Impact Stories

Marie Wilkinson

When it comes to making a difference in the lives of children and families in Aurora, we could all learn some valuable lessons from the life of Marie Wilkinson.  Her passion for helping her fellow Aurorans is well documented.  

Marie was a champion of civil rights, and like Rosa Parks and her famous bus ride, was denied a seat in a diner because she was black.  She fought her case in the Illinois Appellate Court where she achieved a victory for civil rights in Illinois.  

Marie’s compassion for helping people did not stop with civil liberties.  She was the founder of more than 60 charitable organizations in the City of Aurora, including the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry, the Marie Wilkinson Child Development Center, Mutual Ground, Family Focus, and so many more.  Marie spent her life in the service of those who were disadvantaged and in need of a helping hand.

Marie’s heart was drawn to providing essential services to those in need, and that included education and the equal access to educational opportunities for all Aurorans.  Marie’s legacy is comingled with the Aurora Public Library in many ways.  Her personal archives, letters and family heirlooms are a part of the Library’s permanent collection, and a statue of Marie graces the front entryway of the Santori Public Library.  

Marie Wilkinson believed in the concept that, “People need to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.”  Marie worked to help people see that light through access to education and literacy.  

Supporting the Aurora Public Library Bookmobile campaign is one way that you can unite with Marie’s mission and help vulnerable residents of Aurora see that light.  By bringing a new, 21st century Bookmobile to the community, you will be helping children to receive access to books, digital technology, internet services and programs that help bring science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) demonstrations and access to disadvantaged children and families.  

Throughout her life, Marie shared her resources and helped individuals wherever she encountered them.  You, too, can help a child receive resources they need to succeed in school and in life.  By making a one-time or recurring gift to the Bookmobile campaign, you are ensuring that children and families in Aurora find a bridge to hope and a light that leads to literacy.