Connie Payton - A Quiet History of Giving
Through the loving efforts and guidance of her parents, Connie acquired a genuine sense of family values and the importance of a good education. This provided her the strong foundation that she ultimately instilled in her own family and continues to share with others.
The wife of the late Walter Payton, a football legend who was stricken with cancer and succumbed to this heart wrenching disease in 1999, Connie Payton has borne the challenges presented her with quiet grace and determination that has emerged as her trademark. These qualities have served her well throughout a lifetime spent in positions of community service and in promoting family issues and family awareness. In recognizing the importance a supportive loving family can provide, she has sought throughout her years of public service to draw attention to those issues that can divide and indeed destroy a family.
During Walter Payton’s life, he became a silent entrepreneur of giving, and Connie Payton shared in this commitment to make a difference in people’s lives, especially the innocent lives of neglected and abused children.
Today, through the conception of the Walter & Connie Payton Foundation, Connie continues on with the integrity and dignity of the Payton name in caring for these thousands of children who found themselves as wards of the state. It is through this foundation, that Connie continues to focus on what she considers her most important obligation and that is working closely with the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services. The foundation hosts a “Holiday Giving Program”, which year after year helps provide thousands of gifts for in-need children at Christmas, and is currently its largest program. Each Christmas, the “Holiday Giving Program” reaches out to approximately 16,000 children. In August, the “Back to School Drive” is sponsored by the foundation to provide school supplies to these children to help them start the school year with all the necessary supplies.
With Connie’s belief, that she was blessed to be a blessing to others, she strives to have the foundation research the possibilities of additional educational, mentorship, and sporting programs for these children to be a part of in the future.
As a spokesperson to bring public awareness to the family unit, the list goes on and on. To name a few, she was the guest speaker stressing the importance of family during “Parent’s Weekend” at Loyola University, the keynote speaker for Commencement for the University of Chicago, and many Chamber of Commerce community events within the State of Illinois. Connie also brings her enthusiastic support as a keynote speaker on behalf of quality health care. Again, to name a few, Humana Health Care, U.I.C. Guild, Midwest Nursing Spectrum, and the LaGrange Memorial Hospital for “Cancer Survival Day”. Connie also takes every opportunity to speak out on the importance of being an organ donor. Connie believes that if we were all registered donors, the program would offer everyone the opportunity of the continuation of life.
To those who know her personally, Connie is a woman who acknowledges and understands the problems and adversities of others and caringly attempts to resolve those needs.