January 4, 2018

Giving artfully: where to donate art supplies in Chicago

Filed under: Community Outreach,Design & Art — Tags: , , , , , , — lidia @ 4:00 pm

Editor’s note: this post was originally posted in January 2011 and is regularly updated to include new resources

If you (or your kids) love working on art and craft projects, you’re bound to end up with lots of supplies that you no longer need. Don’t let all that good stuff go to waste: donate it!

After a recent office move, I loaded up my car with boxes of paper, books and art supplies and distributed them among several local organizations (as well as my son’s school). I had less items to move and I felt good knowing that a student, teacher or artist would make good use of the supplies—it was a win-win!

Where to donate?

There are several organizations in the Chicagoland area that accept donations of new and gently-used art, craft and design supplies and books. I have donated to these organizations and can attest to the good feeling that comes along with sharing with those in need—especially right here in my own community.

Creative Pitch

Creative Pitch (Chicago, IL) collects donations of paper, classroom and art supplies and distributes them to local teachers in need. My paper habit (obsession) leaves me with stacks of unused paper—which is put to good use by the Creative Pitch team. I’m proud to be a Creative Pitch supporter for many years. See their donation list.

Inklude Studio

Inklude Studio (Downers Grove, IL) offers an open, creative, and collaborative studio environment for adult artists with autism and other developmental challenges. They welcome donations of art supplies, fabric & sewing materials and photography or computer equipment that can be used in their programs. See their donation list.

The WasteShed

The WasteShed (Chicago, IL) is a creative reuse center that collects art and craft materials and makes them available in their retail store to artists, students, teachers and anyone else at a low price. Their store is a treat to visit and they also host art events. See their donation list.

Upcycling Colors

Upcycling Colors (Chicago, IL) collects leftover, used and unneeded art, craft and school supplies and reconditions them into attractive “like new” kits for children in need. They collect everyhting from paper and pens to loose puzzle pieces and toys. They have several drop-off locations across the city. See their donation list.

Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange (CCRx)

Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange (CCRx) is a start-up nonprofit dedicated to creative reuse. They take surplus materials headed to the landfill, and put them in the hands of educators, artists, and community groups. See their donation list.

Open Books

Open Books (Chicago, IL) provides books and literacy programs to children throughout Chicago. Funding of their programs comes in large part from the sale of donated books in their stores. This is a great place to donate your art, design and craft books (and don’t be surprised if you walk out with a few books after dropping off your donations!) See their donation guidelines.

Making your efforts count

As a veteran “donater”, I can share a good way to manage donations (and get more organized, to boot!). Label a cardboard box in your office “art donations.” Once a week, go through your office drawers, cabinets and shelves. As you come across items you no longer need (but are still usable), toss them in the box. At the end of the month, drop off your donations. Make an even larger donation by combining your efforts with co-workers and colleagues, or start a donation drive at your business. Plus, all of the organizations will provide a donation letter for tax purposes.

Know of any other Chicagoland organizations that collect art & craft supplies? Please share in the comments!




December 3, 2015

Why do moms in business give back?

Filed under: Community Outreach — lidia @ 11:19 am


This Tuesday was Giving Tuesday, or #GivingDay, a global day dedicated to giving back.

When I found out about #GivingDay, I decided to give back to Little Giraffe Foundation by donating a portion of my typebaby online shop sales toward buying holiday gifts and books for local NICU families. My daughter recently spent 3 weeks in the NICU, so this was a cause close to my heart.

I started to wonder about the reasons others had for giving on #GivingDay, so I reached out to fellow moms in business for their insight.

For every gift membership purchased today, NPN [a Chicago organization that supports local families] is donating a membership to a family in the Rush or Lurie NICU.

– Christa Reed, Associate Executive Director at Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN)

I starting giving to Kiva simply because someone invited me. What I like about Kiva is how easy it is, the array of kinds of business all over the world I can choose from, the support offered for the small business owners and mostly because it’s fun!

– Gayle Stephens, GayleForce Healing Massage & Bodywork

I am giving to the Women’s Treatment Center because I believe it’s important to give everyone, especially Mothers, a second chance.

– Misse Daniel, Owner/Wedding Planner at Honey Bee Weddings

Why did you give on #GivingTuesday?

October 22, 2015

5 ways to get your nonprofit organization noticed on #ILGive day

Filed under: Community Outreach,Marketing & Promotion — lidia @ 10:00 am

ILGive-Logo-site--300x298#ILGive is coming up on Tuesday, December 1st. It’s a movement—in partnership with the national #GivingTuesday campaign—to support nonprofit communities in Illinois and encourage individual giving and philanthropy.

Is your organization participating? Great! Do you have a plan to promote your participation? No? Well, here are a few tips.

5 ways to get your nonprofit organization noticed on #ILGive day

  1. Create engaging and shareable social media graphics to promote the event and encourage likes and shares. Here are some ideas.
  2. Add a custom graphic and short blurb about #ILGive to your home page. See their Resources page for shareable info.
  3. Use the #ILGive hashtag and consider creating a custom hashtag for your organization, ie #GiveMyOrg.
  4. Add an #ILGive graphic to your email footer
  5. Feature #ILGive in your next email newsletter. See a sample email template here.
  6. Create an #ILGive flyer and include in mailings, brochures distributed at events, etc.
  7. Write an #ILGive-themed blog post

Need help engaging your supporters and expanding your reach? We can help design social media and newsletter graphics that will get noticed. Send me an email or call me to get started.

Here’s to a great #ILGive day!

November 6, 2012

A monster reminder to #GoVote

Filed under: Community Outreach,Creativity — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 9:34 am

Illustration by Stefan G. Bucher of The Daily Monster

Monster illustration by Stefan G. Bucher of The Daily Monster. Stefan was nice enough to create special #GoVote monsters for everyone to share. (he’s even created specially-sized images for Facebook-using folks)

Download and share #GoVote monsters here!

