Local Giving - Local Impact

Community Giving Guide

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By Season of Giving

Season of Giving is a campaign organized by Wednesday Journal and the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation to encourage local charitable giving during the holiday season. It has long been recognized that when we shop local, our money recirculates through the local economy reaping dividends for the entire community. The same is true for charitable giving. When you donate to local nonprofits, your money goes to work in your own neighborhood. Your donations feed local families, offer safety and learning to local children, and enrich the beauty and art that surrounds us all. Over the coming weeks, we hope that you will take a moment to look over the listings in this Giving Guide. Find an organization that resonates with you. Check out their website. Consider making a donation or volunteering. Spread the word. Don't just shop local—give Local.

Thrive Counceling Center

Thrive Counseling Center (formerly Family Services of Oak Park) has provided community mental health services for 118 years.  Located in the heart of Oak Park, our mission is to build healthy minds, families and communities by empowering people to attain mental and emotional well-being.  Hope, resilience and recovery form the heart of our programs and services.  Last year we provided critical services to approximately 2,000 friends, neighbors and family members including…

  • counseling for youth and adults
  • psychiatric care and medication management
  • 24/7 crisis intervention
  • in-home counseling for older adults
  • case management and supportive housing
  • psycho-social recovery day program
  • stress reduction courses

To learn more or donate, please visit www.thrivecc.org. or call 708-383-7500, ext. 316.  Follow us on Facebook!

Pro Bono Network

Access to justice should not depend upon one's income. During this time of need, there are not enough lawyers to help people with human rights needs. These include safety from an abuser, adequate housing, and the ability to get a job. Pro Bono Network, a locally-grown and new kind of organization, has brought over 200 attorneys to pro bono work by making legal representation practical. As a result over 1000 clients have received legal aid services which often encompass human rights. Learn more at pro-bono-network.org. Donating will make a difference! 

L'Arche Chicago

L'Arche Chicago is a community where people with intellectual disabilities live together with direct support professionals, in homes, as family. We strive to merge quality care and mutual relationships, building a community where everyone has a genuine place of belonging. L'Arche seeks to be a sign of hope, revealing the truth that all people, including those with intellectual disabilities, have gifts to share.

Your contributions enable each core member (person with intellectual disability) to live an independent, full life in our vibrant homes of love and compassion in the OPRF area. To donate or get involved, visit www.LArcheChicago.org/OPRF

The River Forest Library Foundation

Since 1905, the River Forest Public Library (RFPL) has been transforming lives and nurturing a love of reading and learning in children, teens, and adults. Today, as a 21st century library, the RFPL not only provides the latest books and periodicals, but also digital content, remote online access, onsite computer technology, and interactive educational programs

By giving to the RFPL Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, you can honor a parent, child, or other family member; a cherished teacher or mentor; a dear friend; or your own love of learning. Your gift will inspire others and help to ensure that the Library will always be here to grow and change with us.

Mail donations to the RFPL Foundation at 735 Lathrop Avenue, River Forest, IL 60305, or go to www.riverforestlibrary.org/donate.

Sarah's Inn

Since 1981, Sarah's Inn has worked to improve the lives of those impacted by domestic violence and to break the cycle of violence for future generations.  Our Intervention Program provides bi-lingual services for families affected by domestic violence in order to safely navigate crisis, effectively process trauma and ensure self-sufficiency. Our Training and Education Program creates a network of skilled bystanders to appropriately intervene as first responders and community advocates. Our Together Strong Project was created to prevent relationship violence by teaching youth about the impact of their choices, giving them the tools to lead healthy lives, and empowering them to make a difference in their community.  

To donate, visit donatenow.networkforgood.org/sarahsinn, or make a tax-deductible donation through postal mail by sending a check to: Sarah's Inn, PO Box 1159, Oak Park, IL 60304

College Mentoring Experience

Studies show that children in mentoring programs are less likely to be engage in deviant activities and relationships with parents often increase. College Mentoring Experience is a 501c3/non-for-profit community based mentoring program servicing the Austin community. Through one-on-one mentoring to at-risk students ages 11-22, CME's focus is to provide our mentees with the resources and tools needed to get them TO and THROUGH college; providing tutoring, career exploration and life skills development as alternatives to negative learning behaviors.

