‘Project 4114’ to rehab Winnebago County Trustee property for local veteran

WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. – Winnebago County Board Chairman Joseph Chiarelli is pleased to announce a new partnership between Winnebago County and Marshmallow's HOPE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aiding in youth, veteran, service member and first responder suicide prevention. The Winnebago County Trustee Program will be donating one of its Trustee Program properties for the benefit of Marshmallow's HOPE, whose program participants will be involved in rehabbing the home and ultimately, turning over the keys to a local veteran in need.

Currently, the Winnebago County Trustee Program is comprised of hundreds of properties that are publicly-owned parcels considered blighted or legally abandoned under state statute. The purpose of the program is to recover delinquent real estate taxes and return properties within Winnebago County to productive use. Upon the completion of the renovation of one of these properties, Marshmallow's HOPE program participants will have the opportunity to gift the newly remodeled home to a veteran in our community. This partnership, known as Project 4114, will allow Marshmallow's HOPE to create an opportunity for youth community engagement from the ground up.
"Our goal is to reduce blight, decrease the inventory of the program and restore ownership to a responsible property owner," said Chairman Chiarelli. "Getting this home back on the property tax payroll, assisting in the mental health of our youth and providing a comfortable home to a veteran in need is a win for everyone involved."

Project 4114 was created in honor of Zachary Birkholz and Caden Fritz. Caden was a 17-year-old Byron High School football player (#41) and Zachary was a 14-year-old Harlem High School student, and the son of Marshmallow's HOPE Founder and Executive Director Laura Kane.
"Caden and Zachary were two young lives lost to suicide, and now their friends and families have come together through tragedy in hopes of blessing someone through Project 4114 in their honor," said Kane. "By giving our HERO program participants the opportunity to connect with peers and engage in our community, it will create a ripple effect of positive outcomes, including the development of their mental health and mitigating their risk of suicide."

Rehabilitation is being funded by private donations collected by Marshmallow's HOPE. Any financial contributions made to Project 4114 can be utilized as tax write offs.

"To make this possible, we need our community's support," said Kane. "Whether that be through in-kind donations from licensed contractors or financial contributions to cover fees such as building supplies, tools or other materials. We look forward to partnering with Winnebago County to help change lives."

For more information on the project or to learn how you can help, please contact Marshmallow's HOPE Executive Director Laura Kane at (847) 754-5770 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. To learn more about the Winnebago County Trustee Program, please visit r1planning.org/trustee. To get more information on Marshmallow's Hope, head to marshmallowshope.org.