As we go to press with the turmoil of the election behind us and promising news of a vaccine on the horizon, it feels safe to say the worst of 2020 is over. We breathe a collective sigh of relief and launch the healing work needed to Come Together again, better and stronger than ever. Covid-19 may stifle some of our traditional holiday plans, but we still have much to celebrate this season.
Spotlighting the individuals and organizations who leaned in to face the year’s many challenges head on seemed the best place to start. The 200 Better Makers featured on the cover poignantly demonstrate Chicagoland’s “can do” spirit in the face of seemingly impossible hardship. In this issue, we tell the stories of six of 2020’s most impactful Forces for Change, individuals making a difference in the city and suburbs and giving us reasons to feel inspired and hopeful for the future.
While the pandemic has put a damper on some of our favorite ways to celebrate the season, many of our favorite traditions—cooking, gift-giving, and giving back—are not canceled. This month, you’ll find our annual holiday gift guide, the year’s best cookbooks, ways to see the lights around Chicago and suburbs, and our Guide to Giving. These pages are packed with ways to keep your traditions alive while supporting local businesses and the community you love.
Peculiar to this inflection point in the economy, now is also a wise time for many families to give greater thought to their financial future. Here, you’ll find advice and questions to consider in discussions of family assets and transition plans. Having these important conversations gives families opportunities to share stories and values while listening to the hopes and dreams of loved ones. These connecting conversations can help to establish a more meaningful legacy than actual finances do.
Now more than ever, with the world changing by the minute, you will find our most timely and robust content online. If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to our Better Letter email newsletter at better.net/subscribe and follow us on your favorite social networks.
We’re very grateful to you, our readers, for your continuing interest in and support of Better. We hope that we help you put the trials of 2020 behind you as you celebrate the holidays and ring in 2021—and the promise of better days—with hope. As always, we welcome you to email us with your thoughts, suggestions, and concerns.
We wish you and yours happy holidays and great joy in 2021.
Featured on our cover:
Book Bin Northbrook
Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center
My Block, My Hood, My City
Hester Painting & Decorating
A Just Harvest
Better Sister and Brother Growth Network
Girls in the Game
YWCA Evanston/North Shore
Flower Shop of Glencoe
Greater Chicago Food Depository
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
American Red Cross of Greater Chicago
Lexington Betty Smoke House
Zen Yoga Garage
Ed Wehmer, CEO/Co-Founder Wintrust Bank
Arlen Music Productions
Arne Duncan & Chicago CRED
Village Treasure House
Rush University Medical Center
Chicago Children’s Theatre
Heather Headley & Lyric Opera
Northwestern Memorial Hospital & Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital
Monique Jones, President and CEO of Forefront
Wags on Willow
Ric Estrada, President and CEO of Metropolitan Family Services
Northshore University HealthSystem
You Said It: Chicago’s North Shore Stands Together Though the Challenges of the Pandemic
Kate Maehr, CEO of Greater Chicago Food Depository
Madison Muller & Vashon Jordan Jr.
Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation
Loyola University Medical Center
Leesi B Cosmetics
Sallie Krawcheck & Ellevest
Rotary Club of Evanston
A Safe Haven
Bernie’s Book Bank
Andreas Hogue Salon
Liz Thompson, Founder and President of The Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education
Read our digital issue here:
More from Better:
- Let’s Brunch: Italian Baked Eggs and Grapefruit, Champagne, and Vodka Spritz — Recipes from Belinda Smith-Sullivan’s New Cookbook
- The Ultimate Family Finance Guide: Expert Advice to Navigate Money Matters Together
- Inside the Minds of MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant Winners Monika Schleier-Smith and Forrest Stuart