On Tuesday, November 29th, won't you please help us by donating? For more information visit www.collegementoringexperience.org. EVERY gift of EVERY SIZE matters!


UCP Seguin believes that all people, regardless of ability, deserve to achieve their potential, advance their independence and act as full members of the community. So we stop at nothing to provide life skills training, assistive technology, meaningful employment and a place to call home for people with disabilities, as well as specialized foster care for children. Our goal: life without limits for people with disabilities.

Make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. Donate online at ucpseguin.org send gifts to UCP Seguin, 332 Harrison Street, Oak Park IL 60304

Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry

$1 = 3 meals, is an equation only you can make possible. With your help, Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry has been reducing local hunger for nearly 40 years. Your support means we are able to meet the needs of nearly 16,000 families struggling with hunger each year. It means we can provide over 50 pounds of nutritious food plus access to vital programs and services to help people stretch limited food budgets in healthy ways. It means that even a little goes a long way: every $1 donated can feed a neighbor for an entire day. 

To make a donation, visit www.oprffoodpantry.org or send checks payable to OPRF Food Pantry to Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry, 848 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL 60301.


PACTT Learning Center is committed to empowering people challenged by autism with choice in regard to where they live, learn and work. PACTT's mission is to assist individuals with autism in becoming as independent as possible with the ability to integrate effectively into their homes and community. At the core of this mission is to see each individual as a unique gift and then provide the person-centered supports that foster learning and growth. PACTT programs include a therapeutic day school, residential services for children, transition program for older teens, vocational training/job placement and residential services for adults.

To learn more about PACTT or make a donation, go to www.pactt.org or call 773-338-9102  ext. 2424


Pillars is the largest nonprofit provider of mental health and social services in the western and southwestern suburbs. The agency serves 10,000 people each year through direct client services, including Mental Health, Addictions, Domestic & Sexual Violence, Child & Family Services, and Community Housing. Untreated mental illness and addiction can lead to hospitalization, encounters with law enforcement, violence, and even early death. Pillars' programs empower people to break out of those cycles and lead healthy, productive, independent lives—which ultimately saves the community money. Stand together as Pillars, with us.

Donate online or pledge a monthly gift today at www.pillarscommunity.org/donate.


PING! (Providing Instruments for the Next Generation) is an all-volunteer organization that loans musical instruments to students in need in grades 4-12 in Oak Park-River Forest school districts 90, 97, and 200 so that they can participate in their school band or orchestra. PING! also provides music enrichment for its students through workshops, mentoring, summer music camp scholarships, private lessons, and field trips. PING! serves between 125 and 150 students each year who would not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in the music programs at school.

PING! depends on the community for donated instruments and financial contributions to maintain our instrument inventory and program funding. For more information or to make a donation, go to www.pingoprf.org. If you have an instrument to donate, send us an email at pingoprf@gmail.com. 

Pleasant Home

Pleasant Home Foundation, a non-profit organization, restores and preserves our National Historic Landmark house museum while offering a wide variety of educational opportunities, cultural programming and free community events. Financial support is crucial to sustain Pleasant Home as an important resource for tourism and as a center for the community.

217 Home Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302

West Cook YMCA

It's our passion at the West Cook YMCA that financial need should never stand in the way of anyone who wants to achieve vitality and improve their well-being. YMCA scholarships cover everything from memberships and class fees to after-school programs and summer day camps for children. Community support makes it possible for us to provide more than $120,000 in scholarships to local residents for Y programs and memberships each year.

Your holiday donation will help even more neighbors receive the gift of healthy living. To donate, visit WestCookYMCA.org/donate or send your check to West Cook YMCA, 255 S. Marion St., Oak Park, IL 60302. (708-383-5200)

Wonder Works

Creative and imaginative play are vital to a healthy child and Wonder Works Children's Museum provides countless opportunities for both, giving children a safe space to explore. Wonder Works is committed to providing an environment where early learning flourishes through thoughtfully designed "experience zones" and educational programming.

