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Bernie’s Book Bank

winner: Education (Local) Mission: To significantly increase book ownership among at-risk infants, toddlers and school-age children throughout the Chicago area by collecting, processing and redistributing new and gently used children’s books. Exemplary Because: Bernie’s Book Bank is the logistical bridge between where children’s books exist unused and where they are desperately needed. Since 2009, Bernie’s Book Bank has collected, processed and distributed more than 2 million books to more than 80,000 children, who each receive 12 books a year from birth to sixth grade. “When we were growing up, we got books over and over and over and over again,” says Founder and Executive Director Brian Floriani. “And that’s what we need to be doing for these children if we expect them to be successful.” — Anna Carlson

Beyond Sports Foundation winner: athletics

Mission: To support disadvantaged high school and collegiate student athletes in Chicagoland by combining strong mentoring with academic, athletic, social and career programs to produce responsible young adults capable of achieving life-long success. Exemplary Because: Beyond Sports Foundation recognizes that student athletes are students first and athletes second, emphasizing education as its top priority. Since its inception in 2003, BSF has reached more than 75 teenagers, providing appropriate academic tutoring, mentoring and sport-specific training to ensure future success. The goal is to place each participant in an affordable and appropriate college environment with a full or partial NCAA scholarship. To date, they’ve met their goal: All of the alumni of the BSF high school program graduated high school and enrolled in higher education. — Coco Keevan

garfield park conservatory

Mission: The mission of Garfield Park Conservatory and Garfield Park Con-

servatory Alliance (GPCA) is to be a free, beautiful facility with outstanding programs that encourage visitors to engage with science, nature, plants and conservation and to help transform the surrounding community.

Exemplary Because: The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance is an innovative private/public funding organization created only 15 years ago to restore a badly damaged facility and to facilitate the flowering of education, health, cultural arts, housing, business and workforce development programs in the surrounding diverse and sometimes chaotic community. Fleurotica, GPCA’s annual fashion-show fundraiser, features imaginative and stunning work by designers using only natural plant materials to create a world of wonder. — Susan B. Noyes


March 2014

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Photos courtesy of each organization

winner: most innovative fundraising

2/10/14 5:52 PM

Make It Better March 2014  

philanthropy award winners, camp guide, beach chic, eataly chicago, odd couples

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