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Build. Grow. Lead.


The program has three main components:

The Lab

Ten month program focused on leadership incubation for our community

The Library

Set of leadership resources available to all Lab participants and alumni

The League

Network of 200+ local leaders who have participated in the program and remain committed to the success of our region and each other



If you have questions about the program, email Jenny Yang: [email protected]

Leadership Lab

About the Leadership Lab Program

DeRondal Bevly, Mentor   |   Cathy Yen, Mentor

Through the Lab, you will curate your own leadership journey with a series of in-person and virtual classes, a
ten-month program that offers personal/professional coaching, skills development and a curriculum based on the most urgent needs of our diverse West Cook community.

The Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation’s Leadership Lab Program celebrates and supports the diverse set of people and skills required to make lasting change in our community. As part of the program, you commit to an ongoing journey of community leadership, identifying core issues while setting personal goals for growth and engagement. 

We will provide you with a set of core leadership competencies that belong in a community leader’s toolkit. Working with our coaching team, you will identify areas for your own professional growth, learn about opportunities for local involvement; and create your personal action plan to become the leader you know you can be.

Fellows Leave With:

  • Curated leadership action plan
  • Leadership skills
  • Membership in the Leadership League
  • Toolkit to address systemic issues
  • Better understanding of regional western Cook County issues
  • View of critical issues through a community lens
  • Access to Leadership Library
  • Certificate of completion
  • Capstone Conference and Graduation Event

Program Details

  • Program runs September 2023 - June 2024
  • Meetings once a month on Fridays: 9am-12pm
  • Expected time commitment 8-10 hrs per month
  • Self-directed sessions offered throughout the month, including a mix of in-person and virtual workshops
  • Member activities including ”Member Exchanges," Book Club, Movie Night, Podcasts and more…

View the 2023-2024 Program Schedule

Tuition Information and Payments

Leadership Lab tuition is $2,000, of which $200 is tax-deductible. We encourage your employer’s sponsorship. For individuals seeking financial assistance, partial funding is available. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., for details. Refunds are not available once session has begun for any missed classes or cancellations.

Click here for ONLINE PAYMENTS

Or, mail checks to:

OPRF Community Foundation

1049 Lake Street, Suite 204

Oak Park, IL 60301

Memo: Leadership Lab Tuition

Credit cards are accepted over the phone.

Contact Cathy Craddock, Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation: 708-848-1560

2023-2024 Cohort

We're proud of the diverse and talented group of community leaders taking part in this year's program.

Dr. LaTonya Applewhite, Executive Director of Equity and Student Success, OPRF District 200

Elijah Bebora, Management Analyst, Village of Lincolnwood

Christine Brooks, Older Adult Benefits Administrator
(Retired 7/1/2022)

Ann Marie Buczek, Communication & Community Engagement Manager, Park District of Oak Park

Jolien Connor, Self Employed, Entrepreneur

Allison Davenport, Chief Executive Officer, Riveredge Hospital

Cal Davis, Board Member, River Forest District 90

Chad Drufke, Programs Manager, Park District of Oak Park

Daisy Gabriel, Programs Coordinator, Beyond Hunger

Sophie Grimes, Communications Coordinator, Collaboration for Early Childhood

Caroline Heskett, Program Manager, Office of Community Health Equity & Engagement, Rush Oak Park Hospital

Dominique Hickman, Girls on the Rise Program Manager, Oak Park Township

Jeffrey Hines, Managing Partner, Hines Insurance & Financial Services, Inc dba Jeffrey Hines State Farm

Miguel Jones, Village Trustee, Village of Maywood

Megan Keskitalo, Research Manager, Strategar & Volunteer with Lincoln Elementary, VRF & Oak Park Temple

Becky Martin, Co-Executive Director, A House in Austin

Francesco Russo, Fitness Programming and Services Manager, West Cook YMCA

Chejuana Stiles, Facilities Manager, A House in Austin

Hannah Weigel, Program Coordinator, Beat the Streets Chicago

Cherise Williams-Brown, Executive Assistant, Rush Oak Park Hospital


1049 Lake Street, Suite 204
Oak Park, IL 60301


 By phone:          Office visit:
 M - F    T, W, Th
 9 am - 5 pm    9 am - 5 pm

On Mondays and Fridays, staff may be working remotely. Please make an appointment in advance or call ahead to verify that someone is available to receive you.

OPRF Chamber of Commerce 
Proud member of the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce

Community Accredited Foundation  AICF Logo
Confirmed in Compliance with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations