The Joyful Giving Catalog

Local Giving - Local Impact

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By Season of Giving

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


AgeOptions helps to empower older adults in Suburban Cook County by connecting them to information and resources so they can thrive as they age. AgeOptions has served older adults since 1974 reaching more than 155,000 older adults and caregivers last year alone. AgeOptions partners with community-based nonprofits serving older adults and their caregivers to ensure that every aging person has access to in-home care, adult day services, nutritious meals, intervention and prevention of fraud, abuse, and neglect, and advocacy to protect their right.

To donate, volunteer, or simply find out about the many services and programs available to you or your loved ones, go to or call us at (708) 383-0258.

Animal Care League

Animal Care League offers a safe haven for pets in need.  Founded in 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.

Austin Coming Together

Austin Coming Together (ACT) exists to create a thriving Austin community.  ACT's mission is to increase the collective impact of our member organizations on improving education and economic development outcomes in the Austin community. 

ACT provides backbone support for a network of more than 50 non-profit, faith-based, public, and private entities committed to improving the quality of life in the Austin community.  Since 2010, we have helped our members take a strategic and collaborative approach to achieving outcomes together. 

For more information about membership, volunteering, or to make a donation please contact Executive Director, Darnell Shields, at 773-417-8613 or 


Since 1969, Austin-based BUILD, Inc. has helped thousands of Chicago youth escape gang violence to become positive community leaders. BUILD is a second family to young people who face steep obstacles, yet succeed every day with the help of caring mentors who share similar backgrounds. 

Programs like the Block 51 Arts Academy, Austin Summer of Opportunity, and BUILDing Girls 2 Women foster creativity, social-emotional health, and academic success of youth ages 6 to 24. Gifts to the Attitude of Gratitude campaign support expansion of programs in Austin, Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Hermosa, Logan Square, and Fuller Park. 

Visit or call 773/227-2880.

Celebrating Seniors

In May 2011 Celebrating Seniors launched its first Celebrating Seniors Week, which has since become a vibrant annual tradition in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park. Celebrating Seniors 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 or to contribute financially to our community mission, visit us at

Cluster Tutoring Program

For more than 27 years, the Cluster Tutoring Program has been providing free one-to-one tutoring to students in grades K through 12 who primarily come from the Austin neighborhood of Chicago.  Our dedicated volunteers meet with students for 30 weeks throughout the school year to provide literacy instruction, homework help, and mentoring.  We also offer a summer reading program and additional academic enrichment opportunities through community partnerships with Concordia University and the Mathnasium in Oak Park.  Your support of Cluster assists us in fulfilling our mission, which is to help young people realize their potential through the power of learning in an environment that strengthens the student, the tutor, and the community.

For more information or to make a donation, please go to our website: or contact Executive Director, Kara Kalnitz, at 773-378-5530.

The Children's Clinic/ Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society

Will you join us? We're on a mission to advance the health and well-being of children in need. When you support the OPRF 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 is an important safety net for 3,500 children each year, and your generosity is key. Your gift of $50 will provide a toddler with two essential vaccines. Or for $150, a young patient with autism can receive specialized preventive dental services.  

Make a gift at or call 708-406-8661.

p.s. You're also invited to join us for our 20th annual Holiday Housewalk & Market, November 29 – December 1!  Another great way to help us provide heartfelt healthcare.

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 or follow us on Facebook.

Concordia University Chicago

Founded in 1864, Concordia University Chicago is an affordable, comprehensive liberal arts-based Christian university based in the Lutheran tradition. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, College of Graduate Studies, and College of Innovation and Professional Programs, Concordia-Chicago offers more than 100 areas of study through traditional, blended or online classes leading to a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree. Classes are taught by professors who are passionate about teaching and student success. Currently, more than 6,000 full-time undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at Concordia-Chicago, River Forest.

Make your secure donation by visiting Your support ensures the best and brightest programs for our next generation of teachers, church workers, business leaders, gerontologists, and a host of other vocations!

