Child with an apple. Selective focus. Garden Food

The Joyful Giving Catalog is part the Season of Giving campaign that is organized by Wednesday Journal and sponsored by 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, feeding local families, offering safety and learning to local children, and enriching the beauty that surrounds us. Don’t just shop local—give Local.

Animal Care League

Animal Care League offers a safe haven for pets in need.  Rooted in the community since 1973, Animal Care League takes a proactive approach to animal care and adoption as well as preventative measures to help reduce the number of homeless animals in our communities.  With over 1000 pets coming to our doors each year, Animal Care League counts on supporters to ensure that we can provide what is needed from routine vaccinations to life saving surgery.

Make a difference in the life of a homeless animal by visiting where you can sign up to volunteer, make a donation, view our adoptable pets, and learn about upcoming events.

Read about the impact that the Animal Care League has had on one Oak Park family here.

Beyond Hunger
(formerly Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry)

$1 = 3 meals, is an equation only you can make possible. With your help, Beyond Hunger has been reducing local hunger for over 40 years. Your gifts support over 13,000 local families struggling with hunger. That support provides groceries for a week plus access to vital programs and services to help people stretch limited food budgets in healthy ways. Even a little goes a long way: every $1 donated can feed a neighbor for an entire day. Join us in making sure everyone in our community can move beyond hunger.  

To make a donation, visit or send checks payable to Beyond Hunger, 848 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL 60301

Read about how Beyond Hunger has impacted the life of one local resident here.


Since 1969, BUILD has helped Chicago’s most vulnerable youth escape gangs and violence to become positive leaders in their communities. These young people face enormous obstacles and trauma, and so we surround them with the counseling, mentoring, training, and opportunities they need to build a future and succeed. We engage youth at every stage, with specialized teams dedicated to street violence interventions, gang detachments, creative after-school programming, academic school and college support, mental health care, community violence crisis response, and enrichment activities ranging from art and music to sports, podcasting, engineering and gardening. Potential doesn’t discriminate, neither should opportunity.

Join us in BUILDing a better future. Visit and donate at

Cantata Adult Life Services

Cantata Adult Life Services has a strong history that goes back 100 years. Our commitment to the changing needs of older adults on our campus and in the community continues to grow and evolve. We support over 1,000 seniors annually in their journey to “best life.” Your contributions will carry on our mission of helping individuals, families, and the community age successfully.

In tune with the season of giving, Cantata is hosting a Soup Supper on 11/14 – all proceeds benefitting seniors and the Best Life Foundation. For more information on how you can make a positive difference, please visit

Celebrating Seniors Coalition

Since its launch almost ten years ago, Celebrating Seniors Week has become a vibrant annual tradition in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park. The Celebrating Seniors Coalition is dedicated to honoring, recognizing and serving local seniors. The organization concentrates on four main objectives:

  • To facilitate cooperation between the business community, government agencies and non-profit organizations for the benefit of the senior population.
  • To promote senior groups and organizations that serve persons 60 and older.
  • To raise public awareness of issues affecting seniors.
  • To generate funds to support at-risk and vulnerable elders.

To volunteer to support our Celebrating Seniors Week (May 14 – May 21, 2020) or to contribute financially to our community mission, visit us at

Read more about Celebrating Seniors here.

Children’s Research Triangle (CRT)

Children’s Research Triangle (CRT) is the only organization in Illinois specializing in addressing mental health and the medical impact of prenatal substance exposure and treatment of childhood trauma. Our clinical and research staff are experts in designing and implementing interventions for youth struggling with severe mental health and behavioral challenges associated with trauma and complex neurodevelopmental issues. CRT programs increase accessibility of mental health services for high-risk children in under-resourced communities, specifically those who have experienced physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, community and domestic violence, and prenatal substance exposure.

Check us out and support CRT at:

Cluster Tutoring

Cluster Tutoring is a nonprofit, community-based organization that provides free one-to-one tutoring to more than 100 students in grades K through 12 from Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. Tutor-student pairs work together during the school year on reading, math, and other homework to prepare the student for a successful academic career. When Cluster started nearly 30 years ago, fewer than half of Chicago Public Schools graduated from high school. Now, all of Cluster’s seniors not only graduate but are accepted at colleges and other post-graduation programs. Donations go toward materials that help students learn.

