Sharing is caring

We are a community of people who care. We care about our family, neighbors, friends, and even those we don’t know. 

At Oaktoberfest on September 19, the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation invited passers-by to write an answer to the prompt, “What Inspires You to Share?”  Watching the faces – especially the youth – ponder the question provided immense inspiration. Several people verbally stated what the facial expressions of others said: “That is a difficult question.”  There were many delightful responses, with several expressing a similar sentiment of helping those who are less fortunate. 

We have 80 social impact – aka nonprofit – organizations within our community. All involve people who care about other people, animals and the arts. The following pages provide a glimpse into several of them. Actively read, question, and ponder each of the organizations. How many have you heard of? Volunteered for? Given a contribution to? Each provides a space and opportunity to care within our community. Each can help you answer, “What inspires you to share?”

Be inspired. Ignite your passion. Get involved. 

Caring for the community,

Kristin Carlson Vogen
President  & Chief Executive Officer
Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation


This year we feature the following agencies and groups:

Future Philanthropists ProgramTeaching teens the business of giving

Cluster Tutoring: Creating clusters of kids who achieve in school

Repair Cafe: Throw it away? No way!

Farther Foundation: Creating a broad pathway to student success

Gardening for all: Sugar Beet Schoolhouse, Hephzibah, Oak-Leyden Developmental Services, Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry

Animal Care League: ACL keeping lost pets found

Housing Forward: At home and finding a new job

National Alliamce for Mental Illness: Ending the silence around mental illness in teens

Progress Center for Independent Living: Don’t ‘dis’ their ability to work

IMPACT: Making an IMPACT on underage substance abuse

OPRF Day Nursery: ABC’s of getting kids ready for kindergarten

Thrive Counseling Center: Starting a new revolution



About our contributor

Deb Quantock McCarey is an Illinois Press Association (IPA) award-winning freelance writer who has worked with Wednesday Journal Inc. since 1995, writing features and special sections for all its publications. An avid urban gardener and growing naturalist, she is also a local "green" advocate and community volunteer. As a WJ gardening blogger, Deb is also the host of Deb's Big Backyard, which runs on and airs on Oak Park public cable, Channel 6.

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