Part 1; Best Annual MIB Supported Chicago Fundraisers

2013 MIB Philanthropy Awards

North Shore philanthropists use their love of big ideas, unique experiences, family fun, great home design, fashion, drop-dead glamour and ladies lunches to support a plethora of excellent causes. Over the next eight days, I’ll give you a sneak peak at Make It Better’s list of top annual fundraisers supported by our audience.  Of course, we’re starting with the annual events for the nonprofits who won our 2013 Philanthropy Awards.

See the full list of winners here. Please click on each organization to view their fantastic work and see the video we awarded each organization, within each links;

(Watch our Video of the 2013 MIB Philanthropy Awards Here)

If you are looking for a special experience tied to a good cause to support, we recommend any of them to you too. Stay tuned over for the next seven posts to cover fabulous NFP organizations in the following categories;

Service & Schools

Ladies Luncheons

Top25 Galas Supported by the North Shore

For Fashionistas

For Families

Art, Antiques & Home Decor

Fabulous Experience Auctions

Please subscribe to the blog to be sure you don’t miss this series. Thanks!

A Future Stronger Than The Empty Nest

My youngest child, Emma, will be a freshman at Harvard this fall.

Emma Noyes in the graduation dress made by her sister, Skatie.

Emma’s good news could have been my bad news because of the Empty Nest Syndrome. Fortunately though, my future as a publisher and social entrepreneur is too exciting to dwell much on this loss.

For this, I particularly thank John Lavine and Tim Bingaman.

About eight years ago, I asked Lavine to mentor me through a newly found calling to become a publisher. He had sold a publishing empire, founded Northwestern University’s Media Management Center and successfully reorganized Medill School of Journalism as it’s Dean.

John Lavine, Director of Northwestern University Media Management Center

Lavine agreed on the condition that I accept simple principles – prioritize online, identify an audience, and honor what it wants. For these reasons, Make It Better was born May 1, 2007 as a little website for North Shore women. It’s mission – to be the most trusted, easiest to use community resource that helps make life better for our audience and the businesses and nonprofits they support.

We called it Make It Better because that’s the innate inclination of this audience; helping is their most common denominator and the overarching connector of their collective lives. They make it better for their children, parents, husbands, friends, schools, churches, synagogues, less privileged others, book groups, sports teams, favorite nonprofits…etc. If – and only if – there is any time left over, they try to make it better for themselves too.

This year, we completed our first official audit by the Circulation Verification Council (CVC), which is run by 15 of the largest advertisers in the country and annually audits publications representing over 70 million readers. A readership audit is not an easy process. Imagine willingly inviting the IRS in to examine all your business.

Fortunately, our audit results were spectacularly good. Our valuable audience loves Make It Better. No hyperbole.

In fact, the audit data was so remarkable that the CEO of CVC, Tim Bingaman, asked to personally guide us through the good news and recommend a simple, rocket-fueled path to growth.

Tim Bingaman, CEO of the Circulation Verification Council (CVC).

When is the last time a CEO of an organization serving 70 million called you out of the blue and volunteered to help? This request caught our attention.

In short, our audience of affluent, educated women far exceeds national and North Shore norms. Because these women control their hhi budgets, they are uber valuable to advertisers.

Bingaman’s words energized me and our talented staff. I hope to thank him for them in person some day. In the meantime though, I’m also using them to focus on building an even better future as an almost empty nester.

Nonetheless, please don’t hold it against me this fall, if you ask me about my kids and detect a hint of tears at the edge of my answer.

Women Are Blazing Trails And Throwing Ladders Down Just To Help

“Women owned and women led businesses all over the globe are taking off at quite a nice clip.  Women are blazing trails and throwing ladders down just to make it better for other women too.” – Susan Rounds, Senior Vice President, Senior Director of Planning, Business Advisory Services, Wells Fargo Bank

Women Business Leaders Awards at the North Shore Womens Business Conference

Now is the perfect time to be a woman!

6 Easy Ways To Fight Hunger On The North Shore

Believe it or not, one in five children within just a few miles of us–in Lake and Cook counties–are considered severely underfed. The following six organizations and events make it very easy for you to help these kids:

What: Northfield Township Food Pantry Sip and Shop

Where: J. McLaughlin, 567 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka

When: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

What: Hunger Resource Network Community Outreach Day

Where: Parking lot of Sunset Foods, 1127 Church St., Northbrook

When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 7-10 a.m.

What: The Volunteer Center Make A Difference Day

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

When: Saturday, Oct. 26, 9 a.m. to noon

What: Beef4Hunger Veteran’s Day Mobile Food Pantry

Where: 200 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Waukegan

When: Monday, Nov. 11, 9:30 a.m.-noon

What: New Trier Township Food Pantry

Where: Township office, 739 Elm St., Winnetka

When: Weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What: COOL Food Pantry

Where: Pantry East is located at 127 W. water St. in Waukegan and Pantry West is located at 25519 W. Highway 134 in Ingleside.