To learn more or to donate, visit

The Collaboration for Early Childhood

For over 15 years, the Collaboration for Early Childhood has been here to support children under 5 years of age. Last year, we provided over 1,900 hearing and vision screenings for children in Oak Park and River Forest;   We delivered robust outreach, and training to over 700 parents; and we hosted over 350 professionals at our Annual Early Childhood Symposium. This year, donations will support mental health programming, supports for children with disabilities, and programming for grandparents and pregnant moms.  Please support young children this giving season.

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

Concordia University Chicago

Concordia University Chicago is a liberal arts university based in the Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1864, the university is located on 40 acres in River Forest, Illinois. Historically a college for teachers, it now offers more than 100 areas of study through traditional, blended or online classes. Students can earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees through one of four colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education and the College of Graduate Studies. Professors are passionate about teaching, learning and preparing students for success in their chosen vocations. Beyond academics, Concordia offers NCAA Division III athletic teams, intramural sports, touring music groups and numerous student clubs and organization focused on service, recreation, spiritual life and more.

Currently, more than 6,100 students are enrolled. To learn more, please visit or to support our students.

Read more about how Concordia University Chicago impacts the community here.

Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park

The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park is a non-profit 501(c)(3) literary arts and educational foundation dedicated to thoughtful reading and writing. The foundation offers a wide variety of programming, all open to the public, to nurture and encourage creative expression for students and for people of all ages. Through tours and exhibits at Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace museum, the foundation fosters an understanding of his life and work, his Oak Park origins and his impact on world literature. Your gift supports creative outlets for people of all ages through professional teacher development, local author and performing artist programs, inter-generational engagement, a writer-in-residence program, as well as student writing workshops, mentorships, and scholarships. 

For more information about us or to donate online go to or mail us at: Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, P.O. Box 2222, Oak Park, IL  60303-2222.

Read more about how the Ernest Hemingway Foundation impacts the community here.

Green Community Connections

At this time of increasing climate urgency, One Earth Film Festival continues to grow and harness the Power of We, of our families, friends and communities, to make real change for our planet and our future. Save the date for the 9th annual Festival, March 6-15, 2020, in the Oak Park / River Forest area and beyond. Join us for quality films, engaging discussion, activities and community-building that inspire climate action, resilience and environmental justice. Protect our cities and our planet by joining One Earth and becoming part of the Power of We.

Memberships start at $25 ($15 for students / seniors). Visit today. All donations now through #GivingTuesday will be matched 1:1, doubling the impact of your donation.

Growing Community Media

Growing Community Media is dedicated to building community through independent, non-partisan local journalism. We believe that high quality community journalism preserves and strengthens the fabric of our democracy. Independent community journalism holds local governments to account. It connects neighbors. It is the credible source when social media goes haywire, and it allows a community to debate and celebrate. Through Austin Weekly News, Wednesday Journal, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, Growing Community Media reports local news and tells compelling local stories across many platforms. Our mission calls us to build fact-based accountability and connection, conversation and civility, diversity and a sense of belonging.

Join our mission by donating at or contacting

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

Read about the impact of one extraordinary teen volunteer here.

Historical Society Forest Park

The Historical Society Forest Park was founded in 1975 for the purposes of “collecting and preserving the rich heritage of Forest Park.”  The historical society offers tours of Haymarket Martyr’s Monument in Forest Home Cemetery every Saturday in the summer, collect oral histories of Forest Park Veterans of Military service, hosts several historical events a year and celebrates Forest Park.

For more information about the Society, its events and programs, or to donate visit or mail us: Historical Society of Forest Park, PO Box 311, Forest Park IL  60130

Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest

We are the community’s story tellers and our new facility in an 1898 Oak Park Landmark at Lake and Lombard is Oak Park River Forest Museum, selected by Illinois Association of Museums as Small Museum of the Year. We invested $1 million in private funds to create a welcoming space in a former firehouse.  Featured exhibits include “Open House: The Legacy of Fair Housing” and “Proud Oak Parkers:  OPALGA at 30.” We are not supported by tax dollars and a gift of any amount funds our 2020 schedule of programs, our research center, and our knowledgeable staff.

Learn more and donate at or 708-848-6755

Housing Forward

Housing Forward’s mission is to end homelessness by transitioning people from housing crisis to housing stability. The agency, now in its 27th year, offers a full range of services designed to reduce the length of time and impact of trauma associated with homelessness and housing instability. Our current programs include the PADS Emergency Shelter, Outreach & Engagement, Supportive Housing, Employment Readiness, and Emergency Assistance and Stabilization in two area walk-In centers (Oak Park and Maywood). In 2019, we launched Sojourner House to offer medical respite for medically vulnerable individuals and interim housing for families transitioning from homelessness. Housing Forward impacts the lives of over 2000 adults and families with minor children annually.

