Give Time, Things, Support: 8 Ways to Give Back Around Chicago This Spring

We are so ready to come out of hibernation — those spring temps have to be on their way soon, right? What better way to get out and enjoy the thaw than by doing something to give back? Read on for easy ways to make a difference this spring in Chicago and beyond.

Give Time

Chicago Botanic Garden

Give Time, Things, Support: Chicago Botanic Garden

With spring right around the corner, you’re probably looking for ways to enjoy the great outdoors — volunteering at Chicago Botanic Garden is a perfect way to do that. Learn more about what is expected of volunteers and fill out a volunteer interest form on the garden’s website.

Give Things


Starting your spring cleaning early, or just binge-watching Marie Kondo? Use our donation guide to find the best place to donate toys, clothing, electronics, books, and more.

Give Support

Celebrate Highwood

This nonprofit operates some of the North Shore’s biggest summer events, including North Shore Pride Fest and Bloody Mary Fest, but it’s also committed to supporting local charities. Learn more about how much money has been raised for local organizations like Make-A-Wish Illinois and Midwest Young Artists Conservatory and donate online.

Emerald City Theatre

Give Time, Things, Support: Emerald City Theatre
Chicago Public Schools students received a personal copy of “Knuffle Bunny” when they saw Emerald City Theatre’s production.

This nonprofit theater company wants to instill a love of reading into every Chicago Public Schools students. To do this, ECT’s One Fund gives early readers in under-resourced schools a chance to see a play for free and then take home a copy of the book the play is based off of. A $20 donation provides one ticket and one book to one child. A $600 donation serves an entire classroom. Donations can be made online or mailed to One Fund, Emerald City Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., 3rd Floor, Chicago, IL 60657.

Oak-Leyden Developmental Services

Give Time, Things, Support: Oak-Leyden Developmental Services
Voices of Oak-Leyden, a choir composed entirely of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who attend Oak-Leyden Lifelong Learning programs, perform in their community.

The mission of this organization is “to help children and adults with developmental disabilities meet life’s challenges and reach their highest potential.” Your monetary donation will support Oak-Leyden’s work providing supportive housing, day programming, job search resources, and more. Donations can be made online or checks can be mailed to 411 Chicago Ave., Oak Park, IL 60304.

Open Studio Project

The mission of Open Studio Project is “to utilize and bring the creative process to individuals of all ages and backgrounds, to empower people to turn art for personal growth, and to be of service to the community.” Monetary donations would be greatly appreciated, especially for general operating costs, the Social and Emotional Learning Art Curriculum, and the Lilith Scholarship Fund, which supports people with special needs or adults who cannot otherwise afford art classes. Donations can be made by emailing the Business Manager at or mailing checks to 903 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL 60202.


Give Time, Things, Support: UNICEF USA
Eradicating polio has been Rotary’s top goal for more than 30 years, and alongside UNICEF and partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, they’ve achieved a 99.9 percent reduction in polio cases.

UNICEF works to provide health care, clean water, education, emergency relief, and more in 190 countries and territories in order to “put children first.” On April 6, UNICEF USA will host the UNICEF Gala Chicago to raise funds for the organization’s work improving the lives of vulnerable children. Rotary International will also receive the UNICEF Children First Award.

Women in the Know

Give Time, Things, Support: Women in the Know
Women in the Know’s Amie Marks, founder, conducts a learning session.

Originally created to host forums that allowed women to discuss current events and topics in an educational setting, Women in the Know has also become a nonprofit with a mission to raise money for organizations supporting women and children. On March 8, International Women’s Day, join Women in the Know for its 2019 benefit, Luck Be a Lady Tonight, at Lake Forest Club. Proceeds will benefit Bridge to Success and Guitars Over Guns.

Anna Carlson writes the weekly Weekend 101 column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of the University of Missouri, her work has been published in Chicago Parent, Inside Columbia Magazine, and Central California Parent Magazine. She is a proud supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital






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