A Culture of Giving Back – A Snapshot of GLC’s 2023 Day of Giving

During our January 2023 team-building activity, we had the opportunity to create more than just content — we built community connections with local businesses. Each team was given a cash envelope with approximately $300. The challenge: Spend it any way you see fit. Here’s how one team approached the challenge.

Pay It Forward

We wanted people in the community to decide for whom we could pay it forward. So we used our lifeline and phoned a friend (Mark Hallett, a civic leader in Chicagoland and director of grant-making at the Illinois Humanities Council) and asked: “How would you pay it forward in the Evanston community?”

That’s how we met Kim Vigue, executive director of the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian.

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

Just as we walked into the museum, a lightbulb went out (on the student mural, that is).

The $100 paid for the light repair and to support programs such as their indigenous garden and the new missing and murdered Indigenous women exhibit.

Then we asked Kim, “How would you pay it forward in the Evanston community?”

“That’s easy,” she said. “Go to Curt’s Cafe.”

Curt’s Cafe

At Curt’s Cafe, it’s all about dining with a purpose, says John Thomas, general manager. Dining there supports workforce training education and programs for at-risk youth in the Chicagoland community.

While ordering coffee, we met a young man with Asperger’s who told us about his interests in coding, and has aspirations to be a security guard and police officer. His family told him that he would never be able to hold down a job, but he found a place at Curt’s.

Then we asked the store manager, “How would you pay $100 forward in the Evanston community?” He said “Park School” a school for special needs kids just down the street, because his brother with special needs attended there.

Park School

Just as the school buses were picking up kids at Park School, we arrived and delivered the remaining $100 to Principal Jill Andersen.

They were having a school party in a week, and would be purchasing supplies and raffle prizes.

Paying it forward doesn’t stop here. GLC has been “adopting” students from Hampton Elementary, a CPS school on the southwest side of the city, for each holiday season. We’ve had this wonderful partnership since 2017, and each year we help deliver gifts and joy to so many children. We are so grateful to be a part of these kids’ lives, and they are so incredibly thankful. For a lot of them, these are the only gifts they will receive. Check out our post to see how we celebrated the holidays with Hampton kids in 2022.