To learn more about us, to volunteer or to donate, visit, email or call 708.338.1724 ext. 283.

Read more about how Housing Forward solved one mans homelessness here.

Infant Welfare Society (IWS)

Join us in our mission to advance the health and well-being of children in need. When you support the Infant Welfare Society, you help vulnerable children in our community and surrounding areas access critical healthcare, including pediatric, dental and behavioral health services. 

Our Children’s Clinic and health outreach programs serve 3,500 children each year, and your generosity is key. A gift of $50 pays for two essential vaccines. A gift of $150 provides specialized dental services.

Give Health today: or 708-406-8661. You’re also invited to join us for our 21st annual Holiday Housewalk & Market, December 5 – 7!

Intersection Christian Ministries

Intersection Christian Ministries, a ministry of Judson Baptist Church, seeks to demonstrate the love of Christ by addressing the economic injustice and inequity that afflicts West Side of Chicago. As the Chicago neighborhoods plagued with the highest crime rates are the same ones beset by the worst unemployment and poverty rates in the city, employment and job readiness training present the greatest opportunities to have an immediate and significant positive impact on our community. We offer free classes in Windows/Internet/Email, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and classes in essential job search, resume writing and interviewing skills.

To volunteer or donate, call 708-613-5177, email at or donate at

L’Arche Chicago

L’Arche Chicago is a community where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together in homes, as family. We are committed to merge individualized, high-quality care with genuine friendships in our group homes. Our vision is to create environments that celebrate difference – revealing the unique gifts of people with intellectual disabilities.

Help L’Arche Chicago spread joy and gratitude in this season: 

Read about the impact that L’Arche has had on one Oak Park family here.

Maywood Youth Mentoring Program

Organized in 1993 as a 501c3, the Maywood Youth Mentoring Program has served hundreds of middle to high-school youth providing a variety of programs, workshops, field trips, and experiences designed to increase academic potential and instill cultural pride. Since 2008, the program has hosted free monthly youth breakfasts with topics ranging from anger management/and conflict resolution, etiquette, police/community interactions, sexual health, drug and alcohol avoidance, and academic excellence. Youths practice critical thinking skills to encourage positive life choices. Volunteer mentors interact with youth providing positive role models for college and career choices.

To volunteer, or to donate, visit us at, or contact Barbara Cole, founder/CEO at 708-344-3577. 


Momenta is the resident Dance Company of the Academy of Movement & Music, located in Oak Park.  MOMENTA dance concerts are the only place audiences can see classical ballet, historic American modern dance, contemporary works, and integrated dance (includes dancers with disabilities) all in one performance. 

Learn more and donate at

New Moms

New Moms believes in the strength, skills, and potential of all families and communities to achieve audacious possibilities. Guided by our mission, to share the love of God by surrounding young moms and their children with everything they need to transform their lives, New Moms takes a 2-Generation approach to engagement that puts families in control of their goals and unleashes their potential. Together with families, we construct the foundations of wellbeing by strengthening brain architecture, incorporating early childhood development supports, building pathways to and preparation for education and employment, and expanding positive social networks and access to community resources.

Learn more and donate at

Read more about how New Moms has impacted two local families here.

The Nineteenth Century Charitable Association

The Nineteenth Century Charitable Association strengthens our community through learning, giving, and sharing our landmark building through space grants to local non-profits.  80% of its usage is non-profit.  We provide community outreach, 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 all ages to join.

If you would like information about volunteering, joining or donating, please call us at 708-386-2729 email to You can also make donation at  

Oak-Leyden Developmental Services

The mission of Oak-Leyden Developmental Services is to help children and adults with developmental disabilities meet life’s challenges and reach their highest potential. The organization offers life-changing support in three areas: Children’s Services, Residential Services, and Lifelong Learning.

Empower people with developmental disabilities today at

Oak Park Art League

As one of the longest, continually running non-profit arts organizations in Illinois, the Oak Park Art League (OPAL) is a vibrant cultural center where the invitation and challenge to use art as a medium for personal and community growth is made available to people of all ages. Since 1921, OPAL has brought arts education, appreciation, exhibitions and the spirit of artistic inquiry to the surrounding community. OPAL is committed to meaningful community outreach to the population that makes up our greater community through partnerships and on-site art and programming with local social service agencies through our “Art for Social Change” initiatives.

For more information about membership, volunteering or to make a donation, please contact Executive Director, Jill Kramer Goldstein at 708-386-9853 or The Oak Park Art League is located at 720 Chicago Ave. in Oak Park.

