Families across the Northwest suburbs may not recognize his name, but Michael Maude, Sr. was behind a Barrington-based agency that works behind the scenes to make transitional housing accessible for people in need of a place to stay. More than 20 years ago, its original board members named their organization the Michael Joseph Foundation after Maude and St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters.
Maude died Monday after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 85.
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In 1992, he was among a handful of parishioners from St. Anne Catholic Church in Barrington who gathered to brainstorm for ways to help struggling families in the area.
They started by retrofitting two townhouses in Johnsburg to make it one large home for a family with 14 children. Maude, who owned a construction company, put up the seed money and he also enlisted tradesmen and contractors to provide labor and materials.
"Our goal was for each child have its own bed," says Ida Cardelli, who with her husband, Leo, were among the charter board that also included Hildegard Zimmermann and Sister Lorraine Menheer, now both deceased. "Mike financed it from the beginning."
The renovation of the home took nearly two years and involved many retired volunteers who worked alongside of professional tradesmen.
"When we were done, everything was new. It was neat," Cardelli adds. "But it took too long. We decided there were a lot more families out there that we could benefit from our help. We weren't social workers, but we could come up with the money to help provide housing."
That's when they changed their mission from renovating to providing transitional apartment units, Cardelli said, and working with existing agencies that would provide families with support.
The Michael Joseph Foundation now works with agencies such as Catholic Charities, CEDA in Mount Prospect, WINGS in Palatine, the Kenneth Young Center in Elk Grove Village and Fellowship Housing in Hoffman Estates.
While these agencies screen and counsel families in need, the Michael Joseph Foundation underwrites the rent of many of its transitional apartments. Currently, they lease 13 apartments directly and contribute to Catholic Charities for more, says Brian Maude, foundation president.
Over the years, he figures, they have helped more than 700 struggling families find housing.
"Someone had helped my dad's parents when he was growing up," Brian Maude says, "and he never forgot that. When he could, he approached St. Anne's to see if there was a family he could help. And that's how it started."
As their role has grown, so have their fundraisers. What started out with dinner parties in supporters' homes grew into a gala dinner and auction held every year at the Sanfilippo Estate in Barrington Hills, drawing an average of 300 people.
"Through their involvement, they have given hope to families to keep on going," says Diane Barrett, director of Project Hope at St. Anne's Church. "It's an opportunity for them to take a breath and get a new start."
Maude is survived by his wife Rosemary, as well as his 10 children and their spouses, and 22 grandchildren.
Visitation will take place from 4-9 p.m. today at Davenport Family Funeral Home, 149 W. Main St., before a 10 a.m. funeral Mass on Saturday at St. Anne Catholic Church, located at 120 N. Ela St., both in Barrington.