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

Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory

Since 1986, the Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory has been inspiring and educating visitors. We manage over 150 volunteers. We offer free tours through the showrooms and free educational programs for kids. We sponsor two free events at the Conservatory - KidsFest and FallFest. We host the Uncorked summer-series and we are celebrating the 30th annual plant sale this coming spring. We give grants to the park district to make improvements to the Conservatory. We rely on volunteers, members and donors to make these events, programs and grants possible. Please consider helping us grow. Join. Donate. Volunteer.

For more information about membership, volunteering, or to make a donation please contact Executive Director, Beth Cheng, at 708.725.2460 or

Green Community Connections

The most recent United Nations report shows that the worst effects of climate change will hit by 2040 if we don't act now. Go "all in" for the planet with your donation to the 8th annual One Earth Film Festival, an OPRF grass-roots effort that inspires climate action, resilience and environmental justice in communities throughout Chicagoland. In 2018, we hosted 60 film screenings, and 95% of surveyed attendees reported being inspired to get involved in issues or solutions. 

Protect the planet by joining One Earth today: Memberships start at $25. Bill Reilly of The Reilly Group at Merrill Lynch will generously match your donation now through #GivingTuesday. 

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

The 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 us or to donate visit us at or mail us: Historical Society of Forest Park PO Box 311 Forest Park IL 60130
Search our website for exciting events and programs. You can also become a member of the Society and/or volunteer.

Housing Forward

The mission of Housing Forward is to transition people from housing crisis to housing stability. By emphasizing homelessness 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.

Housing Forward is the only nonprofit organization in west Cook County with a comprehensive, long-term solution for preventing and ending homelessness. Founded in 1992, the agency provides integrated services to at-risk and homeless individuals and families in six areas: emergency assistance, employment readiness, supportive housing, outreach and engagement, supportive services, and emergency shelter. 

To learn more, visit or to donate,, or contact Janet Gow, Director of Development & Communications, at 708.338.1724 ext. 262.

L'Arche Chicago

L'Arche Chicago is a community where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together in homes, as family. In our group homes in the OPRF neighborhoods, we strive to merge the highest quality of care and genuine friendship.

We seek to create a world that welcomes difference and celebrates the unique gifts of all people, where each person has a genuine place of belonging.

Support L'Arche Chicago and help us to create that kind of world right here in Oak Park River Forest.

New Moms

Since 1983, New Moms has been interrupting the cycle of poverty for two generations: young moms and their children, by offering supports in the most important areas of the life of a family – stable housing, job training, and family support. These supports, along with a loving environment, equip young moms as they work to create strong families. Through our holistic approach, young moms experience a transformation of heart and mind as their life stories change from ones of hopelessness to lives filled with stability, health and vision for a strong future.

To find out more or donate to New Moms, visit

The Nineteenth Century Charitable Association

The Nineteenth Century Charitable Association strengthens our community through learning, giving, and sharing our landmark building. 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 a 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 Festival Theatre

Since 1975 Oak Park Festival Theatre, the Midwest's oldest professional outdoor classical theatre, has brought the magic of dramatic masterpieces to generations of our neighbors. Whether performing  under the stars in beautiful Austin Gardens as we do each summer or at any of the many local venues where we partner with local philanthropic agencies (such as Housing Forward, Oak Park Housing Authority or Nineteenth Century Charitable Association), Festival Theatre breaths fresh air into timeless texts for Oak Park and beyond.

With ticket prices kept friendly for every budget and free admission for all under 13, we rely on the generosity of our audiences to continue our dynamic community dialogue. Donations can be made on-line at or mailed to us: Oak Park Festival Theatre, P.O. Box 4114, Oak Park, IL 60303.

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 or send checks payable to OPRF Food Pantry to Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry, 848 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL 60301.

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 708-848-1560 (ask for Rhea Yap) to start a fund, discuss your charitable estate plans, or make a donation today. 

Oak Park Regional Housing Center

Since 1972, the Oak Park Regional Housing Center (OPRHC) has been an advocate for fair housing. Our mission is to achieve meaningful and lasting diversity in communities. The OPRHC works to counteract steering and encourages pro-integrative housing options. We promote Oak Park as a community for all races, attracting people who respond to and strengthen that kind of climate. We work with local entities to coordinate a multi-faceted effort to promote and sustain the community's rich diversity.

