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  • Regional Rock Star Nominees 7th Round

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    June 19, 2020

    June 19, 2020

    Regional Rock Stars Can be Found in Nonprofits all over the West Suburban Region
    All across the west suburban communities, we are finding organizations and individuals who are demonstrating acts of kindness and gratitude during COVID-19 and other worldwide initiatives. This week, mostly organizations are featured who inspiring hope throughout our communities—and helping to strengthen communities even in the most difficult of times. Each week, a group of west suburban organization dedicated to business, health, government and community will share these stories online and with the public. We will continue to take nominations until June 30. Who do you know?
    “As we move through the phases of Restore Illinois, these Regional Rock Stars continue to shine,” said Eva Field, President & CEO Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce. “The organizations this week have pulled their time and efforts together to make a real, impactful difference in our communities.”
     St. John’s Lutheran Church. When the classroom moved to e-learning and teachers were no longer able to see students and families face-to-face, they wanted to ensure that over 100 families had food. That’s how it started. They now pack food for BEDS, shop for groceries for the at-risk population, put together baskets for first responders, and also made hundreds of masks, provided a comfort dog for people to see when picking up their meals, provided flowers and encouraging notes and more. To date, they have provided over 2,000 servings of food. “In March a high school choir from Ft. Wayne was coming to St. John’s  Lutheran to be involved in a Wednesday Lenten Service,” says Sue Kunz who has been involved for years. “We were planning on housing and feeding them. When COVID-19 struck, the choir was unable to travel, and we were sitting on 50 pounds of beef.  Katie Pece, our 2nd grade teacher, discussed the possibility of using that meat to provide meals for congregation members, school families and neighbors who might be affected by the shelter in place.” The volunteer group of five grew to 50 in three months and financially, they have become self-sufficient due to donations. “God has blessed this program,” Kunz continues. “Kindness is contagious and giving of our time and energy is the very least that can be done to help others.”
    Not Your Father’s Foundation. NYFF hosted a "Give Back Week" to help supply meals to first responders; they chose to use a local restaurant, Via Bella in Countryside. NYFF pledged the first $1000 and asked for donations after that. Give Back Week turned into more than $3,000 and many more weeks. “Our summer event was postponed due to the stay at home order,” says Dan O’Malley, president of NYFF. “We decided to use the extra funds we had saved for this event to help support people that had to take a tremendous risk going into work every day. Donating meals was the least we could do for the bravery essential workers have exemplified during the COVID-19 pandemic.” He explains that the initiative shows the power of what a community can do if they come together as one. “We were able to donate over 200 meals to essential workers,” O’Malley goes on. “Without support from people in our community our give back week would not have extended into a give back month. When delivering the meals you could see the appreciation in the essential worker's eyes. It showed the level of support our community has for the people going to work every day and inspired hope that we would get through this together.”
    SueAnn Capizzi, Volunteer at Aspire. SueAnn, as a volunteer, has always helped bring Aspire’s mission of inclusion to life, and the COVID-19 outbreak did not keep her from providing the support needed to keep adults with disabilities happy and healthy. In past month, SueAnn helped her team generate creative ideas and encouraged volunteers to donate items to residents in 24 community homes (movies, board games, puzzles). Keeping residents safe and calm was a challenge and SueAnn had the ideas to meet the challenge. “I quickly realized that ramping up such activities would take some time so I reached out to my own network of friends and family for immediate help,” she says. “The response was so overwhelming we were then able to customize additional packages for the special needs of many of the homes and purchase chromebooks for homes that did not have connectivity.” She explains that she “miss seeing the residents, and always get more than I give when volunteering. I think that what inspires me about this work is the feeling that I helping to make Aspire's vision, "To create a community where people of all abilities live, learn and grow together," a reality.”
    The Regional Rock Stars is a collaborative effort by AMITA Health, Community Memorial Foundation, the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce, West Central Municipal Conference and the West Suburban Chamber of Commerce & Industry. We invite you to share more stories of the individuals who are making a difference in our community so that we can recognize them and be inspired by the ways they are bringing the entire region together. Use this simple form to let us know who you know and who deserves to be recognized. Nominations will be taken through June 30, 2020. Individuals will be recognized at a community celebration at the end of the year.


    AMITA Health (www.AMITAhealth.org) is a joint operating company formed by AdventHealth in Altamonte Springs, Fla., and St. Louis-based Ascension. AMITA Health is the largest health system in Illinois, comprising 19 hospitals and more than 230 sites of care. The health system has 900 providers in its medical groups, more than 26,000 associates and 7,000 physician partners and serves over 6.6 million residents in the greater Chicagoland area.
    Community Memorial Foundation (CMF) is a private health conversion foundation established in 1995. The Foundation's grantmaking and community work are guided by its mission - to measurably improve the health of those who live and work in the western suburbs of Chicago. Throughout 25 years of regional investment, CMF has awarded more than $77 million dollars to nonprofit organizations in the western suburbs of Cook County and southeastern portion of DuPage County. cmfdn.org
    Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce has been in operation for more than 90 years by representing the voice of businesses in Hinsdale and beyond and has created a legacy in serving the entire community by Connecting Business through Community-Leadership-Opportunity-Involvement.
    The West Central Municipal Conference serves as the Council of Government representing 52 local governments in west suburban Cook and eastern DuPage Counties. Within our mission statement, we seek to serve our members by fostering municipal cooperation and communication; developing solutions on matters of mutual concern; advocating common interests at the county, state, and federal levels of government; and offering training, technical assistance and resource information that contribute to the efficient management of local government. westcook.org
    The West Suburban Chamber of Commerce & Industry is the collective voice of the region’s business community, advocating pro-business initiatives and public policy on a state and local level. Economic prosperity is driven by promoting the thriving business climate, geographical preference and demographic diversity of the region. We leverage the strength of our membership by encouraging innovation and the exchange of ideas, information and opportunity for the benefit of the entire community. Wscci.org
    Eva Field, President & CEO
    eva@hinsdalechamber.com, (630) 323-3952