring people with Midwestern family values. Barrington’s White House is a legacy that offers a venue to allow for positive growth in all of these areas. Keep up the good work everyone!


Mary and Tom Malia

Ex-Officio, Friends of Barrington’s White House Board Member

Lead Donors: The First Gift to the Friends of Barrington’s White House Capital Reserve Fund

We moved to Barrington in 1983 and were attracted by its size, community identity, and well-regarded schools. We raised our seven awesome children here and one has chosen to raise his own family in Barrington.

Barrington’s White House is a piece of the complex fabric that makes the Barrington area a desirable place to live. It along with our other public infrastructure, our schools, our Village leadership, our focus on families and several other components all serve to create that vital sense of community for our area.

Tom Malia on his role: I spent my career in the financial field, so I look at the world through a finance lens. A Reserve Study is a simple concept; but complicated to properly implement. The concept is to create the framework through which an estimate can be developed to determine the size and timing of the financial resources required to properly maintain an asset. To achieve this, we hired a firm with expertise to help us identify 39 separate components making up the White House (e.g., roof, elevator, carpets, paint, plumbing, HVAC, etc.) We then had to estimate how long it might be before these components would need to be replaced or refurbished. The final step was to estimate the future cost of such refurbishment. Our process was somewhat easier in that the building was essentially brand new so we knew the current status of the various components and we knew what it had cost to construct them. We were also fortunate to have the support of the general contractor, i.e., Pepper Construction and Chet Busse, the Village staff with their experience in maintaining capital assets and Beth Raseman’s experience on the building’s construction.

My role has become one of focusing on the long-term operational viability of the building and the Friends of the BWH are going to be an essential component of this effort. My primary objective/hope would be that the building is still in operation and maintained in its current fashion 20-30 years from now to provide quality cultural attractions and wonderful event space for special occasions. But people need to appreciate that the successful operation of the building is a labor intensive, complex operation driven by several hard-working individuals, many of whom are essentially volunteers. So day-to-day operations will be a challenge and our ability to properly maintain the building will be a function of being able to raise adequate financial reserves.

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Aligning Charitable Giving with Your Values and Passions: An Interactive Presentation by National Philanthropic Trust Expert

Join the conversation Tuesday, August 7, at 7 p.m. at Barrington’s White House. Come early for a reception and docent tour of this elegant historic mansion beginning at 6:30 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

Wondering how your donations will be impacted by the new tax codes? Interested in planned giving, but not sure which option is right for you? Questioning the legal implications of estate planning? You can get the answers to these, and your own questions, by attending a talk and Q&A by a leading national philanthropy expert, Eric Joranson, J.D.

Joranson is from the National Philanthropic Trust, a public charity that provides unbiased philanthropic expertise to donors and foundations, so they can make decisions based on personal interests and passions, ensuring they reach their philanthropic goals. He will provide advice on customizing charitable planning, covering donor-advised funds, private foundations, endowments, charitable trusts, and gifts of assets such as real estate, stocks, and will open the floor to your questions.

The Friends of Barrington’s White House Board of Directors David Nelson, Tim Romenesko, and Alfred St. John will be on hand to help answer questions and provide information if you are interested in supporting the newly formed Friends of Barrington’s White House 501(c)(3).

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Thank you to Cynthia Rowley for supporting the Friends of Barrington’s White House Capital Reserve Fund’s first fundraiser through support from her visit and from proceeds donated from her week-long fashion pop-up shop.