Read about the impact that the Oak Park Art League has had on one young Oak Park artist here.

Oak Park Conservatory

The Oak Park Conservatory began as a community effort to house exotic plants residents collected during their travels abroad. Completed in 1929, it is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Free to the public with 50,000 visitors annually, the Conservatory offers a rich atmosphere throughout three indoor showrooms featuring more than 3,000 plants.

The Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory offers programs focused on enriching the visitor experience at the Conservatory. Toddlers through adults can participate in year-round educational and recreational programs, volunteer opportunities and special events. To learn more or to join, visit

Oak Park Public Library

Empower every voice in our community!When you choose to give to your local library, you invest in foundational resources, services, and spaces that support a unique quality of life in Oak Park. You support work dedicated to literacy, education, diversity, inclusion, equity, health, safety, and affordability. You also choose to help connect people and community, to educate global citizens, and to sustain, share, and respect our community’s resources.

To learn more about how you can make Oak Park’s center of information, civic engagement, and local history stronger, contact Executive Director David J. Seleb (, 708.697.6911). Make an online donation now at

Read more about the impact that the OP Public Library has on the community here.

Oak Park Regional Housing Center (OPRHC)

For more than four decades, the Oak Park Regional Housing Center (OPRHC) has been an advocate for fair housing.  Our mission is to achieve vibrant communities and promote intentional and stable residential integration throughout Oak Park. The OPRHC is the only non-profit in Oak Park and the Greater Westside Region that encourages pro-integrative housing options. Our work is at the heart of why Oak Park is such a wonderful, diverse, and vibrant community, welcoming to everyone.  

Support our work with a donation at To learn more about the OPRHC call 708.848.7150,, 1041 South Blvd, Oak Park, IL 60302.  

Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation

The Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation is based on a powerful promise: to create an enduring institution where people can come together and pool their resources to meet our community’s most pressing needs — not just now, but forever. For sixty years, generations of thoughtful and caring donors and residents have empowered the Foundation’s work to safeguard and advance the community in which we live, raise our families and work.

From helping donors with legacy gift planning, to managing donor advised funds, to strengthening local non-profits, we connect. Visit or call Rhea Yap at 708-848-1560 to start a fund, discuss your charitable estate plans, or make a donation today.

Read more about how the OPRF Community Foundation helps non-profits here.

Read about Donor Advised funds here.

Read about creating a tradition of family giving here.

Opportunity Knocks

Opportunity Knocks is dedicated to enriching life and community. We exist to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) as they live, work, learn, grow and connect within their community. We use a dynamic, person-centered and community-based approach to programming that serves to engage the voice of our participants, foster interdependent connections, encourage exploration, promote holistic wellness and healthy relationships. 

We are 95% privately funded and rely on the generous support of the community. Your gift does matter in moving our mission forward by offering unique opportunities for these young adults to create their place in the community. Visit

Read about the impact that Opportunity Knocks has had on one local family here.


Providing equitable access to instrumental music for students in grades 4 through 12 in Oak Park and River Forest public schools has been the mission of PING! (Providing Instruments for the Next Generation) for more than 20 years. In addition to loaning band and orchestra instruments to students whose families cannot afford them, PING! also provides music enrichment through workshops; mentoring; and scholarships for summer music camps, school music trips, and private instruction. Enrichment programs like these provide positive peer groups and growth opportunities for students in need. PING! relies on community support for donated instruments and financial contributions to maintain its instrument inventory and program funding.

For more information or to make a donation, go to If you have an instrument to donate, send us an email at

Read about how PING! helped two sisters find music here.

Pro Bono Network

We believe access to justice should not depend upon your ability to afford an attorney. There are simply not enough legal aid lawyers to help people in dire need of civil legal aid. These include issues of safety from an abuser, adequate housing, critical care documents, and more. Pro Bono Network has enabled 400+ attorneys to give more than 20,500 hours of free legal assistance to over 3,700 clients whose lives were meaningfully changed.

To get involved or donate, visit Your support will make an impact the lives of many!

River Forest Public Library Foundation

RFPL Foundation works to enhance River Forest Public Library today and  for the future through fundraising and advocacy.  In 2019, the Foundation fully funded major updates in the Children’s Room to make the space more welcoming and functional. We provided support for the Summer Reading Program and contributed to the Lobby/Circulation area renovation. Since 2015, gifts have supported special programming for all ages, staff development and the Anne Smedinghoff Memorial Garden. 

