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Want to Learn More About Joining our Group?

If you would like to learn more about Echelon and how you can help mobilize the next generation for The Salvation Army, please fill out the information below.  We will reach out to you shortly and look forward to working with you to actively engage and better serve the community of Chicago

Echelon is a community of diverse young adults collectively rising up to serve The Salvation Army through fellowship and networking, donations and fundraising, and service and volunteering. 

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Please check our Events Calendar for opportunities to become more involved with Chicago Echelon

What We Do
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Echelon seeks to mobilize the next generation for The Salvation Army by providing opportunities for young adults to engage with the organization through networking, donations and fundraising, and service and volunteering.


Our vision is to be an impactful, thriving and sustainable community of diverse young leaders. With Echelon, The Salvation Army is able to actively engage and better serve the community of Chicago, impacting multiple generations. By mobilizing and empowering the next generation, we can continue to serve all who need help.


Echelon is a group of enthusiastic young professionals who are driven by “Doing The Most Good” for those most in need”.  The Salvation Army pursues its mission 365 days a year and serves the entire community through a number of services, so there are ample opportunities to address needs in the community, improve people’s lives, and influence change.  Individuals are expected to be active participants to help the organization impact the community of Chicago. 


Service and Volunteering – Members will work alongside officers, employees, and volunteers of the Salvation Army in the field to serve those in need.

Donations and Fundraising – Events are scheduled throughout the year to raise money for various causes or initiatives.  Members work together to identify the causes or efforts they wish to support or pursue, the avenue by which it plans to generate that support (and any associated planning, logistics, and resource coordination), and is responsible for execution of that event or activity.

Recruitment and “Friend-raising” – Members will become active brand ambassadors for the Echelon group and will represent the next generation of rising leaders in The Salvation Army.  Members will seek to engage new talent and grow membership through casual conversations, formal or informal presentations to groups and partners, relationship building and networking, and also through existing personal and professional circles.



To build and maintain a cohesive executive Board focused on guiding and growing Echelon membership. The Board will be composed of committed, enthusiastic members who are eager and willing to dedicate time to furthering the organization’s cause and fulfilling the group’s objectives. The Board should represent a diverse cross-section of different demographics, occupations, experience, and skill sets, and will be considered a prestigious position – it will be seen as an honor to be selected and serve.


Networking, communicating, and meeting a collaborative, like-minded network of young professionals in the Chicagoland area

Direct opportunities to impact the community on multiple levels, not just fundraising. This includes access to hands-on volunteering and supporting The Salvation Army Social Service programs (such as volunteering to serve hot meals at our family homeless shelter, youth mentoring, etc.) working directly with the people in need.


Chicago Echelon offers two levels of membership to prospective members.

Executive Board Membership

Members that are a part of the Executive Board are expected to take an active role in supporting Echelon’s Chicago Chapter.  Executive Board meet monthly and are responsible for planning and organizing Echelon volunteer, social and networking activities.  Members are provided opportunities to attend Advisory Board functions, including The Salvation Army Annual Civic Luncheon and The William Booth Society Dinner.

Executive Board members are also required to join one of the three standing board committees: Membership, Volunteering, and Social/Community Outreach.  Executive Board members have annual dues of $75.

Board Member

Echelon Board members are expected to support Echelon activities and participate in at least one volunteering activity and one social activity each calendar year.  Board Members are also required to support the Annual Red Kettle fundraiser through bell ringing, attending the annual Red Kettle Kick-off fundraiser, or participating in the online Red Kettle drive.  Board Members have annual dues of $50.

Echelon Board

Co-President – Bradley Davidson

In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry. During the holiday season, he resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. He only had one major hurdle to overcome — funding the project.

Where would the money come from, he wondered. He lay awake nights, worrying and thinking about how he could find the funds to fulfill his commitment of feeding 1,000 of the city’s poorest individuals on Christmas Day. As he pondered the issue, his thoughts drifted back to his sailor days in Liverpool, England. He remembered how at Stage Landing, where the boats came in, there was a large, iron kettle called “Simpson’s Pot” into which passers-by tossed a coin or two to help the poor.

The next day Captain McFee placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street. Beside the pot, he placed a sign that read, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” He soon had the money to see that the needy people were properly fed at Christmas.

Six years later, the kettle idea spread from the west coast to the Boston area. That year, the combined effort nationwide resulted in 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy. In 1901, kettle contributions in New York City provided funds for the first mammoth sit-down dinner in Madison Square Garden, a custom that continued for many years. Today in the U.S., The Salvation Army assists more than four-and-a-half million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas time periods.

Captain McFee’s kettle idea launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but all across the world. Help keep this tradition alive in the Chicagoland area by donating and helping the Salvation Army help your communities less fortunate this holiday season.


Contact Us

Heather Doxey Rodell

Mitch Fese

Co-President Lindsay Neubarth

Molly Michalak

Nancy Poikonen

Natalie Davidson

Committee Chairs

Executive Board Members

Lauren Gebbie

Emilie Sauer

Jay Enders

Lauren Tiffany

Hannah Banana

Grant Rich

Sybil Celine Griesenauer

Membership Chair Andi Ricciardi

Volunteer Chair Michael Ledvora

Board Members

Bryant Merryman

Lauren Gardner

Tony Cappell

Elyse Kelly

Erik Sager

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