Published June 24, 2010
Foundation helps with happy
Over the years,
I’ve witnessed so much of the good work area nonprofits
I’ve seen how Wellness House helps people deal with cancer, from
the initial shock that follows diagnosis through
spiritual, emotional and hopefully physical recovery.
I’ve seen how The Community House helps people give people the
counseling they need to deal with the emotional or
financial issues that are causing them to struggle.
I’ve seen how Hinsdale Community Service — now HCS Family Service —
works to break the cycle of poverty by giving people the
support they need to get back on their feet.
I’ve seen how the Robert Crown Center for Health Education works to
help kids deal with the peer pressure to use drugs,
drink alcohol, have sex and look a certain way that is
part of growing up.
The stories I’ve heard and written about are the kind that stir
emotions, the kind you remember long after they are
Telling the story of Community Memorial Foundation has been a bit
more of a challenge.
The foundation doesn’t offer support groups or counseling or a food
pantry or body image classes. But without the
foundation, the four agencies listed above would not be
able to do all the work they do. And neither would
countless others in eastern DuPage and western Cook
What has impressed me most about the foundation is the philosophy
it follows — which mirrors the philosophy of many of its
grantee partners. The goal is not only to provide the
immediate assistance that is needed, but to work with
recipients to help them be more capable and more
So the foundation gives its grantee partners more than grants. It
equips them to become stronger organizations.
The foundation offers fantastic training opportunities that I would
love to participate in (if only I could find a way to
classify The Hinsdalean as a nonprofit). The foundation
offers assessment tools to help nonprofit staff and
board members figure out how to do a better job of
meeting their mission. The foundation helps nonprofits
conduct more effective fund-raising campaigns.
The foundation also lends moral support. It would be harder to find
a bigger supporter of nonprofits and the work they do
than Jim Durkan. His passion extends beyond the
foundation’s mission to the missions of the many
agencies the foundation supports. And while he has a
great sense of humor, he takes his responsibilities as
the foundation’s executive director quite seriously.
Over the years I’ve also gotten to know Greg DiDomenico and Tom
Fuechtmann, both of whom share Durkan’s enthusiasm for
their work. Knowing that they and the other staff
members are pulling for you is one of the perks of
working with the foundation.
You won’t see the foundation conducting summer day camps or
collecting canned goods at the Hinsdale Independence Day
parade. But you can be assured, behind the scenes, the
foundation is there.
— Pamela Lannom is editor of
Readers can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Making a difference is a
yearlong partnership between The Hinsdalean
Community Memorial Foundation, whose mission is to
the health of people work live and
work in the western suburbs.