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In 2005, the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation was one of 18 initial foundations in Illinois to be chosen for a Communityworks grant from the Grand Victoria Foundation.

Phase I of Communityworks provided general operating support allowing the Community Foundation to add staff, share knowledge through a learning network, and gain expertise in community problem solving. Additionally, Phase I established our endowment fund for Communityworks. Phase II required the Community Foundation to raise $225,000 for the new fund, which was matched dollar for dollar by the Grand Victoria Foundation. Area donors rose to the challenge, exceeding the goal and strengthening the Communityworks Endowment Fund.

In 2008, the Community Foundation received another challenge match from the Grand Victoria Foundation. The Community Foundation raised $2 million in contributions from area donors and was matched dollar for dollar by the Grand Victoria Foundation, increasing the Communityworks endowment fund to $4.5 million.

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Grant funding for the Communityworks Endowment Fund is based on alignment with Community Leadership Development, Success of All Youth and Community Environmental Sustainability. For information about opportunities to participate in these areas, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call her at 708-848-1560.


Communityworks Today

Communityworks is both an Advisory Board of members who lead community institutions and an Endowed Fund of financial resources to provide grants to organizations and institutions whose efforts further the vision of a sustainable community in select priority areas.

The overall purpose of Communityworks is to provide a coordinated, systems-based approach towards the achievement of community aspirations. By building a sustainable framework, Communityworks supports the long-term health and vibrancy of the Oak Park and River Forest communities.

Communityworks is advised by a board comprised of institutional and civic leaders. With their guidance the Communityworks Endowment Fund provides grants to organizations and institutions whose efforts further the Board’s vision of a sustainable community in select focus areas. Presently, these areas are: environmental sustainability community leadership development and success of all youth. The Fund supports the environmental sustainability plan for both Villages (PlanItGreen), Leadership Lab at the Foundation and Success of All Youth, a community collaborative empowering every youth in our community to reach their full potential.

Communityworks Goals

  • Create systemic change in selected priority areas.
  • Build and sustain an endowment to provide a permanent source of funding.
  • Leverage an expanded number and quantity of resources
  • Develop and demonstrate outcome based measurements to evaluate community impact for each priority area.
  • Increase community awareness of selected priority areas through education.
  • Increase community engagement and capacity to address selected priority areas.
  • Enhance cross-sector collaborations.
  • Support a responsive and sustainable community that is able to adjust to emerging needs in the community.

Role of the Advisory Board

The Communityworks Advisory Board is responsible for overall fiduciary oversight and direction setting of Communityworks priority areas; the performance and effectiveness of the priority areas; and for maintaining alignment of grant distribution with the overall purpose of Communityworks. The Communityworks Advisory Board holds itself accountable and in service to the Oak Park-River Forest community.

The Communityworks Advisory Board determines priority areas and also sets annual goals and granting target areas for each. The Communityworks Advisory Board manages the grant process, selects grant recipients for the Community Foundation Board to ratify, and monitors the performance of the priority areas.

Current Advisory Board Co-Chairs: Denise Burns and Jan Arnold
Current Advisory Board members include:
  • Catherine Adduci
    President, Village of River Forest
  • Jan Arnold
    Executive Director, Park District of Oak Park
  • John Borrero
    Executive Director, Collaboration for Early Childhood
  • Denise Burns
    Board Member, OP-RF Community Foundation
  • Emily Compton-Dzak
    Executive Director, River Forest Public Library
  • Ed Condon
    Superintendent, River Forest District 90
  • Dr. Russell P. Dwn
    President, Concordia University
  • Lisa DeVivo
    Executive Director, Community Mental Health Board, Oak Park Township
  • Ana Garcia Doyle
    Board Member, OP-RF Community Foundation
  • Liz Holt
    Executive Director, OP-RF Chamber of Commerce
  • Dr. Gregory Johnson
    Superintendent, Oak Park District 200
  • Clarmarie Keenan
    Supervisor, Oak Park Township
  • Barbara Martin
    CEO, West Suburban Medical Center
  • Tony Martinez, Jr.
    President & CEO, OP-RF Community Foundation
  • Mary-Rita Moore
    President, Triton College
  • Dr. Claire Noonan
    President, Community of Congregations
  • Dr. Griff Powell
    Interim Superintendent, Oak Park District 97
  • Wendell Rayburn
    Board Member, OP-RF Community Foundation
  • Dino Rumoro
    CEO/President, Rush Oak Park Hospital
  • Phillip Jiménez
    President & CEO, West Cook YMCA
  • Vicki Scaman
    Village President, Village of Oak Park
  • Lisa Scheiner
    Acting Village Administrator, Village of River Forest
  • Mary Jo Schuler
    President, Good Heart Work Smart Foundation
  • David Seleb
    Executive Director, Oak Park Library
  • Lisa Shelley
    Interim Village Manager, Village of Oak Park
  • Michael J. Sletten
    Executive Director, River Forest Park District
  • Carla Sloan
    Supervisor, River Forest Township Supervisor
  • Dr. Glena Temple
    President, Dominican University
  • Dr. Patricia Wernet
    Interim Superintendent, Oak Park District 97
  • Bruce Wojack
    Board Chair, OP-RF Community Foundation

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