December 14, 2010

‘Tis the season for giving

Filed under: Community Outreach,Local (Chicago) — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 8:29 am

"Hope" gift box from GothamChick on Etsy

With charitable giving taking a hit in the current economy, local and national organizations need all the help they can get. This is a great time of year to reflect on your good fortune and share what you can with others.

I have several friends and clients at local nonprofit organizations, so they are first on my list for giving. Over the years, I’ve seen how these organizations help the community so I willingly do my part to help out.

Ideas for holiday giving

  • Your local food pantry
  • An organization that supports a cause close to your heart or family
  • American Red Cross or other aid organization
  • Organizations that provide housing or care to the homeless
  • An organization that connects with your personal interests. Love music? Support your local music conservatory.

GuideStar.org is a good place to start your research: search by name, location or type of nonprofit organization.

Donating without writing a check

You don’t have to limit yourself to cash donations. Here in Chicago, there is an organization called Leave it for Love that takes unused gifts and “re-gifts” them to a local charity. During this time of year, you can also usually find organizations (or retail stores) that collect donations of coats, eyeglasses or shoes and donate them appropriately.

Do you have other ideas for giving during the holidays? Leave them in the comments!

October 20, 2010

How are you making a difference?

Filed under: Community Outreach — Tags: , , — lidia @ 9:05 am

photo by elisabettar on flickr

Yesterday, I attended a special event honoring two Chicago businesswomen who make a difference in their communities.

The awards ceremony coincided with Make a Difference Day, an annual celebration of community service held on the last Saturday in October (this year it will be October 23).

After hearing the two awardees’ personal and inspiring stories of helping their communities, as well as the keynote speech about sharing knowledge and teaching others, it got me thinking:

  • Am I helping or teaching others?
  • Is my design work benefiting someone?
  • Can I do something new or different that will affect others positively?

The answer to all of those is: yes. When I think about it, I realize my design work can be beneficial to the community.

When I create a marketing piece for a local educational institution, it attracts a new student or donor that will make a difference in someone’s life. When I design an annual report for a local family organization, it brings awareness to someone who needs their assistance. And by planning and co-hosting local networking events, I’m helping people make connections and create opportunities for their (and the community’s) success.

But, I know I can do more. Lately, I’ve been brainstorming about my greeting cards and stationery. Outside of helping people make personal connections, I wondered how I can make a difference in the community with my cards. I remembered an organization I read about that was using greeting cards to bring together communities, so I’ve been researching how to make this happen here in Chicago (more to come soon!)

At the event last night, keynote speaker Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke quoted a Chinese proverb that resonated with me: if you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.

How is your work making a difference in someone’s life?

To see what others are doing for Make a Difference Day, follow #MDDay10 on Twitter

March 4, 2010

Clean up your office—and help Creative Pitch!

Filed under: Community Outreach,Design & Art,Workspace — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 7:46 pm

I’m betting that most of us (especially if we are artists or parents) have lots of art supplies that we don’t use. Now you have a chance to clean up your office… and help out local schools: donate them to Creative Pitch.

This Chicago-based organization collects art supplies (new or used in good condition) and donates them to local art teachers in need. The reality is that school budgets don’t always allow for basic art supplies—many teachers pay out of their own pocket for necessary supplies.

Let’s help them out by cleaning up our offices (or kids’ playrooms) and donating our unused art supplies. I have been participating in Creative Pitch for many years now, and I’m always delighted to receive an email from a happy art teacher.

Creative Pitch is currently seeking the following items:

  • markers
  • crayons
  • colored pencils
  • paper
  • scissors
  • stock photo/illustration books

Have items to donate? Email info@creativepitch.org to inform them of your donation items and/or to set up a drop off time. (NO OFFICE SUPPLIES, PLEASE.)

Learn more or make a donation to Creative Pitch here.

August 12, 2009

Vote for me! (or should I say, my photo…)

Filed under: Community Outreach,Local (Chicago) — Tags: , , — lidia @ 1:37 pm

View from south end of lakefront trailMy entry for Placemaking Chicago’s “What Makes Your Place Great?” contest made it to the final voting round!

Click here to vote. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for my photo of the south end of the lakefront bike trail (shown at right). Voting runs through Sept. 14. Thanks for your vote!

July 30, 2009

Make a trip to the grocery store and help local families in need

Filed under: Community Outreach,Local (Chicago) — Tags: , , — lidia @ 3:52 pm

hand_tomatoAs we are all aware, the recession has affected many people—especially families. One of my clients, Chicago-based organization Family Focus is helping out by distributing food to local families in need.

You can help out by donating food, clothing or baby & household items to one of Family Focus’s distribution centers in Evanston, Highland Park or Chicago’s Lawndale and Hermosa neighborhood. See the website for a list what they need and how to contact them.

See ABC 7 News coverage of Family Focus’s Lawndale food distribution program here.

July 23, 2009

What's your favorite "great place" in Chicago?

Filed under: Community Outreach,Local (Chicago) — Tags: , , — lidia @ 11:44 pm
View from south end of lakefront trail

South end of Chicago lakefront trail

Is there a park or other public space in your neighborhood that you love? Perhaps you pass a special place on your way to work every day? Nominate it in Placemaking Chicago’s “What Makes Your Place Great?” contest. See examples of some of the special places people have already nominated.  It’s a great way to think local and support your community.

As PlacemakingChicago says:

Great places define our lives. They inspire us, relax us, encourage us to sit and talk awhile with our neighbors. From plazas to beaches, street corners to playgrounds, Chicagoland is a patchwork of thousands of great neighborhood places.

Hurry, the contest ends on Monday, July 27th!

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