About Us

Our Mission

The HEAR Scholarship Foundation’s mission is to provide financial and mentoring support to Chicagoland High School graduates of need, who have demonstrated academic excellence, commitment to community, and highest moral character in pursuing their dream of a college education.

The HEAR Board of Directors


Chris Eigel – HEAR President

For over 40 years, Chris Eigel has been a strong presence in Chicago’s residential real estate marketplace. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago. Formerly president/CEO of two large Chicago area real estate brokerage firms, Eigel helped both companies grow dramatically, with annual sales volume reaching $5 billion in each company. Chris is now Chairman Emeritus of BHHS KoenigRubloff Realty Group. Eigel is a past president of the North Shore Barrington Association of Realtors and has been named that Association’s Realtor of the Year. He has spoken on real estate subjects at the local, state, and national levels. Chris and his wife Carolyn are nearly life-long residents of the North Shore and have three grown children and numerous grandchildren.

Joe Lamberti – Vice President

Joe was born and raised is the Chicago suburbs.  Currently, Joe is a Private Wealth Advisor and Managing Director in the Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group.  He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is also a Certified Financial Planner certificant. Joe earned a bachelor’s degree in finance with a minor in economics from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Joe has been involved with the HEAR Foundation since 2012, holding various officer positions. Joe resides in Lake Forest, IL with his wife, Amanda, and their three children.  He’s often found coaching baseball, football and basketball.

George Silca – Secretary/Treasurer

George Silca was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. George relocated to Chicago after graduating from Indiana University with a BS in Business Administration and, whilst working at IBM, subsequently earned an MBA from Loyola University. After joining The First National Bank of Chicago, and over the course of his banking career, George was involved with treasury management, energy lending, product management and was a frequent guest instructor for the Mortgage Banking Association. He transitioned in the subsequent mergers with NBD, Bank One and finally, JPMorgan Chase where he completed his working career.

George is married, lives in Glenview and has 2 sons and 2 granddaughters, all in the Chicago area. Since retiring, George has been heavily involved in philanthropic work, including acting as a bone-marrow courier (both nationally & internationally). A long-time member of Glenview Community Church, George has volunteered in many capacities, currently serving on the Finance Board. Other business and volunteer activities include board membership as Vice Chair of the Norwood Life Society and past Treasurer of Norwood Crossing. In addition, he is the incoming Presiding Partner of The Loop Associates, a Chicago Investment Club.

A supporter of HEAR since its inception, George has traveled to Guatemala on multiple work trips to the girls’ orphanage, participated in multiple HEAR chicken distributions in Chicago, and served in various capacities in the growing scholarship program.  He has served on the HEAR Board of Directors for 4 years and is assuming the position of Treasurer in January 2018.


  Bob Browne

Bob grew up in Madison, WI and received an engineering degree from Notre Dame and a JD from the University of Wisconsin. Since moving to the Chicago area in 1970, he has specialized in Intellectual Property law, including  patent and trademark prosecution, licensing and litigation. He is recognized by Chambers, Leading Lawyers and Super Lawyers.

Bob, his wife Connie, and their 3 children live in the Glenview area where he has served as Chairman of the Glenview Planning Commission and as an elected Member of the Village of Glenview Board of Trustees. He has also served as a member of the District 34 and 225 School Caucuses and on the Boards of the Grove Heritage Association, the National Lekotek Center, the Glenview Youth Soccer Association, the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago, and The Non Resident Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Wisconsin. He has been President of the Glenbrook South Parent’s Association and The North Shore Country Club.


  Greg Cadichon

Greg Cadichon A.T.C. has been a Licensed and Certified Athletic Trainer for nearly three decades. Since receiving a bachelor’s of science degree in Kinesiology from Illinois State University, he has continuously distinguished himself as a dynamic force in the sports medicine and performance industry. Greg tuned his skills while working in the physical therapy department of Evanbrook Orthopedics. He is the Founder and Director of Rebound Fitness & Rehabilitation, a physical therapy and sports medicine clinic in Northbrook, Illinois. Greg also founded Rebound Athletics, which operates primarily in Asia. He is a National Athletic Trainers Association approved provider of continuing education to sports medicine professionals. Additionally, Greg developed and holds two patents for athletic braces. He is the inventor of the Cadlow Shoulder Stabilizer, a device used to correct shoulder instability, and a functional knee brace.

Karoline Eigel – Feeds Co-Chair

Karoline has spent the last 17 years working in real estate marketing, advertising, PR and sales, overseeing the advertising and marketing for some of the largest developments in Chicago. As a licensed managing broker, she has also had the unique opportunity of being on both the sales and marketing teams for the largest new development in Lincoln Park. Currently, she is a principal at MarketHooks Consulting, which specializes in real estate positioning, marketing, advertising and public relations. A near life-long resident of the North Shore, Karoline graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in vocal performance. She and her husband Jeff currently live in Glenview and are raising their three children…and dog.

Stephen Hall – Fundraising Co-Chair, Development Co-Chair

Steve Hall lives in Evanston with his wife and two children. He and his family have been involved with the HEAR foundation since its inception, primarily assisting with our feed programs and the holiday fundraiser. Professionally, Steve began his career in financial services at Deutsche Bank in 2006 downtown Chicago and has spent the past 8 years with Genworth Financial. Personally, he spends his time with family and friends and is the proud Co-founder of the Windy City WingNuts, his world champion Mens rec league hockey team.

  Patricia Kelly

Patti lives in Park Ridge with her husband and three children. Patti graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing at the University of Illinois. After a 20 year career in Marketing and Management at AT&T, she retired to raise her children. Patti has been involved in church, school and community activities. She was both President of St. Paul of the Cross’s Home and School Association and chairperson of the school’s annual fundraiser. Patti has also been President of the Faith Hope & Charity church guild raising funds for local charities.

