Dorothy and Ed are also longtime supporters of Catholic Charities, which helps people struggling with poverty and other complex issues through ministry, advocacy, and social policy; disaster relief; affordable housing; immigration and refugee services; social enterprise initiatives; and more. The Wehmers have shared their time and talents with the organization as board members, contributing generously to the annual Christmas Toy Drive and serving as chair couple for the 2010 Spirit of Saint Nicholas Ball, the organization’s signature fundraising event. In 2017, they were recipients of the Catholic Charities Compassion in Action Award.
“Dorothy and Ed Wehmer are among Catholic Charities’ most dedicated and generous supporters,” says President and Chief Executive Officer Sally Blount, PhD
, who points to the eleven years Dorothy has served as a member of the Board of of Advisors and the vital partnership Ed facilities with Wintrust to strengthen local communities within the Chicago region.
“We join many others in thanking Ed and Dorothy Wehmer for their tireless work, loyal support, and courageous leadership on behalf of our Church, so many of our charitable organizations, and, in particular, the hundred of thousands of people Catholic Charities serves each year.”
Drawing from his youth and time spent working as a delivery boy, cooler cleaner, and parking lot guard throughout middle school, high school, and college, today Ed Wehmer remains dedicated to giving other hardworking students “a leg up in the world.”
“When I was a student at Loyola Academy, there was a strong emphasis on service and social responsibility,” he says. “Loyola did a good job of grounding us with a good education, strong critical thinking skills, and the Jesuit values of faith and service. That emphasis on helping others always stuck with me—and set the course for me and many of my classmates. It was during my Ramblers years that I realized I wanted to be a force for good in the world.”
Ed currently serves as lead director at Stepan Company (NYSE), a chemical manufacturing and distribution company in Northfield; as director of the Catholic Extension Society of America; chair of Northwestern Memorial Hospital Foundation; audit committee member of Northwestern Memorial Health Care; trustee for Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and Foundation; and board member and vice chairman of the finance board of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He has been recognized with the Champions for Children’s Corporate Award by the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation; the Dreamkeepers Mentor Award by LINK Unlimited, which links high-potential Black students with the resources and support for success as they advance to, through, and beyond college; the Mary Ellen Nolan Guardian Angel Award from Amate House, a young-adult service and leadership development program grounded in social justice, faith, and community; and many more.
Wintrust Financial Corporation is also a force for good in Chicago’s communities—which comes as no surprise, with Wehmer and his Jesuit values at the helm. Wintrust conducts regular financial literacy training and classes for community residents from low-income households—often in partnership with churches, community groups, and child welfare organizations. They also provide financial support for everything from local community centers and little leagues to nonprofit organizations such as Big Shoulders Fund, Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, Bernie’s Book Bank, Amate House, and many more like the Cristo Rey Network of schools for low-income youth, including Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School on Chicago West Side and St. Martin de Porres High School in Waukegan, both of which Wintrust has been instrumental in nurturing the development and success.
“At Loyola Academy, we were taught to be men for others,” Ed Wehmer reflects. “It was so ingrained in us to give back to meet society’s needs. Today, Wintrust really gets involved in its communities. It’s the fun part of what we do.”
The idea of community banking remains a central value of Wintrust, which has a vested interest in building strong communities. This stems from Dorothy and Ed’s own values, which place family—and fun—first. Dorothy and Ed recently celebrated 41 years of marriage and have watched their six children grow into successful young adults all of whom reside in the Chicagoland area: Jennifer I. Lucas ’99, Edward J. Wehmer Jr. ’01, Meggie Wehmer Anders '03 (Woodlands Academy), Erin M. Wehmer ’05, Mary Alison “Ali” Wehmer Sedlak ’07, and Christopher M. Wehmer ’12. They delight in time spent with their children and grandchildren, including Johnny, Claire, and Matthew Lucas; Edward III “Tripp” and Cecelia “Cece” Wehmer; and Patrick “PJ” and Ryan Anders (...plus one on the way!).
Lord, teach me to be generous,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost...
By living this wisdom with their good works and generosity, Dorothy and Ed make our mission possible.
The Lord Award was established in 1963 to honor those who have provided unwavering support for and distinguished service in the cause of youth. Named for Rev. Daniel A. Lord, SJ (1888–1955), recipients of the award are carefully selected to honor those who make a difference in the lives of many young people. All proceeds from the 2021 President’s Dinner will help transform lives by supporting the Rev. Patrick E. McGrath, SJ, Endowed Scholarship.