Our annual Season of Giving project goes back a good long while. Its earliest incarnations matched up with the old Community Chest of Oak Park and River Forest. And each year we wrote about the 17 local social service agencies which received funds from the Chest.

Always 17. It was a static view of local nonprofits. It took a minor atmospheric disturbance for an agency to be added, or heaven help us, subtracted from the roster. The Boy Scouts fell out of favor. The Community Nursing Service merged with an out of town entity.

Ultimately the Community Chest was merged into the Chicago United Way and that was that. The Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation gradually came to take on some aspects of the Chest and much more besides. These days both the foundation and Growing Community Media have been in a time of self-examination and greater focus. Our mutual geography has widened to include all of the Greater West Side from Austin through Oak Park and across Proviso Township. And our shared foundational principle is furthering equity.

That’s why this year’s Season of Giving incorporates so many very different nonprofits. A varied geography. Smaller enterprises. Newer efforts. And reflecting the voices of leaders of color and youth leaders. Season of Giving’s Joyful Giving Catalog includes listings of more than 50 Greater West Side nonprofits we’d urge you to consider as you think about end of year donations. Full disclosure: Growing Community Media, publisher of Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review, Riverside-Brookfield Landmark and the Village Free Press, is now a nonprofit, as well.

Thanks to the Community Foundation for being our long-time sponsor for this project and to Byline Bank and Rush Oak Park Hospital for joining in support.

Dan Haley
Editor and Publisher
Growing Community Media

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Dan Haley

Dan was one of the three founders of Wednesday Journal in 1980. He’s still here as its four flags – Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark – make...