Rachel Rettberg CEO
Wonder Works Children's Museum
6445 W North Avenue, Oak Park  IL  60302

Animal Care League

No matter how long it takes, the Animal Care League keeps an adoptable animal until we find that right loving home. We take proactive approaches to animal care and adoption as well as preventative measures to help reduce the number of homeless animals in our communities. The Animal Care League provides medical treatment for over 1,000 animals each year ranging from routine vaccinations to emergency, life-saving surgery.   

Make a meaningful difference in the life of a homeless animal. Visit www.animalcareleague.org, where you can sign up to be a volunteer or donate. You can also donate your gently used items to the 2nd Chance shop, and attend one of many fun special events.

The Collaboration for Early Childhood

The Collaboration for Early Childhood is your resource for early childhood information in Oak Park and River Forest. We provide the connections vital to every child's opportunity for success in learning and in life. We work with more than 60 organizations so that parents and their children receive critical information and support services, children are screened for developmental delays, teachers in child care centers, preschools and family child care homes provide high quality programs and our most vulnerable children and their families experience a strong web of support. 

For more information, or to make a donation, please visit us at www.collab4kids.org or follow us on Facebook.

Forest Park Historical Society

The Historical Society of Forest Park is dedicated to the preservation, collection and celebration of Forest Park History.   We study the past so we can understand the present so we can shape the future.   The Historical Society in Forest Park is an important part of the social infrastructure of our community.  We partner with many groups to enhance the quality of life in our village.

To make a donation, volunteer or to get more information, go to www.forestparkhistory.weebly.com
1000 Elgin, Forest Park IL  60130

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

Inspiring tomorrow's architects today. Our D97 program has introduced thousands of students to Wright's design legacy. Our community's vitality is enhanced by the mission of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. Through its stewardship of the Home and Studio, the Trust continues to preserve an Oak Park treasure as a source of community pride and inspiration. 

To learn more or donate, go to flwright.org
931 Chicago Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302

Hephzibah  Children's Association

Hephzibah Children's Association was founded in 1897.  We serve more than 1,000 children and families each year through innovative, community-based programs.

Hephzibah provides a Group Home for children who have been taken from their families due to profound abuse or neglect. Our skilled staff recruits and trains foster parents, and offers ongoing support to help all family members navigate challenges. Our after-school Day Care operates on a sliding scale to serve working parents in Oak Park, with programs based at each elementary school.

To make a real difference in the lives of children and families, please donate today at www.hephzibahhome.org.

Housing Forward

The mission of Housing Forward is to transition people from housing crisis to housing stability. By emphasizing prevention, supportive services, employment readiness and supportive housing, we are able to offer a comprehensive, long-term solution that moves clients into housing quickly and keeps them there.

This housing-first approach to homelessness is more efficient, more fiscally responsible and less traumatic to clients who are typically facing extraordinary hardship. It is also beneficial to the communities being served who do not have to bear the costs of homelessness in the form of expanded social services, health care and public safety costs.

We offer an attractive return on your investment — measured in terms of human lives and futures. To donate, please visit http://www.housingforward.org/give, or contact Janet Gow, Director of Development & Communications, at 708.338.1724 ext. 262.

The Neighborhood Giving Project

Many parents are eager to teach their children about the importance and the rewards of helping others. The Neighborhood Giving Project is a 501c3 non-profit organization providing community service opportunities for busy families in the Oak Park-River Forest area. Our mission is to inspire our children to be better citizens of the world by providing hands-on, hands-together community service opportunities; to enrich their learning with civic responsibility, social justice, and charitable action.

Partnering with local organizations, NGP develops service projects that are developmentally appropriate for children, and also genuinely fun. Topics include hunger and homelessness, education and literacy, family health, animal care, and more.