Help ensure a bright future for River Forest Public Library with your gift.  We gratefully accept cash, credit/debit, securities and bequests.  Visit

Read about the community impact of the RF Public Library Foundation here.

Sarah’s Inn

For nearly 40 years, Sarah’s Inn has worked to improve the lives of those affected by domestic violence and break the cycle of violence for future generations. Sarah’s Inn Services and Programs include:

  • Free, confidential and bilingual services for victims of domestic violence
  • 24-hour crisis line (708)386-4225
  • Advocacy, referrals, and safety planning
  • Counseling for adults, teens and children
  • Legal Advocacy
  • Partner Abuse Intervention
  • Community and professional training
  • School-based violence prevention
  • Volunteer and internship opportunities

To donate, visit  To learn more about our services, programs, upcoming trainings, events and more, visit Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @SarahsinnOakPark.

St. Angela School

St. Angela School has walked with the families of Chicago’s west side for one hundred years—walked with a deep commitment to enriching the lives, and the futures, of their children.   We have a rich and varied history – and a future of great promise.  We provide our children with a safe and loving environment and challenging academics; we help them explore paths that lead to meaningful and rewarding careers; and we teach them, above all, to believe in themselves.  As we prepare for our next hundred years, we’re proud to reaffirm our commitment to love and serve all those who choose to be part of our community. 

Learn more about St. Angela School at

Read about the impact that St. Angela School has had on one family here.

The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest

Named “Community Orchestra of the Year” in 2018, The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest, under the leadership of award-winning conductor, Jay Friedman, continues to bring extraordinary and accessible concerts to our community. Ticket sales provide less than half the funds needed for the Symphony’s performances. Your gift keeps the orchestra going strong and allows us to maintain affordable ticket prices, including free admission for all students through college.

Please help us continue and strengthen our 88-year tradition of bringing beautiful and inspiring music to Oak Park and River Forest. Make your end-of-year tax-deductible donation at, or: P.O. Box 3564, Oak Park, IL 60303-3564.

Thrive Counseling Center

Thrive Counseling Center (formerly Family Services of Oak Park) has provided mental health services to our community for over 120 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 more than 1,400 friends, neighbors and family members including:

  • Counseling for youth and adults
  • Psychiatric care and medication management
  • In-home counseling for older adults
  • Increased access to care for impoverished youth
  • 24/7 crisis intervention
  • Suicide Safer Community Programs including: safeTALK and QPR
  • FREE, public Thrive Talks: our Speaker Series at the Oak Park Main Library
  • Adult and youth group therapy including: art therapy, stress management, coping with anxiety, grief support and Sibshops

We are open Monday through Friday during regular business hours and evenings, and on Saturdays from 9am-2pm (all services). To learn more or donate, please visit or call 708-383-7500, ext. 111.  Follow us on Facebook!

UCP SEGUIN of Greater Chicago

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 or send gifts to UCP Seguin, 332 Harrison Street, Oak Park IL 60304

Read about the impact UCP Seguin has had on one Oak Park family here


At VOCEL, our ultimate purpose is to help ensure every child has the foundation to learn, grow and lead. Our core program, the Child Parent Academy, is a dynamic, two-generational early learning accelerator for both children and their parents. VOCEL uses innovative early learning approaches designed for children age 0 to 3 while remaining grounded in science-based best practices in child development, attachment, and neuroscience. Through VOCEL’s programs, families are equipped with the insights, tools, and support they need to catalyze their child’s brain development in preparation for preschool and beyond.

Find out more about VOCEL and donate at

Read more about impact of VOCEL on schools and families here.

West Suburban Special Recreation Association

West Suburban Special Recreation Association (WSSRA) provides recreational programming for individuals with disabilities who reside in Oak Park, River Forest and nine other surrounding communities.

Donations to WSSRA, help provide financial assistance to those participating in our year-round programs and summer day camp. To make a donation, please visit

Youth Outreach Services

Youth Outreach Services supports youth ages 12 to 21 and their families, by providing free programs that offer skill development, therapeutic interventions, and mentorship to improve their safety and well-being. Through the past 60 years, YOS has offered outpatient, community-based behavioral health and substance abuse treatment, after school mentoring and outreach, family therapy, crisis intervention services, case management, foster care, transitional living and housing services, in-school prevention curricula, and juvenile justice programs. 

Help youth flourish by donating at or text @GROWYOS to 52014. Or help empower youth to reach their goals, by calling 773-777-7112 to refer them for services.

Read about the impact that Youth Outreach Services has had on one local family here

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