2014 Make It Better Philanthropy Award Winners Announced Today

Here’s a round-up of our 2014 Philanthropy Award Winners, as this exciting day progresses! Congratulations to all and please see the photo gallery below.

Congratulations to , our Most Improved Fundraising Award winner!

And our Environment Award winner is…! Congratulations!Horizon's FY

Our readers voted and gave our first ever Audience Choice Award!

Congratulations to , our Athletic Award winner, here with the Golden Glove champion, too!

We wish we could present this award in person, but our Education-National Award goes to !

Our Human Services Award goes to !

Hank is our first canine winner! Congrats , the inspiring…

Sit Stay Read

receives our Social Justice Award! Thank you for your inspiring work. What an incredible day!



THE 5 Ps Of Effective Philanthropy

Effective fundraising made easy by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Make It Better:

Fundraise Like The Pros In Honor of National Philanthropy Day

Etymologically, “philanthropy” means love of humankind.

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, philanthropy means “the practice of giving time and money to help make life better for other people.”

However you define philanthropy or choose to practice it in your life, you can celebrate it this Saturday, Nov. 15 on National Philanthropy Day. This day is sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), which generates philanthropic support for a wide variety of charitable institutions.Philanthropy

The holiday is meant to recognize the great changes that philanthropy has brought to the world and to encourage people to work to better the lives of others. President Ronald Reagan officially proclaimed Nov. 15 as National Philanthropy Day in 1986.

Tips for Wise Giving (and How Make It Better Can Help):

According to the AFP, there are five Ps to wise giving: Passionate, Proactive, Prepare, Plan and Powerful.

Here is how Make It Better applies these five P’s to our philanthropic efforts. We would be honored to help your favorite nonprofit this way, too.

Power of PhilanthropyPassionate: At Make It Better, we support organizations run by people who are truly PASSIONATE about the work they do—whether they work to improve education, fight for social justice or save the environment. We believe the attitude behind an organization fuels its long-term success.

Proactive: Make It Better PROACTIVELY seeks organizations to partner with across the North Shore and the Greater Chicago Area that are working to grow their support network and spread their mission. We are always open to hearing from new nonprofits. You can connect with us through our website at makeitbetter.net or email our Philanthropy Editor, Maura Flaherty, at maura@makeitbetter.net.

Prepare: Once Make It Better decides to partner with your organization, we will PREPARE a contract called a media sponsorship agreement. This agreement allows us to learn as much information as we can about your organization’s history, mission and fundraising events and details your role as our partner.Prepare

Plan: Make It Better prefers to partner with an organization several months prior to important events or fundraisers so that we can PLAN the most effective editorial coverage around them.

Powerful: By planning which editorial coverage to use with your organization, such as placement on our Online Calendar of Events, Better Letter Sponsored Listing or in the Give Time, Things Support section of our magazine, Make It Better allows your organization to receive maximum impact and POWERFUL support from our readers and followers.

Openlands Space to Grow in Chicago

A Virtuous Circle To Grow –  Art, Environment, School, Philanthropy, Government, Business

Space to Grow OpenlandsThanks to Co-Chair Suzette Bulley – mother, artist, environmentalist, philanthropist – I recently attended the inspiring Openlands Annual Luncheon honoring a similarly remarkable woman and artist – Terry Evans.

Suzette Bulley

The inspiration of these two women alone would have made for a great day; their humanity and love of nature shine through in all they do. But, fortunately, I also learned about a new Openlands program – Space To Grow, which transforms urban asphalt into school yard spaces for outdoor learning, play, gardening, physical education, art and community connection. View the videos by Board Chair Richard Calrson and another by honoree Terry Evans here. Take a look at some of her most extraordinary workChicago photos in Chicago and the glorious prairies of Illinois.

Openlands is a smart collaborator – facilitating support from the water district and input from surrounding communities – to launch the program with four Chicago schools.  It’s a smart fundraiser too, because it recognized the philanthropic heft of female artists and environmentalists – over 900 attended the event sponsored by ArcelorMittal, ComEd, ITW and more.

Space to Grow OpenlandsArts, environment, education, philanthropy, government, community engagement – a powerful virtuous circle indeed.  Please help grow this one and others that are similar.

For additional reasons to support such collaborations, please see these ten common sense reasons every school should have a non-asphalt schoolyard too:

Space to Grow Openlandshttp://greenschoolyardnetwork.org Also, please watch an overview video on Openlands.


Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Awards

PhilanthropistEach year, in honor of National Philanthropy Day, we announce the winners with a live-blogged roadshow. Please watch this year on November 14 through your social network.

Winners earn compelling fundraising content—videos, articles, connections—which brings to life their missions and proves that donated dollars are well spent. They also receive expert advice on how to use this content to improve their fundraising and grow their own network. We celebrate them at our annual spring gala—an Oscars-like, red carpet star moment.

PhilanthropistThis year, we also will celebrate the 2014 winners at our November 18th party in honor of the launch of our new site, the fifth anniversary of our magazine and new Chicago footprint. Better yet, this year’s winners will also earn proceeds from the Shop For Good section of our new site for an entire year. Please join us at the party- you can RSVP here.

Categories this year include:




Human Services

Most Improved Fundraising Award Social Justice

Audience Choice

Please watch for the winners on November 14 through your social media, come to our party November 18th, and look for ways our work can help you make the world a better place.

To learn more about our Philanthropy Awards, please contact:  Mindy Fauntleroy        Make It Better Foundation 847-256-4642 Mindy@makeitbetter.net


Every child deserves a good education, a safe, loving home and adequate health care. Every adult honestly trying to overcome difficulties and succeed in life does too. Many Americans believe this and want to help. They pay their blessings forward by starting or supporting nonprofits which help to accomplish these bold goals.

We love to identify, elevate and amplify nonprofits demonstrating best practices—as well as create connections and opportunities for collaboration. The more funders and effective nonprofits learn from and help each other, the faster every child and well-intentioned adult gets the help they deserve.Make It Better 2013 philanthropy awards

We started the Make It Better Foundation and our Philanthropy Awards to grow a network of venture philanthropists and social entrepreneurs as judges and sponsors of the awards (similar to the Academy of Judges for the Oscars) and to provide rocket-fuel support for the nonprofits they select.

Check out last years winners here. Please also subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on the awards for 2014.

Please Vote on New Yorker Cartoonist Ken Krimstein’s Three Choices

Make It Better Holiday Cartoon Contest

We are thrilled that “The New Yorker” cartoonist and DePaul University professor Ken Krimstein is an avid reader of Make It Better.

Even more thrilling, we have asked him for one of his hilarious cartoons to appear in our December 2014 issue of Make It Better Magazine. But all of his work is so terrific and funny; it’s hard to choose.

So it’s up to our online readers to help us decide. Which of the three following holiday-themed cartoons is your favorite?

Click here to cast your vote.

 1. Christmas in China


2. The First Christmas



3. Regift


A Better Chicago CEO Takes a Stand for Chicago Charter Schools

The Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity (which is part of the University of Minnesota Law School) recently published a repoA Better Chicago supports charter schools in Chicagort that assessed how Chicago’s charter schools are performing relative to comparable CPS schools (aka neighborhood public schools).  The report concluded that charter schools are no more effective (and perhaps less effective) than neighborhood schools on a number of performance metrics.  Additionally, the report recommended a three-year moratorium on opening new charter schools in Chicago, as well as a host of other actions that would make it harder to open additional charter schools in the future.A Better Chicago supports charter schools in Chicago

After reading this report, Liam Krehbiel, Founder and CEO of A Better Chicago felt compelled to write an op-ed for two reasons.  Here’s what he had to say; “First, we at A Better Chicago want to share a different approach to thinking about charter school performance.  It is absolutely true to say that there are some underperforming charter schools. However, it is misleading to only think about charter school performance in the aggregate.  As you’ll see in the op-ed, many of our city’s veA Better Chicago supports charter schools in Chicagory best open enrollment public schools are charter schools.

He continues; “But, the bigger point is that we need to change the conversation.  Rather than focusing on charter schools versus neighborhood schools, we need to think about how to create more great schools (of all types) and how to fix or shut down more bad schools.  In other words, let’s end the ideology debate and instead focus on pursuing whatever practical solutions are available to us to give Chicago’s students the best chance of getting a great education.”

Finding and growing the best practices to insure a good education shouldn’t be a political issue.  Collaborative efforts to support and grow what works is the future.  Liam Krehbiel is spot on.

I’m very proud to be an advisory board member of A Better Chicago. Consider getting involved yourself.

Preventing the Spread of Ebola by Giving

As we get closer to the holiday season, we hope you’ll take the time to think about how you can make it better for some less fortunate people. The below organizations are in need of help. Please read more about them and consider helping out, especially with time-bound issue such as the Ebola outbreak.

Preventing the Spread of Ebola;   Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach

(708) 496-3900  Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach is a medical surplus recovery organization based in Chicago that has stepped up to address the worsening Ebola crisis in West Africa. In the last several years, Mission Outreach has worked with the Archdiocese of Chicago and Rotary International to establish relationships with medical facilities in Nigeria. Through these connections, the organizations have been able to Prevent the spread of Ebolatransport life-saving supplies to facilities struggling under Nigeria’s impover- ished healthcare system. Mission Outreach is asking individuals and companies across Chica- go for financial donations that will help transport supplies and protective gear to medical workers in Nigeria. Individuals and companies can make financial donations at mission-outreach.org.

Barbara J. Timmer Family Foundation

(312) 371-6566 |
The Barbara J. Timmer Family Foundation has been established in honor of mom, wife, sister, grandma and friend, Barb Timmer, who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) on October 5, 2011 and lost her battle with AML on November 7th, 2011. The purpose of the foundation is to raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia Research Foundation while remembering Barbara’s love and legacy. You can help raise awareness by supporting their annual walk in September or by donating items for their raffle. Monetary donations can be made on the organization’s website and raffle donations can be sent to The Barbara J. Timmer Foundation at 219 Austin Ave., Park Ridge, IL 60068. For more information please visit bar- barajtimmerfamilyfoundation.nationbuilder.com.

Art Therapy at  Music Institute of Chicago

Music Institute of Chicago847-448-8307 The Music Institute of Chicago (MIC) is one of the largest and most respected community music schools in the country. The school’s mission is to provide lifelong engagement with music through education for people of all skills and age levels. The school carries out its mission by providing music education for individuals whose opportunities are limited, and by supporting the growth of music therapy for individuals with special needs through the Institute for Therapy Through the Arts (ITA). ITA uses integrated arts to help children, adults and families improve functioning related to psycho- logical, developmental, cognitive and physical factors. The school uses monetary donations to help broaden access to musical instruction and clinical services in creative arts therapy. To make a donation or to learn more information, please visit the school’s website (musicinst.org/giving) or contact Sally Braybrooks at 847-448-8307.

Written by MAURA FLAHERTY at Make It Better

Join us as Make It Better Media Expands

Make it Better Magazine Hello Dear Readers,

With this November,  we not only celebrate the 5th anniversary of our print magazine Make It Better, but we also announce that we’re expanding our footprint beyond the North Shore into Chicago, awarding our 3rd Annual Philanthropy Awards in a live-blogged roadshow on November 14th, and celebrating those awards and the launch of a spectacular new website on November 18th with a party at 27 Live, an exciting entertainment venue in Evanston.

We know our readers of Make It BetterMake it Better Magazine Magazine; you are well-educated, affluent women who care passionately about family, community, helping others and finding the best resources for home, health, finances, fashion, education, dining and entertainment.  Our mission is to be the most trusted, easiest-to-use community resource that helps you make your life and the lives of others better—online, in print and in person. We’ve grown a wonderful community network of people, businesses and nonprofits by passionately honoring this mission, and for that we are grateful.

We invite you to join us by:

» Subscribing to our “Better Letter” email newsletter


  • »  Joining our social networks for Make It Better; Facebook , Twitter,  Pinterest .
  •     Reading our online version of Make It Better
  • »  Supporting our advertisers
  • »  Using all of our helpful online content and activities at makeitbetter.net
  • »  Making Make It Better a media sponsor of your upcoming fundraiser
  • »  Requesting to receive future issues of this magazine by subscribing here
  • »  Celebrating with us on November 18th
    You are important to Make It Better. Please contact me anytime to learn more at susan@makeitbetter.net or please find me on Facebook, LinkedIN, and Twitter.Make it better magazine

Make A Difference Day; October 25th 2014

Mark Your Calendars to Make A Difference

Many of us spend the last days of October wrapped up in spooky party decorations, clever children’s costumes and colossal candy bowls.

What you might not know is that there is another national holiday the weekend just before All Hallows’ Eve that focuses solely on community service. It’s called Make A Difference Day.

Make A Difference Day is Saturday, Oct. 25 and holds the title as the largest national day of community service. The holiday was created 20 years ago through a collaboration of Points of Light and USA Weekend Magazine. From building bird enclosures for wildlife in Alabama to sorting stuffed animals for children who have suffered through crises in San Diego, people are coming together across the U.S. to address issues they see in their communities.

All community projects entered on the Make A Difference Day website will be entered into the running for a $10,000 grant from Newman’s Own. A panel of judges will select 14 winners who will receive the grant money for their project’s favorite charity along with a feature in USA Weekend’s April 2015 magazine.

You can start a project online or volunteer for one of these local projects already scheduled for Oct. 25:

What: The Volunteer Center’s One-Day Collection Drive

Where: Indian Hill Train Station Parking Lot, Green Bay Road and Winnetka Avenue, Winnetka

When: Saturday, Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to noon

The Volunteer Center is participating in its 10th Make A Difference Day and is collecting everything from outerwear, shoes and boots to school supplies, Halloween costumes and bicycles. The items will be donated to 17 local nonprofits, including New Trier Township Food Pantry, Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association and Connections for the Homeless. The center is asking volunteers to donate food, clothing and household items and to help count and distribute all of the collected items. For more information, visit The Volunteer Center’s website.


What: Assistance League Children’s Book Drive

Where: Assistance League of Chicagoland West, 120 E. Ogden Ave., Hinsdale

When: Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Assistance League of Chicagoland West is just one of 93 Assistance League chapters across the country who will collect new books for children in literacy programs and reading clubs on Oct. 25. Assistance League was selected as one of the Make A Difference Day winners in 2013, collecting more than 103,000 books for children. The organization is asking volunteers to collect new children’s books, deliver the books to recipients and collect impact photos and stories of the recipients. For more information, visit the organization’s website or call 630-321-2529.


What: Neighbor-to-Neighbor

Where: The Patrick Sullivan Apartments, 1633 W. Madison St., Chicago

When: Saturday, Oct. 25 from noon to 3 p.m.

Twin sisters Anita and Danita Ivory will lead a project to provide meals to more than 470 senior citizens at the Patrick Sullivan Apartments on Oct. 25 in a service project they call “Neighbor-to-Neighbor.” The Patrick Sullivan apartment complex is a Chicago Housing Authority low-income senior citizen residence located on the near west side of Chicago. This year marks the 20th year that the sisters have participated in Make A Difference Day. They hope to raise awareness to the plight of vulnerable individuals who are food insecure, meaning they have limited funds that may cause them to miss meals. The sisters are looking for volunteers who can help collect canned goods, set up tables, cook and serve the food. For more information, call Anita at 773-344-2947.

Origin of Make it Better

IDENTIFYING, CGivingREATING, CONNECTING AND AMPLIFYING:  such helpful activity is at the heart of Make It Better. We are not just a magazine; we are a community resource. Every reader, advertiser and participant is important to this grow- ing, thriving network that strives to help.

Make It Better started as a website idea and magazine column in the late North Shore Magazine. The first column— in May 2006—highlighted inspiring individuals who founded nonprofits which foster dramatic change for the better. This included Dick and Susie Kiphart for their work building wells, schools and better health care in Ghana.Arts Alliance Illinois

Since then the Kipharts have created, given, and grown so much more—in Chicago, in the arts, in education, for the world. They recently received significant awards for this from the Arts Alliance Illinois and the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Chicago. Better yet, they’re chairing an ambitious plan to put arts back in every CPS classroom.


While the Kipharts grew as visionary philanthropists, Make It Better grew as a visionary community resource— online, in print and in person. We even bought North Shore magazine in 2009!


Now, we not only write about (and for) inspiring people, we also:

• Make it easier for you to support beloved community businesses and nonprofits.

• Connect to the best community resources for family, home, health, finances, food, fashion, education and entertainment

• Provide unparalleled support for and amplification of nonprofit fundraisingCommunity resources

• Create content for every medium—including events, video and social networks—and deliver it where our audience prefers to read, watch, use and enjoy.

Talk about a vibrant community! To help you understand all the ways our media can help you and others, check out the helpful illustration accompanying this piece.

And please talk back, shop or otherwise participate at makeitbetter.net. Your voice, dollars and ideas are important. The more you participate in Make It Better Media, the stronger this valuable community resource will become.