Deborah Blain – Founder

Deborah Blain was a dedicated humanitarian, standing side by side with her husband Robert as a tireless philanthropist. Together, they touched the lives of countless individuals through their generous support of food pantries, homeless shelters, museums, learning centers, summer camps, and various other causes.

Deborah’s commitment to making a difference in her community was exemplified by her founding of ElkhartCares, a local 501(c)3 charity. In her role as President of ElkhartCares, she poured her heart and soul into serving families and individuals within the Elkhart Lake – Glenbeulah School District. By collaborating with the Elkhart Lake Library and the school district, ElkhartCares initiated a range of programs and provided essential assistance. These included school lunch programs, summer reading initiatives, internet services for school-age children, scholarships for high school students, financial aid for sports activities, support for educators to enhance classroom learning experiences, and much more.

In addition to these educational and community-focused efforts, ElkhartCares extended its reach to offer vital support in the form of fuel assistance, winter clothing distribution, food provisions, child care assistance for working families and single parents, and the joy of holiday celebrations with Santa’s Village. This annual event, conceived by Deborah herself, brought the community together to enjoy holiday cheer and relieve the financial strain of the season.

Deborah Blain was acutely aware of the pervasive needs in her community and recognized the importance of addressing these requirements, which often extended beyond the bare necessities. To honor her enduring legacy, ElkhartCares will continue to fulfill its mission through tax-deductible donations, which can be made online at or via mail to P.O. Box 537, Elkhart Lake, WI 53020.

Although Deborah Blain has departed from our midst, her legacy of love, kindness, and boundless generosity will forever serve as a guiding light, inspiring and positively impacting the lives of many.

Richard Van Evera – Board Member

“Marcy and I feel it is important to give back the the community.” – Richard Van Evera

Richard Van Evera was born in Hinsdale, Illinois.  He received his B.A. in History and Political Science and was commissioned an Officer of the United States Air Force at Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1970.  He served on active duty until 1974 and attended law school from 1975 to 1978 when he began his career with Barrick, Switzer Law Firm.  He and his wife, Marcia, have two children, Nikolaus and Courtney.

Lynne Shay – Board Member

“ElkhartCares was a dream. Only once in a great while do dreams come true. ElkhartCares became a reality through the hard work and grit of compassionate hearts. As an active board member of Elkhart Cares I have the opportunity to further that dream. I have known Debi Blain, the founder of ElkhartCares, since the early days of our careers in a pediatric non-profit hospital.  While working side-by-side with her in the fast paced healthcare industry I found her to be talented, extremely caring and goal oriented.” – Lynne Shay

Lynne’s roots reach back multiple generations to the Oshkosh region where her great-grandfather, August Horn, co-founded the Horn and Schwalm Brewing Company in 1866 and later became the first president of Oshkosh Brewing Company. Family members continue to have strong ties to the Oshkosh region. Three generations of Horn women studied at the University of Wisconsin/Madison. Her maternal grandmother and mother preceded her own enrollment at UWM.

Until retirement, she was an Audiologist practicing in many different settings, most notably the Washington University School of Medicine and the University of Virginia. Once retired she established and raised funding to benefit a special needs school for a handwriting program, hardware selection and installation to create assistive listening classrooms.

She’s had the opportunity of sitting on numerous neighborhood boards: one responsibility was to create and rehab/return a parcel of land to its natural order with minimal working capital. She’s participated in the Sarasota County youth reading program and is currently a volunteer research assistant at Florida’s Selby Botanical Gardens. Her proudest achievement is the work she’s done mentoring youth & teens in her home for over a dozen years. Among the many youth, there are three special individuals that are now considered extended family for over 20+ years.

MaryJo Vollrath – Board Member

“I love where I live, and love being deeply connected within our community! For years, I have felt a strong need to help others and give back. ElkhartCares has given me a way to do just that! I’m honored to join this powerful, wonderful spirit of givers! As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.” – MaryJo Vollrath

MaryJo Vollrath has lived in Elkhart Lake for 30 years. She has raised five children in the Elkhart school system, and finds a very tight connection to the wonderful community of Elkhart Lake.

She has a teaching degree, and has taught in the community. She’s been involved in PTA, Sunday school, elder of her church, board of the athletic association, advisory board of Top Chef, Friends of the Library, Elkhart Lake Improvement Association, and the beautification of Elkhart Lake committee.

Most recently, MaryJo is a member of Ladies of the Lake, and serves as a chairman for their charitable donations committee. She also serves chairman positions at the Sheboygan Town and Country Garden Club. She’s a member of “Stiches of Love”, a group of passionate women from her church, New Life Community Church in Plymout, Wisconsin. They stitch hats for those in need. Her favorite part of the organization’s work is when they give hats to cancer children. She is also currently on the board of the education foundation of Elkhart Schools.

Nina Herzog – Executive Director

A brown-haired woman, smiling

“ElkhartCares takes a neighbors helping neighbors approach. It’s all about looking around us and seeing how we might be able to help someone else in need. Small acts can go a long way. It’s an honor to serve this community.”

Nina Herzog is a seasoned non-profit professional with a remarkable journey that began at the tender age of 15 when she founded her charity. Over the past decade, she has dedicated her life to supporting individuals within the community who are most in need, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to creating positive change.

Nina’s own life was deeply impacted by the generosity of non-profit organizations during her high school and college years. Her academic pursuits led her to graduate from the esteemed University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), with Latin honors. Notably, she managed to balance her academic achievements with her continued involvement in the non-profit sector, showcasing a rare blend of dedication and multi-faceted talents.

A testament to her devotion, Nina has successfully orchestrated charity concerts and fundraisers that have raised over a million dollars for various causes. Her passion for philanthropy and her remarkable fundraising acumen have been instrumental in driving positive change within communities, touching countless lives.

In 2018, Nina embarked on a pivotal chapter in her non-profit journey by joining ElkhartCares when it officially attained 501(c)3 charity status. This move was not only a professional decision but a deeply personal one. Her connection to Elkhart Lake dates back to her childhood, and it continues to hold a special place in her heart.

Beyond her philanthropic endeavors, Nina Herzog is a multitalented artist. Her passion for writing and performing music has seen her release music on a global scale. She has graced the stage with symphonies and big bands, leaving audiences captivated by her exceptional vocal prowess. Moreover, her talent extends to the world of voice acting, where she lent her voice to the iconic role of the Swan Princess in Sony Animation movies.

Nina Herzog’s journey is an inspiring narrative of dedication, talent, and a profound commitment to making the world a better place. Her tireless efforts and multifaceted talents continue to enrich the lives of many, making her a remarkable figure in both the non-profit sector and the world of art and entertainment.

Every Donation is Tax-Deductible