This is our favorite time of year at Better, and it’s not just because the leaves are about to paint the Midwest in beautiful hues of yellow and red. What we really love is producing this issue each year and celebrating the winners of our annual Best Of competition.
We were blown away by the number of votes cast, more than 120,000, to select reader favorites in food, philanthropy, fitness, fashion and more. It’s our top voter turnout in at least five years. Thank you! We are so grateful to you, our loyal readers, for your participation and recommendations.
We’ve learned over the years that our readers are rarely wrong, and it’s always fun for us to see which of your favorites rise to the top. Be sure to check out the winners and some of our staff picks as well.
Another reason we love this issue and our annual contest is that it reminds us to look back at other ways our work on your behalf has evolved and improved. You might recall that we launched our website in 2007, print magazine in 2009 and grew support for them through innovative media sponsorship fundraising techniques on behalf of local nonprofits. We published online stories which brought their mission to life and promoted their events. We donated $5 for every new subscriber to our email newsletter “Better Letter” which each organization generated too.
We kept track of the amount of money our campaigns helped the nonprofits raise. We also counted the number of lives made better by our work – and included audience, satisfied marketing partners and the people helped by the funds which our nonprofit campaigns raised. We stopped announcing this publicly many years ago though.
Our innovative digital strategies and mission to be as helpful to our audience and partners as possible was ideal for pandemic times. We soon found ourselves working with more powerful and helpful organizations than ever — growing audience, business and donations to causes which our entire team is incredibly proud to support. In the digital world there are only two degrees of separation between you and anyone working with Better, SPACES, Marin & our Make It Better Foundation too. So, we decided to reignite counting lives made better by our work across the entire company and the money that we’ve helped raise from nonprofits starting January 2020.
You are such an important part of this success that we proudly share these numbers publicly again. And we promise to update them each month. As of the time this print issue was sent to press, since Jan. 1, 2020, Make It Better Media Group and our engaged readers and audience members like you have generated this incredible impact:
$5.5 Million Raised for Nonprofits
17 Million Lives Made Better
Your attention, your subscriptions/follows/shares/comments, your Best Of 2021 votes are incredibly valuable. Thanks for trusting Better to help you make your life, your community and the lives of others better too.
We are grateful for you!
Susan B. Noyes, Founder & Chief Visionary Officer
Patrick Regan, Editorial Director
Featured in this issue:
- Illinois Holocaust Museum’s Shanghai Exhibit Depicts Largely Unknown Tale of Escape from the Nazis
- Q&A: Evanston’s New Mayor Daniel Biss Talks Recovery From The Pandemic, Affordable Housing and Social Justice
- Wilmette Mayor Senta Plunkett Talks Favorite Spots and Plans to Expand Downtown
- Glencoe’s Mayor Howard Roin Shares What’s Special About the Chicago Suburb
- Village President Greg Lungmus Discusses All Things Northfield
- Q&A: Kenilworth Village President Cecily Kaz Talks Plans, Priorities and Her Perfect Day in Kenilworth
- Shop Local: Fall Must-Haves from Chicago-Area Stores
- New in Town: Inventive Mexican in Oak Brook and Lake Forest, a Skincare Destination in Hubbard Woods, and More
- We’re Over 50 and Use Botox and Fillers (and Tried Other Stuff Too) — Here’s our Report
- ‘Pack a Yummy Lunch’ — Advice from First Graders to the Incoming Kindergarten Class
- We Asked, You Voted! Introducing Your Best of 2021 Chicago and Suburbs Winners…
- Spotlight: A Few of Our Favorite Best Of 2021 Winners
- This Running Method Will Help You Train for Any Race from 5K to Marathon — and Avoid Injury
- A Perfect Fall Weekend in Madison: What to Do, Where to Eat and Where to Stay
- Breckenridge: What to Do, Where to Eat and Where to Stay
- Tour a Lincoln Park Home That Went From Bland to Brilliant
- Back-to-School Home Decor: Cool Desks, Bookcases and More for Kids and Adults
- The Kid’s Bedroom in This Easygoing Chicago Condo Will Make You Wish You Never Grew Up
- 2021 Private School Guide
- Chicago Private Schools Answer Your Questions: Learn About Their Academic Philosophies, Curriculums and More
- Pack a Perfect Picnic: 10 Chicago and North Shore Restaurants and Markets With Great Food to Go
- Get to Know Your Local Bakers and Confectioners: 5 Farmers Market Dessert Vendors
- Better Makers: The Night Ministry Spotlights Human Connection to Combat Homelessness and Poverty
- Children’s Home & Aid Focuses on Breaking Barriers During Annual Event
- Meet the Chicago Area’s Leaders in Design, Health, Philanthropy, Business and More: Faces of Success 2021
Read our digital issue here:
More from Better:
- Chicago Author Dawn Turner Talks New Memoir ‘Three Girls from Bronzeville,’ the Importance of Sisterhood, Second Chances, and Helping Those in Need
- On the Market: 5 Gorgeous Coastal Properties in Washington State, Maine, Rhode Island and More
- 12 Gifts for Book Lovers: What to Buy the Bookworm in Your Life