What: Donations can be made Mondays from 1-5 and Tues, Wed, Thurs and Fri from 10-2.

Important Note: Thanks to Diane Thackston for the COOL information

Learn more about all six here.

Weave Yourself Into History and Connect With Great Women Through the Tiffany Circle of American Red Cross

Everyone has a Red Cross story, be it through disaster relief, blood drives, volunteer opportunities or classes, the American Red Cross (ARC) is deeply woven into our society. It holds a significant place in American history too. Who doesn’t learn about Clara Barton, first female federal employee and Founder of the American Red Cross, as a rite of passage through school?

Now you can connect with great women of our day and weave yourself into the fabric of ARC by joining its Tiffany Circle of women. Learn more here.

Here are some of the current North Shore Tiffany Circle members:

Members (left to right) Front row: Jan Tratnik, Fran Edwardson, Susan Noyes, Karen Teller (of Boston, featured speaker at a recent Tiffany Circle event); Middle row: Jana Schreuder, Sue Brenner, Cynthia Werts, Karen Hindman, Mary Pat Studdert, Susan Gallagher; Back row: Claudia Wolf, Aileen Blake, Kim Macpherson, Ginger Hellwarth, Alex Marren;
North Shore members not included: Virginia Blankenbaker, Alexandra Nichols, Cate Waddell.

And here is an example of how the Tiffany Circle can connect you with great women from around our country and the world.

And, of course, the Tiffany jewelry is a fun perk too:

Love a Local Business? Please Help It By Voting Now

Last chance to vote. 

If you love a local business, you can help get the good word out about it to the entire North Shore and beyond by voting in Make It Better’s Best Of 2013 contest. It’s easy and you can even win prizes if you take the time to do this.

But voting ends shortly. So please stop what you’re doing and vote now. It’s easy and fast to do. I promise. Just click here and have fun.

Bird Lady, Friends, and the Migration Of Millions

The Bird Lady of Ryerson Woods. Costume designed by Ryerson Woods staff.

At last night’s Friends of Ryerson Woods 30th Anniversary celebration, we learned that millions–no exaggeration, millions–of birds like the ones featured on the costume above migrate at night through the North Shore each spring and fall. Internationally renowned expert Kenn Kaufman charmed the audience with his passion and knowledge of bird migration.

For example, tiny, four-inch-long warblers, weighing no more than one ounce, fly thousands of miles, from Argentina to the Arctic Circle, stopping to rest in our trees during the day. The best time to see them is at day break–they fly just above the trees looking for a place to rest during daylight.

We also learned that the Friends Of Ryerson Woods is a wonderful organization to support for many reasons. We particularly appreciate its collaboration with Mano A Mano in order to encourage Ryerson Woods’s use by under-resourced youth.  This provides access to and education about nature, conservation and art that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Me, Kate Sackman, Bird Lady of Ryerson Woods, Ellen Stirling

Many thanks to Ellen Stirling for including us. We will be proud to help amplify this wonderful organization’s work going forward.

Kids in Strong Families Thrive, Families Well-Connected to their Communities Stay Strong

Jordan Friedman knows about strong families and good communities. He is the Executive Director of the Family Network of Highland Park, which is part of the Family Focus network. Learn more in the video above.

Back in the day – soon after we moved to the North Shore – I took our two young sons to Family Focus on Green Bay Road in Evanston. We met Sheila Nielsen and her two daughters, who were exactly the same age as my sons. That connection was like a giant hug! And their friendship continues to strengthen us to this day.

Thank you Family Focus.

One Fun Step For League Members = One Giant Leap For Needy New Mothers

The largest new member class in the history of the Junior League of North Shore Evanston (JLNSE) is about to provide a giant leap forward in life for 15 needy new mothers struggling with difficult issues like domestic abuse or depression.

This JLNSE group worked, played and fund-raised for the last six months to create the “Baby Steps” Luncheon being held for the 4th consecutive year at North Shore University Health System’s Evanston Hospital.

The new mothers will receive new nursery and layette items, including the paintings made at one of the fundraisers, and advice from North Shore University Health System’s experts at the Luncheon.

Learn more here.

The diverse and fun-loving JLNSE new member group, holding murals that will hang in the “Baby Steps” nurseries. They group painted them as one of their fundraising events.

Love This Zen This Season (and next)

the zen of slow cooking

mindful. nourishing. relevant. simple. delicious

North Shore native Meg Barnhart and Chicago transplant Jane McKay publish The Zen of Slow Cooking: to “help you create success in the kitchen by simple, straightforward, whole food recipes prepared in 20 minutes or less” but also to encourage you to take time to enjoy – yourself, your family, creation and your family dinner table.

I particularly like their post on setting a nice table for family dinners. Anything to get my family to settle in and enjoy each other’s company works for me – but something beautiful is better!