One of the country’s last remaining community centers, Gorton, a nonprofit organization in Lake Forest, appears to be in danger of closing its doors.
The Board of Directors is appealing to the community for $250,000 in cash donations by Thursday, August 5.
Donations should be made payable to Gorton Community Center and either mailed or directly delivered to Gorton at 400 East Illinois Road, Lake Forest, IL. Gorton receives no tax dollars.
That money will keep the center open, with reduced services and staff, through the end of the year.
“In essence, this is a referendum asking if Gorton is of relevance, importance and value to our community,” says Marty Preiss, Gorton’s executive director.
The cash donations are the short-term solution to Gorton’s fiscal crisis, which necessitated the layoffs of 16 personnel on July 12. Long term, the board will commence re-evaluating all programs and services for financial sustainability and increasing user support. Particular priority will be given to maintaining the operations of Gorton Children’s Drop-In Center.
“Since Monday, the outcry from parent supporters of the Drop-In Center illustrated to the board how important these childcare services are to the community. It gives us evidence and hope that others feel the same way about our additional programs and services,” says Stevie Romanoff Boggess, chair of the Gorton Community Center board of directors.
“The Board is committed to solving Gorton’s long-term issues, but we have to know the residents of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and beyond will support the institution right now,” Boggess says.
In the meantime, Gorton Community Center remains open to its tenants, facility rental reservations, current program users and scheduled classes.