WFF News

September 10, 2012

WFF welcomes Beerntsen as executive director

YMCA Metro Chicago executive to begin Nov. 1

CHICAGO -- Retired Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood and wife Sarah are happy to announce Tom Beerntsen as executive director of the Wood Family Foundation. Currently the executive vice president of association development at the YMCA Metro Chicago, Beerntsen brings more than 40 years of experience in advocating for and serving children. His official start date is slated for Nov. 1, however, Beerntsen will begin working with the WFF Board on a limited basis in September to assist the staff with events.

"We are beyond thrilled to welcome Tom to the team. From the moment we met him, we knew that he was above and beyond what we envisioned this role to be. We truly believe that his experience and vision will help the Wood Family Foundation continue to make an impact in the lives of Chicago's kids for years to come," Kerry said.

In his new role, Beerntsen will be responsible for the overall management of the foundation, programs and fund raising -- responsibilities originally held by Sarah Wood. He will work closely with both Kerry and Sarah and the Board of Directors to craft a strategy that will focus on the compelling, long-term mission of the foundation.

Beerntsen has been a part of the YMCA Metro staff since their consolidation with the Heritage YMCA Group on Jan. 1, 2011. His YMCA career is divided into two sections by a 20-year period, during which he and his wife Penny operated his family's third-generation confectionary business, while Beerntsen also served as volunteer leader of numerous local charities in Wisconsin. From 2001-03, he chaired the YMCA of the USA national board and traveled up to 100 days per year as the ambassador for the YMCA throughout America and around the world. Beerntsen is recognized throughout the YMCA movement as a tireless advocate of the mission based, values-driven programs of the YMCA. He is passionate about the importance of putting heroes in the lives of young people.

"I am looking forward to beginning my work with the Wood Family Foundation team, the Board and Kerry and Sarah," Beerntsen said. "Their commitment to changing the lives of children in very positive ways is truly inspiring. Together, they have a unique passion and focus and they want their legacy to be one of service to children in neighborhoods in Chicago. I could not be more pleased to have this opportunity to support the vision and works of the WFF."

Major projects he will oversee include Warm Wishes -- the annual coat and toy drive in December for selected Chicago Public Schools -- Back to School Drives and the new Kerry Wood Cubs Field, for which plans are currently underway for the construction of a regulation high school baseball field at 3457 North Rockwell Street in Chicago. The Woods have determined that Lawndale, Austin, Humboldt Park and Englewood will be their focus communities to support.

About the Wood Family Foundation: Wood Family Foundation is a non-profit organization that was founded in June 2011 by Kerry and Sarah Wood. The WFF works to improve the lives of children in and around Chicago by raising funds and awareness for its children's programs and other children's charities they support. The WFF acts as an advocate for children in the Chicago community, inspiring others to join them in their mission of giving children the resources they need to succeed.


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