Support our work with a donation at • 708-848-7150
info@ • 1041 South Boulevard
Oak Park IL 60302

Opportunity Knocks

Opportunity Knocks is dedicated to providing opportunities and resources for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they may pursue their educational, occupational and social interests. Our approach to programming is person-centered, peer-led and community-based. Due to challenges in relying on the State of Illinois as a funding partner, we rely on our community for that partnership and support. We are nearly entirely privately funded. That fact makes your support that much more important. 

To learn more about Opportunity Knocks or to make a donation in support of the Warrior Mission, please visit us online at


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. Founded in 1998 PING! is celebrating its 20th Anniversary and over the past two decades has served more than 600 students 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 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

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 legal aid. These include issues of safety from an abuser, adequate housing, and the ability to get a job. Over Pro Bono Network's fairly short existence we have enabled 300+ attorneys to give more than 16,500 pro bono legal hours to over 2,500 clients in need.

Learn more and donate at Your support will make a difference in the lives of others!

Pro Musica Youth Chorus

Pro Musica is the ONLY community children's chorus in the greater Oak Park area for kids in 1st grade through high school. For over 25 years Pro Musica has brought music education, performance opportunities, and youth empowerment programming to over 1,100 children. Evidence shows that kids who sing in chorus get better grades, are happier, and become more community involved adults than their peers. Yet about half of area school children do not have access to chorus. Pro Musica is committed to reaching more children in our community by driving youth music education across socio-economic barriers. 

$25 provides sheet music for 1 singer for a season

$50 provides rehearsal space for our singers for 1 week

$100 provides 10 free tickets for seniors to our Spring Concert

Help us make a difference in a child's life – go to and donate today!

The River Forest Library Foundation

"A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people," said Andrew Carnegie. That's why he funded thousands of public libraries a century ago to help people help themselves through self-directed learning. Today, the River Forest Public Library (RFPL) carries on that core mission by providing not just books and periodicals but also a wide array of digital resources (onsite and remotely), interactive programs, and other transformative learning opportunities. 

Honor a family member, a cherished teacher or mentor, a dear friend, or your own love of lifelong learning by giving to the RFPL Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, at 735 Lathrop Avenue, River Forest, IL 60305 or Your gift will inspire others and transform the lives of so many in our community.

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, or make a tax-deductible donation through postal mail by sending a check to: Sarah's Inn, PO Box 1159, Oak Park, IL 60304

St. Angela School

At St. Angela School we have been called to serve the families of Chicago's west side, a neighborhood that is too often underserved.  We provide our boys and girls with a safe and loving environment, challenging academics, counseling services, a focus on early literacy, and the strong sense of belonging to a school family. As we prepare to begin our second century, we're proud to voice our commitment to Austin by continuing to invest in our future here: in our people, our programs and our campus. 

Learn more about us at; we hope that you'll feel called to help!

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 86-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 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 approximately 1,400 friends, neighbors and family members including…

• counseling for youth and adults

• psychiatric care and medication management

• in-home counseling for older adults

• psychosocial rehabilitation day program

• 24/7 crisis intervention

• Suicide Safer Community Program

• adult and youth group therapy, including:

• art therapy

• stress management

• coping with anxiety

• grief support

• Sibshops

To learn more or donate, please visit or call 708-383-7500, ext. 322.  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

Way Back Inn/Grateful House

Since 1974, Way Back Inn and Grateful House have successfully provided residential and outpatient treatment for men and women in Oak Park and surrounding communities who are trying to overcome an addition to alcohol, chemical substances such as opioids, and gambling.  Our mission is to rebuild lives damaged by addiction in a personalized healing environment, where men and women's lives are transformed and relationships are healed.  Our recovery program focuses on the integration of the body, mind, and spirit.

For more information or to make a donation, go to: or call us at 708-345-8422. 

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 

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