The Highland Park Community Foundation held its annual grant awards reception on October 18 at the Highland Park Community House.
The Foundation, established in 1992 to provide support and expand the services of social, cultural, and educational agencies in Highland Park and Highwood, awarded nearly $183,000, up almost 8% over last year, to 35 non-profit community agencies and programs.
“We are honored to be able to provide support to the wonderful organizations in the Highland Park and Highwood community that serve those in need and provide social, educational, and arts programs,” said Peter W. Flanzer, chairman of the Highland Park Community Foundation. “The grants presented reflect the tireless efforts of those who generously work on behalf of others and are dedicated to the well-being of our community’s residents.”
Flanzer welcomed the attendees to the evening’s program, which kicked off with a festive reception. Attendees included members of the Highland Park City Council; community members; grant recipients; and HPCF board members, who all share a vision for community support.
Highland Park City Council member Alyssa Knobel spoke on behalf of Highland Park’s Mayor Nancy Rotering: “Our community is grateful for the growing support that the Highland Park Community Foundation provides to so many not-for-profit agencies that are vital to the fabric of our community. Thanks to the HPCF board and staff, and so many generous donors, the HPCF is able to help the City of Highland Park achieve two of our four core priorities: community vibrancy and public safety.”
Guest speakers and honorees included Sara Sher, Highland Park Community Foundation Golden Apple Committee Chair; Scott Shallenbarger, Director of Theatre Arts for Highland Park High School and 2017 Highland Park Golden Apple recipient; Holly Fleischer, Guidance Counselor for HPHS and Homework Club Coordinator; Aliza Gilbert, College Counselor for HPHS and National Hispanic Institute Summer Program Coordinator; and Casandra Ibarra and Jennifer Lopez, students of HPHS who participate in programs sponsored by the Foundation.
Highland Park Community Foundation Executive Committee member Betsy Brint presented the fourth annual Jack Blane Community Service Award to the 2017 honoree, Richard Cortesi.
As Brint stated, “Mr. Cortesi epitomizes the spirit of community consciousness. A lifelong Highland Park resident, he has devoted himself to serving the Highland Park and North Shore communities with his successful business, Sunset Foods, and has assumed a variety of roles beneficial to the community-at-large.” She went on to say, “As an innovative businessman, he has served the community and provided employment; as a philanthropist, he has supported organizations to help those in need; and, as a visionary, he has tempered his decisions with guidelines insuring that all decisions are the best for all concerned.”
“The Highland Park Community Foundation is delighted to celebrate Richard Cortesi for his dedicated community service and for making such a generous and impactful difference in our community,” said Flanzer.
The annual Jack Blane Community Service Award, launched in 2014, honors Jack Blane and his exemplary work within the community. A founding member and previous Chairman of HPCF, Blane’s commitment to serving others extended to all aspects of his life. Blane served his country as a Marine. He also served his local community by offering humanitarian services as a Rotarian and by serving as a Councilman for the City of Highland Park.
Nancy Mills, vice chairman of the Highland Park Community Foundation, presented the 35 grant awards to agencies and organizations that are committed to assisting community members in need.
“We’re proud to support a variety of programs in our community from early childhood programs at Family Network, Tri-Con and others, to social service programs like Family Service of Lake County and Center for Enriched Living,” said Mills. “In addition, the HPCF supports arts programs such as Midwest Young Artists, and educational programs like College Bound Opportunities and the HPHS Homework Club, as well as providing support to senior citizens through such programs as CJE SeniorLife and Catholic Charities – Lake County Senior Services. All these programs serve to make our community a more inclusive, well-rounded and vibrant place to live.”
The Highland Park Community Foundation’s 2017 Grant Awards Reception was generously supported by the following sponsors: Sunset Foods – Platinum sponsor; Autohaus on Edens, First Bank of Highland Park, and Keyth Technologies – Gold Sponsors; and James Martin Associates – Silver sponsor. The evening’s musical interlude was provided by Midwest Young Artists.