American Red Cross to Honor Downers Grove Woman as 2024 Hero

Apr 30, 2024

22nd Annual Heroes Breakfast to be Held Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at the Hilton Chicago 

Chicago, IL (April 24, 2024) — The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is honoring Nancy Economou as this year’s Global Citizenship Hero at the organization’s 22nd Annual Heroes Breakfast. The event will be held Tuesday, May 14 from 7:30-10:00 A.M. at the Hilton Chicago.

As the founder of Watts of Love, Nancy Economou works to provide sustainable solar lighting solutions to communities in need across the globe. After witnessing the dangerous effects of families using kerosene for illumination in the Philippines, she designed a solar light to aid these communities and to help promote financial literacy by enabling families to save funds previously spent on kerosene or batteries for entrepreneurship and education. Watts of Love empowers recipients via solar power and also helps them achieve additional financial freedom.

“The American Red Cross is proud to recognize extraordinary individuals in our community, particularly leaders like Nancy Economou, whose work with Watts of Love has made a profound global impact,” said Celena Roldán Sarillo, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross of Illinois. “Through sustainable solar lighting solutions, Nancy not only illuminates homes but also opens doors to financial independence and education. She’s a shining example of hope and change, deserving of recognition at this year’s Heroes Breakfast.”

An independent committee of leaders in the business and civic community selected honorees in twelve community service categories. For the complete list of 2024 Heroes, visit

Thank you to the generous sponsors of the 2024 Illinois Red Cross Heroes Breakfast event, including:

Champion Sponsors: CDW, ITW, Kirkland & Ellis; Inspiring Action Sponsors: Edwardson Family Foundation, Make It Better Foundation; Hero Sponsors: Aon, William Blair, CNA, Fresenius Kabi, KPMG LLP, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Nicor Gas, Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., United Airlines, Wintrust; Interactive Technology Sponsors: Elevance Health, Patrick M. and Jennifer Gallagher, Stepan Company; Media Sponsors: CBS 2 Chicago, Make It Better Foundation

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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