Our History

In 2005, a dedicated group formed the Mothers’ Milk Association of Wisconsin (MMAW) to provide pasteurized donor human milk for babies without access to their own mother’s milk.

No local milk bank existed; therefore, parents in the community collected their excess milk, froze it in their home freezers, and brought it to milk depots in Wisconsin. The milk was stored in the depots until it could be shipped to the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Ohio for processing and distribution.

Meanwhile, in 2010, Chicago-area mother, Marissa Grossenbach, delivered her second child, Lennon, prematurely. Despite her intention to breastfeed, after her son was taken to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, the staff recommended he be fed formula. When Marissa learned later that formula increased Lennon’s risk of serious health problems, she asked local breastfeeding supporters why no area milk bank existed and why donor milk had not been available for her baby. She was told the reason was that no one had yet made an area milk bank a priority. Marissa, an information technology project manager by trade, decided to form the Illinois Milk Bank Project.

On January 9, 2011, the MMAW and the Illinois Milk Bank Project merged to become the developing Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes (Milk Bank WGL). At this meeting, held at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, a leadership team formed among representatives who were active in the Illinois Milk Bank Project and MMAW. They volunteered their time in order to turn their mutual dream into a reality.

In September 2015, the processing facility was opened in Elk Grove Village, IL and work began to renovate and furnish the space to become the region’s first non-profit milk bank. On January 20, 2016 the Human Milk Banking Association of North America officially accredited the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes as another partner in the quest to provide donated milk to all babies in need.

Since acquiring accreditation, Milk Bank WGL has also registered with the U.S Food & Drug Administration and is licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation as a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) provider.

In 2019, we doubled our space in order to grow our Donor Screening Program and Education & Outreach Program. We look forward to continuing to grow as we expand our services and increase access among pediatric patients who need the support of donor milk. In 2022, we partnered with HMBANA to present to Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), an avid supporter of family health and advocate for donor human milk.

Our Mission

Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes (Milk Bank WGL) saves tiny lives by collecting, pasteurizing, and dispensing donor human milk. As our region’s only nonprofit milk bank, we provide pasteurized donor human milk to premature and critically ill babies, distribute donor milk to outpatients, and support donor families, including those who are donating after loss.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes and our operations, please complete the form or reach out to us directly at the number and email address below.

Contact us at 847-262-5134 or email