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Communityworks fund

Grant funding from the Communityworks endowment fund is based on alignment with three focus areas: leadership development, support for youth, and environmental sustainability. For information about opportunities to participate in these areas, please email Elizabeth Chadri, or call her at 708-848-1560.

Communityworks Goals

  1. Create systemic change in selected priority areas.
  2. Build and sustain an endowment to provide a permanent source of funding.


  1. Leverage an expanded number and quantity of resources
  2. Develop and demonstrate outcome based measurements to evaluate community impact for each priority area.
  3. Increase community awareness of selected priority areas through education.
  4. Increase community engagement and capacity to address selected priority areas.
  5. Enhance cross-sector collaborations.
  6. Support a responsive and sustainable community that is able to adjust to emerging needs in the community.


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. Raising $2 million in contributions from area donors and matched dollar for dollar by the Grand Victoria Foundation, the Community Foundation increased the Communityworks endowment fund to $4.5 million.

Communityworks Today

Communityworks is both an advisory board of members who lead local civic, business and nonprofit 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. Its purpose 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.

The Communityworks Endowment Fund provides grants to organizations and institutions whose efforts further the advisory board’s vision in select focus areas. Presently, these areas are: environmental sustainability, community leadership development and supporting our youth. The fund supports the environmental sustainability plan for our region with PlanItGreen, provides leadership via Leadership Lab and supports Success of All Youth, a community collaborative empowering every youth in our community to reach their full potential.

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.




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

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Confirmed in Compliance with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations