The Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation
strengthens our community through philanthropy.
Because the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation is here…
- Oak Park and River Forest benefits from a shared Environmental Sustainability Plan – PlanItGreen – now in its 5th year with civic, business, educational and social impact sector partners working toward sustainability on an institutional and individual basis with goals in areas such as water, food, waste, transportation.
- The villages have a graduate level leadership program, Leadership Lab, which begun its ninth season in 2018. 139 Alumni have built valuable leadership skills and become stronger, more engaged leaders in business, civic, and social impact sectors.
- With a program designed by the Foundation and a $250,000 challenge grant from an anonymous donor, the Foundation was able to assist thirteen local nonprofits build endowment funds, enabling them to create a permanent resource to rely on.
- Thirty-one social impact sector organizations serving local citizens have established endowment funds to provide stability and security when annual giving fluctuates.
- Oak Park and River Forest has a multi-million Communityworks Endowment Fund, from which a cross-section of community leaders and stakeholders guide community investments.
- Social impact organizations have a partner that provides capacity building, technical assistance and information sharing through our Impact Excellence programming.
- Local high school students learn the art, science, and business of philanthropy through the Future Philanthropists Program, so far providing over 140 high school juniors and seniors with an intensive two-year extracurricular leadership experience in decision making, grant review and approval, as well as fundraising and volunteering
- Women Leaders in Philanthropy is close to 100 members strong, modeling collective philanthropic leadership, supporting community causes through grants.
- Young professionals are helping other emerging leaders with professional development through the NextGen Leaders in Philanthropy giving group.
- Entrepreneur Leaders in Philanthropy are making a difference together by collectively pooling capital to invest in The Big Idea that can transform our community.
- The first Big Idea winner, The Surplus Project, is now able to expand its capability to package unused cafeteria food and distribute it same day to those in need of food. Thanks to participants in the Community Leadership Program where this idea was generated and to the Entrepreneur Leaders in Philanthropy who provided funding for the Big Idea prize, The Surplus Project is developing the ability to help other communities replicate this program, serving as a model for the nation.
- Oak Park School District 97 implemented the International Baccalaureate Program for middle-school students.
- Park District playgrounds have become more accessible. Green block parties are happening. Zero Waste lunches are now the norm in District 90 schools and eight schools in District 97.
- Teaching sustainable environmental practices is part of the 4th grade curriculum in District 97.
- Our community has a collective Success of All Youth movement to address the community aspiration that every child be successful. Everyone can participate in this new way of doing that incorporates data-driven continuous improvement toward success based on agreed upon indicators of academic, physical and social-emotional development. With its focus on using data to drive decision making, Success of All Youth has earned a significant grant from the McCormick Foundation for data collection and analysis.
- Nonprofits looking for volunteers and volunteers seeking opportunities to contribute connected in our community’s first ever Volunteer Meet & Match. The Foundation developed the idea in partnership with key local nonprofits. Word of this opportunity spread so by the day of the event forty organizations came to the Meet & Match looking for volunteers of all sorts and found them. Two hundred seventy individuals also attended found just what they were looking for, and some guests discovered volunteer opportunities perfect for them that they had not previously imagined.
- The Foundation was able to bring a $222,222 grant from the Kellogg Foundation into the community that not only allowed for the creation of the accessible Longfellow Park Splash Pad but also engaged the Good Heart, Work Smart Foundation to provide $235,000 toward furthering accessibility to all Longfellow facilities.
- Assets used to build endowments, provide grants to local nonprofits, and contribute scholarships to hundreds of students each year are managed by the Foundation through 143 funds.
- You have a community asset that offers a way to contribute in a permanent way to all that you love about this community.