More recently, Patti has become involved at UNICEF and The Center of Concern working with the elderly. Patti joined the HEAR foundation and the Scholarship Program in 2016. She looks forward to growing the funding and the scholar recipients.

Dr. Raymond Pollina – Director of Scholarship

Dr. Raymond Pollina, DDS, was born and raised in Chicago.  He attended the University of Illinois before moving on to the University Of Illinois Dental School for his DDS and Endodontic Residency.  Before retiring, Ray had Endodontic practices in Park Ridge, Elmwood Park, and Chicago and proudly served in the Military and as President of the Illinois Association of Endodontists. Ray and wife Pat have five children and four grandchildren.

Ray has served on The Hear Foundation Board of Directors since 2008 and has previously held the role of Treasurer (2013) and as Board President (2014-2015).  Ray has also been the Chairman of The HEAR Scholarship Program since 2008, a role that allows him to provide guidance and support to a new generation, similar to what he and his brothers received in working their own way through college as the children of blue collar immigrants.

Ray’s goal is to see this program, which has already grown to 27 scholars, surpass 50 or more in the next three years.

  Michael Spaniak

Mike was raised in the suburbs of Chicago and currently lives in Northbrook, Illinois with his wife and two young children.  He received a degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 1996 and a law degree from the Northwestern University School of Law in 1999.  Mike is an Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Evergreen Bank Group, a community bank headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois.  He previously served as a Director and as President of Latin American Medical Providers, a not-for-profit organization that was started by Mike’s parents and that provided medical care free of charge to some of the poorest citizens of Guatemala.

  Dan Strzalka

Dan grew up and still lives in Glenview, IL with his wife Katie and four children.  He attended the University of Iowa and received a Juris Doctor Degree (JD) from DePaul University College of Law.  Dan has been practicing law specializing in commercial finance and other general corporate transactional matters since 2003.  In his free time, Dan likes to spend his time running…after the aforementioned four children.

James Weiss – Finance Chair

Jim was born in Chicago and spent his childhood in suburban Chicago and Racine, WI. He earned a BA in Psychology from Marquette University. After service in the U.S. Army and the completion of his MBA at the Wharton School, he began his career in the investment management profession at Stein Roe & Farnham in Chicago where he became a partner in 1986. Jim left SRF in 1992 working in the institutional part of the investment management at two firms before opening his own firm in 2002. Presently, he is a Senior Portfolio Manager at Segall Bryant & Hamill, Chicago.

Jim began his involvement in the non-profit world in the 1970s and was affiliated with a series of organizations over the years including an ongoing relationship with Marquette University where he is now a member of the Board of Trustees. He has served on the Board of Gaining Ground (an organic farm on the site of the Thoreau homestead) serving food pantries and soup kitchens in MA He joined the HEAR Board several years after its founding.

He and his late wife, Kathleen, raised four children three of whom are married and have presented Jim with eight grandchildren.

Robert Wise

Bob is a seasoned professional with more than 42 years in the financial industry, working with the same firm.  He chose to broaden his life experience through service with the United States Air Force in Vietnam. Upon his return, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, graduating with a degree in Business Administration (Marketing emphasis).

Bob holds several professional designations and distinctions such as:

  • President’s Club – a designation awarded to Financial Advisors who are outstanding based upon production, demonstration of high professional and ethical standards, quality of work and contribution to their branch office, as well as excellence in client service.
  • E. F. Hutton & Co.’s Top Professional of the Year Award (1985).
  • Executive Director-Wealth Management: (since 2012) an officer title awarded to Financial Advisors who have attained a high level of production as outlined by the firm.
  • Financial Planning Specialist: (since 2005) a prestigious designation awarded to Financial Advisors who complete a rigorous financial planning program spanning over 50 hours.
  • Barron’s Special Report The Top 1,000 Advisers, February 9, 2009: Ranked 43 among the best financial advisors in Illinois.
  • FIVE Star Wealth Manager (as seen in the November 2010/2011/2012/2013/2014 issues of Chicago Magazine)
  • Board member of Wentcher Foundation
  • Coached 10 years in Glenview Youth Baseball & AYSO Soccer.

  Len Wislow

Len graduated from the University of Illinois-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science degree. The former CEO of The Beco Group, a Professional Staffing firm for 40 years, Len was a long-term resident in the Chicagoland area, but is now a Florida resident. He lives with his wife Gaye, and has three grown children.

James Ziemba – Guatemala Chair, Feeds Co-Chair

Born and raised in the Detroit area, Jim Ziemba attended Michigan State University, where he earned a degree in packaging engineering.  Upon graduation, Jim made a career for himself in the investment business, specializing in commodities.

Jim married his high school sweetheart Cindy and moved to the Chicago area in 1974, where he has lived ever since.  He has three children and a granddaughter.

In 2006, Jim helped found The HEAR Foundation to pursue his commitment to efficiently invest in smaller charitable projects that make a measurable difference in individuals’ lives. Chicago is a world-class city, but too many of her residents have been left behind. Jim believes that the best way to change Chicago, and the world, for the better is through education. He would like to see 100 HEAR Scholars in school every year in the next seven to ten years.

  Justin Ziemba

Justin lives in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago with his wife, two sons and two dogs. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in English Creative Writing, and currently helps run a boutique commodities trading firm in the city of Chicago.


Vera-Pollina-picVera Pollina

HEAR Executive Director


Lucy Burne

HEAR Marketing & Communications Manager


Kristen Kelly

Director of Development


For general Information about the scholarship, please email: