Catholic Charities Gifts Stolen by Thieves


Catholic Charities Hit by Thieves: Need Replacement Gifts

The Catholic Charities Christmas Gift Program, which last year provided gifts for nearly 15,000 of Lake County’s neediest citizens, is in dire need of donors again this year. This adopt-a-family program primarily matches children and limited-income seniors with donor families who want to make a difference in the lives of society’s marginalized population.

Thieves recently broke into the program’s storage facility and stole all of last year’s unclaimed gifts earmarked as this year’s starter inventory. Anyone wishing to purchase gifts for a family this December can call Jim Wogan or Barbara Campbell at 847-782-4210 or e-mail Generic gifts and/or gift cards to replace the stolen items can be dropped off at or mailed to the Catholic Charities Bernardin Center at 671S.LewisAve.,Waukegan, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

847-782-4210 |

COCO KEEVAN, for Make It Better

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 Openlands Also, please watch an overview video on Openlands.


Part 1: Author Harry Kraemer’s Values-Based Leadership

Harry KraemerBy focusing on values and leadership, Wilmette father of five Harry Kraemer quickly rose through the management ranks of Baxter International to ultimately serve as Chairman and CEO. He retired from Baxter ten years ago, at age 49, to become a Managing Partner at private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners and also a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, where he teaches growing numbers of MBA students each quarter about values-based leadership.

His life’s example and his lectures so inspire the Kellogg students, that they convinced Kraemer to write From Values to ActionFrom Values To Action – The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership.” Kraemer funnels all proceeds from the book, related lectures and seminars to the nonprofit One Acre Fund. The fund was founded by his ’06 Kellogg student Andrew Youn. It’s mission is to help African subsistence farmers lift themselves out of poverty and hunger.

Kraemer’s message and One Acre Fund relationship has created a powerful virtuous circle of successful human development.  He lives his life focusing on the values and activities about which he is most passionate. This influences future leaders and grows a successful nonprofit model. This success further grows Kraemer’s influence, producing additional opportunities for Kraemer to share his values-based message.  It’s a win for Kraemer and a win for those who learn from him. It’s a win for the world.

In brief, Kraemer’s four most essential principles for aspiring leaders are:

Self-Reflection – “The ability to reflect and identify what you stand for, what your values are, and what matters most.”

Balance – “The ability to see situations from multiple perspectives, including differing viewpoints, to gain a holistic understanding.”

True Self-Confidence – “More than mastery of certain skills, [it] enables you to accept yourself as you are, recognizing your strengths and your weaknesses, and focusing on continuous improvement.”

Genuine Humility –  “The ability to never forget who you are, to appreciate the value of each person in the organization, and to treat everyone respectfully.”

One Acre FundBy regularly referring to these principles, individuals not only develop into their best selves, they inspire others to do the same thing.

To help promote a CrowdRise online fundraiser The Social Entrepreneur’s Challenge hosted by the Skull Foundation for the One Acre Fund,

Lyric Opera Chicago Celebrates 60 Years

With my hostess, Liz Stiffle in her stunning new Oscar De La Renta ball gown, and internationally acclaimed soprano Susan GrahamThis weekend we had the pleasure of attending this 60th Anniversary party for the Lyric Opera Chicago. I’ve been active on the Women’s Board of the Lyric for years and was honored to be part of this celebration. Enjoy the visual journey below. Here’s an overview of the event;

lyric opera chicago's 60thTo commemorate Lyric’s first sixty years a historic concert was held, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, emceed by comedic genius, Jane Lynch. The event also featuring world-renowned improv comedy troupe The Second CityJane Lynch, Renée Fleming, jazz legend Ramsey Lewis, Susan Graham, Ana María Martínez, Johan Botha, Eric Owens, Samuel Ramey, and members of the Ryan Opera Center and the Lyric Opera Orchestra.

JAC_8891-3664500533-O dessert presentation




Please Help Bring Back Monarch Butterflies!

Monarch ButterfliesPlease help bring back Monarch Butterflies, Goldfinches & More:
UIC and @Friends of the GreenBay Trail looking for corporate (CSR) funds. Please send their way

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.

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