After hearing thieves had stolen and destroyed three air conditioning units from Chicago’s Animal Welfare League, leaving over 100 animals suffering in the heat, WGN Radio midday host John Williams decided to take action. The Animal Welfare League had aspirations of raising the necessary funds to replace the units over the course of a year, but Williams suggested they solve the problem in one day.
At the beginning of show Thursday at 12:30 p.m., Williams launched a fundraising campaign, asking listeners to donate in hopes of reaching the $20,000 goal by 10 a.m. Friday morning. An outpouring of support followed, resulting in $23,580 raised by 3 p.m. as John’s show ended. In addition to the support of thousands of listeners, several companies came forward with large contributions including the Chicago Blackhawks, the LaGrange Pet Parade and Mack Companies, a Tinley Park-based company that volunteered to install the units for free.
“People WANT to help – they just sometimes need someone to lead,” said Williams. “We said, ‘Let’s DO this,’ and our listeners jumped on board. It was amazing to experience.”
Linda Estrada, director & president of the Animal Welfare League, said when she spoke with Williams on-air, “I am jumping up and down. I can’t believe it.”
For an audio recap of the fundraising blitz, video and photos, visit wgnradio.com. Donations for the WGN Radio campaign are still being accepted through 10 a.m. Friday at www.animalwelfareleague.com.