To learn more about getting involved or to make a donation, go to www.neighborhoodgivingproject.org

Nineteenth Century Charitable Association

The Nineteenth Century Club was established in 1891 and the spirit of the founders continues today in the work of the Nineteenth Century Charitable Association through community outreach grants, scholarships, and public programming in five areas: music, art, literature, science, and social sciences. The NCCA is the owner of 178 Forest Avenue, commonly referred to as the Nineteenth Century Club. Our charitable and cultural activities are supported by our members, volunteers, donors, and by the events held at the Club. Programs are open to all and we welcome men and women of all ages to join. 

If you would like information about volunteering, joining or donating, please call us at 708-386-2729 email to info@nineteenthcentury.org.

Oak-Leyden Developmental Services

In 2016, Oak-Leyden Developmental Services helped nearly 600 children and adults with developmental disabilities reach their highest potential. Our multi-disciplinary Early Intervention Program provides therapies to help prepare young children for their years ahead, as well as education that supports the entire family. Our enriching, adult day programs offer community activities, life skills coaching, and vocational training. In our 12 group homes, adults receive residential care, social and recreational opportunities, and access to healthcare providers.

Please volunteer, donate items on our wish list, make a contribution, or become an Oak-Leyden Enrichment Partner at www.oak-leyden.org or call 708-524-1050 x102. Thank you!

Oak Park Art League

Founded in 1921, the Oak Park Art League (OPAL) is one of Oak Park's first cultural institutions and fulfills its mission through its offering of high quality art education to people of all ages and skill levels, programs and guest lectures, artist demonstrations and critiques, plus monthly exhibitions in OPAL's historic Carriage House art gallery. On Giving Tuesday, leave your legacy of support by sponsoring a Century Club limited edition brick in OPAL's garden courtyard. Purchase a personalized brick for yourself, a business, or honor a loved one and help pave the path to OPAL's centennial anniversary in 2021.  

720 Chicago Avenue • 708-386-9853

The Oak Park Education Foundation

Strong schools are at the heart of a strong community. Established in 1989, OPEF is a privately funded, nonprofit organization that brings artists, architects, scientists, and technology experts into K-8th grade classrooms at every District 97 school. Our professional partners share their passion for learning while conducting free, hands-on residencies with more than 4,200 students annually. OPEF also runs BASE Camp, exceptional summer and day-off enrichment.

Learn more, volunteer or donate at www.opef.org.
260 Madison St., Oak park, IL 60302 • 708-524-3023

Oak Park Public Library

Support literacy, learning, and community connection! When you give locally, you can choose to share a gift that nurtures ideas and spreads knowledge in and around Oak Park. You can support the freedom to read, to learn, and to grow. Loyalty to your local public library helps a 113-year-old institution, dedicated to literacy and community connection, continue to be free and accessible to all. 

To learn more about how you can make a difference and keep Oak Park's center of information, local history, and civic engagement strong, contact Executive Director David J. Seleb (d.seleb@oppl.org, 708.697.6911) or Deputy Director Jim Madigan (jmadigan@oppl.org,708.697.6909). 

Oak Park Regional Housing Center

The Housing Center promotes and sustains the racial integration of Oak Park. We help over 3,500 households and 250 landlords annually. The Housing Center provides the foundation for equity and inclusion in Oak Park. Your gift helps keep Oak Park's promise of diversity that we all cherish.

To donate visit: www.oprhc.org/annual-appeal or make checks payable to OPRHC, 1041 South Boulevard, Oak Park, IL 60302

 Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation

The Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation encourages giving locally, providing donors with many ways to contribute to the sustainability and vibrancy of Oak Park and River Forest. We manage scholarships for students and provide enrichment grants for young people. We make grants to local nonprofit organizations, provide Impact Excellence seminars for them as well as manage many of their agency funds. We accept large gifts and small gifts. We work with donors to match their philanthropic interests with needs. We create spaces for donors to collectively give for impact through our Women Leaders in Philanthropy, Entrepreneur Leaders in Philanthropy and NextGen Leaders in Philanthropy Giving Groups. All of this is possible thanks to generous and thoughtful donors who value our community.

Twitter: community@oprfcf
1049 Lake Street, Suite 204, Oak Park, IL 60301
Donate on line at: http://tinyurl.com/kf2rcnn


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