On June 17, participants of Dominican University’s Brennan School of Business and OPRF Community Foundation’s Community Leadership Program set out to put their final project in motion.  Members of OUR (Outreach, Unity, Respect) Community, Emily Sjostrom, Marketing Manager at Visit Oak Park; Douglas Dixon, Principal of Sales Performance Solutions; and Paul Simpson, Executive Director at Dominican University’s Academic Enrichment Center, held their Social Services Impact Forum at the Dominican University Priory Campus – 7200 Division St, in River Forest, IL. The event was sponsored by the Wednesday Journal, the Austin Weekly NewsWest Side Bridge networking group, Visit Oak Park, and the Community Works Partnership.

“We wanted to create a space where leaders in social services and community advocates could come together to share knowledge, forge new collaborations and build a collective strength beyond the OPRF borders,” said the OUR Community team, “part of the success of this event was due to the Wednesday Journal’s dedication to the Austin neighborhood and the promotion they did to encourage participation.”

OUR Community Social Services Impact Forum was a half day event that kicked off at 8:00 a.m. with a continental breakfast and keynote speaker Richard Boykin, who is the Cook County Commissioner for the 1st District, which includes the West Side of Chicago and several near West Suburbs. Commissioner Boykin chairs the Human Relations Committee of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. His Legislative Agenda includes Human Rights, Mental Health, Criminal Justice Reform, Job Creation and Economic Development. Learn more about Commissioner Richard Boykin here: http://www.richardrboykin.com/

The day then continued with breakout sessions covering the following topics:

  • “Grant Seeking and Evaluation: What Foundations Look for in Requests for Funding” led by Tom Fuechtmann, Program Officer for the Community Memorial Foundation
  • “Nonprofit Boards: Participation and Development” led by Clare G. Golla CFP© Chair for the Oak Park and River Forest Community Foundation
  • “Developing Alliances and Partnerships” led by Elizabeth Chadri, Program Officer for the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation
  • “The State Budget Fight: What it Means, What Social Services Agencies Need to Know, and What You Can Do About it” led by Judith Gethner, Executive Director of Illinois Partners for Human Service

The event ended around 12:30 p.m after a light lunch, followed by a facilitated networking exercise where participants were able to discuss their organization’s mission and learn about other area social service agencies.

Participants made meaningful connections, had the opportunity to discuss future collaborations, and developed mutually beneficial prospective partnerships.

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Dawn Ferencak

Dawn Ferencak likes to go behind the scenes when connecting with her customers to create ways to help make their businesses grow beyond their expectations. What she didn't expect, when she started working...