Beyond Borders: An Evening Celebrating Diversity in Oak Park


On September 20, residents, local leaders, and advocates will come together for an extraordinary evening to celebrate our diverse community and the remarkable work of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center. This year’s benefit will be held at the iconic Unity Temple, a national historic landmark and Frank Lloyd Wright’s only surviving public building from his Prairie period.

Founded in 1972, the Oak Park Regional Housing Center offers free resources to housing seekers and housing providers. Their services include apartment referrals, technical assistance to property managers, fair housing training, education, research and advocacy, and homeownership and credit counseling. As if this group doesn’t do enough, all of their services are designed to bolster and sustain the legacy of diversity in Oak Park. In case you aren’t aware, the Housing Center also birthed this very publication, The Oak Parker Magazine!

This year’s theme, Beyond Borders, highlights the Housing Center’s achievements in strengthening their partnerships with communities around Oak Park and throughout the region. Their newest program to support this effort, Austin Ascending, promotes Austin as a desirable community where people of all races can live together and value each other. The Housing Center is also developing a campaign to help municipalities tailor the Housing Center’s programs to the unique needs of their residents and community.

Between the tastings of eclectic hors d’oeuvres created by local chef Su Jang, guests can explore the exterior terraces, Unity House, and the main Unity Temple. From now until the close of the event, supporters also have the opportunity to win exciting raffle items: iPad Mini, Flavour Cooking School gift certificate, Chicago Symphony Orchestra main floor tickets, a fitness tracker, Autre Monde Cafe gift certificate, a tour and $50 gift certificate to Rhine Hall Distillery, tickets for Sharon Van Etten and Tiny Ruins at Thalia Hall, and tickets for the Oak Park Festival Theater 2015 season.

Every year, the Housing Center honors two individuals who have shown exemplary leadership in the community and support of the organization. This year the Roberta Raymond Founder’s Award for Commitment to Diversity will go to John Hedges, former village trustee and leader of the Park District of Oak Park. The second awardee, Louise Varnes, will be recognized for her 40 years of service to diversity. Louise is a dedicated supporter and has the longest tenure of any staff member of the Housing Center.

This refreshing bash is sure to be a hit. Notable photographer Eileen Moloney will capture the magical moments of the evening, which will be published here on The Oak Parker. They’ve also invited neighbors who have used the Housing Center’s services to share testimonies of their experience and to mingle with the movers and shakers of our community. Want to learn more about diversity in Oak Park and connect with this amazing organization? Buy your tickets today!

Click here for more information about the Annual Benefit, and to buy tickets.