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      Communityworks provides a coordinated, systems-based approach towards the achievement of community aspirations.

      download Downloadthe most recent Communityworks Update contained within our most recent Community Connections newsletter.

      info Learn more about Communityworks Programs

Communityworks History

In 2005, the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation was one of eighteen initial foundations in Illinois to be chosen for a Communityworks grant from the Grand Victoria Foundation.

Phase I of Communityworks provided general operating support allowing the Community Foundation to add staff, share knowledge through a learning network, and gain expertise in community problem solving. Additionally, Phase I established our endowment fund for Communityworks. Phase II required the Community Foundation to raise $225,000 for the new fund, which was matched dollar for dollar by the Grand Victoria Foundation. Area donors rose to the challenge, exceeding the goal and strengthening the Communityworks Endowment Fund.

In 2008, the Foundation received another challenge match from the Grand Victoria Foundation. The Community Foundation raised $2 million in contributions from area donors which was matched dollar for dollar by the Grand Victoria Foundation increasing the Communityworks endowment fund to $4.5 million.

Communityworks Today

Communityworks is both an Advisory Board of members who lead community institutions and an Endowed Fund of financial resources to provide grants to organizations and institutions whose efforts further the vision of a sustainable community in select priority areas.

The overall purpose of Communityworks is to provide a coordinated, systems-based approach towards the achievement of community aspirations. By building a sustainable framework, Communityworks supports the long-term health and vibrancy of the Oak Park and River Forest communities.

Communityworks is advised by a board comprised of institutional and civic leaders. With their guidance the Communityworks Endowment Fund provides grants to organizations and institutions whose efforts further the Board’s vision of a sustainable community in select focus areas. Presently, these areas are: environmental sustainability community leadership development and success of all youth. The Fund supports the environmental sustainability plan for both Villages (PlanItGreen), Leadership Lab at the Foundation and  Success of All Youth, a community collaborative empowering every youth in our community to reach his or her full potential.

Communityworks Goals

  • Create systemic change in selected priority areas.
  • Build and sustain an endowment to provide a permanent source of funding.
  • Leverage an expanded number and quantity of resources
  • Develop and demonstrate outcome based measurements to evaluate community impact for each priority area.
  • Increase community awareness of selected priority areas through education.
  • Increase community engagement and capacity to address selected priority areas.
  • Enhance cross-sector collaborations.
  • Support a responsive and sustainable community that is able to adjust to emerging needs in the community.

Role of the Advisory Board

The Communityworks Advisory Board is responsible for overall fiduciary oversight and direction setting of Communityworks priority areas; the performance and effectiveness of the priority areas; and for maintaining alignment of grant distribution with the overall purpose of Communityworks. The Communityworks Advisory Board holds itself accountable and in service to the Oak Park-River Forest community.

The Communityworks Advisory Board determines priority areas and also sets annual goals and granting target areas for each. The Communityworks Advisory Board manages the grant process, selects grant recipients for the Community Foundation Board to ratify, and monitors the performance of the priority areas.

Current Advisory Board Co-Chairs: John Houseal and David Pope
Current Advisory Board members include:
  • Anan Abu-Taleb
    President, Village of Oak Park
  • Catherine (Cathy) Adduci
    President, Village of River Forest
  • Cuyler Brown
    Board Representative,
    OPRFCommunity Foundation
  • Dr. Donna Carroll,
    President, Dominican University
  • Ed Condon
    Superintendent, River Forest District 90
  • Gary Cuneen
    Executive Director
    Seven Generations Ahead
  • Lisa DeVivo
    Executive Director
    Community Mental Health Board
  • Michele DonleyBoard Representative,
    OPRFCommunity Foundation
  • Bruce Elegant
    President, Rush Oak Park Hospital
  • Ross Fasano
    Board Representative,
    OPRFCommunity Foundation
  • Rev. Dr. Daniel Gard
    President, Concordia University
  • Janet Hanley
    Board Representative
    OPRF Community Foundation
  • John A. Houseal, AICP
    Board Representative,
    OPRF Community Foundation
  • Dr. Carol Kelley
    OP Elementary Schools - District 97
  • Mary-Rita Moore
    Triton College
  • Donna Myers
    Board Representative,
    OPRFCommunity Foundation
  • Martin Noll
    Chairman & CEO
    Community Bank of OPRF
  • Joe Ottolino 
    Interim CEO,West Suburban Medical Center
  • Eric Palm
    Village Administrator
    Village of River Forest
  • Cara Pavlicek
    Village Manager
    Village of Oak Park
  • Ed Petrick
    Community Resident
  • David Pope
    Community Representative
  • Bobbie Raymond
    Community Resident
  • Superintendent, OPRF High School District 200
  • Mary Jo Schuler
    Representative, Good Heart Work Smart Foundation
  • Carolyn Newberry Schwartz
    Collaboration for Early Childhood
  • Carla Sloan
    Supervisor, River Forest Township
  • Rev. Alan Taylor
    Community of Congregations
  • Kristin Carlson Vogen
    President and CEO
    OPRF Community Foundation
  • Nancy Waichler
    Community Resident
  • Stacey Williams
    Board President
    OPRF Community Foundation

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Learn about these Communityworks Programs

Success of All Youth (SAY)

Leadership Lab

PlanIt Green