The Forest Preserve's nonprofit, fundraising foundation has changed its name, but the mission remains the same: raising money for education, recreation and conservation programs that enrich the community.
Originally called Friends of the Forest Preserve District of Will County, the foundation recently adopted a new name – The Nature Foundation of Will County – and a new logo to better reflect its strategic goals, said Cindy Harn, the foundation's executive director.
"We want to create awareness, strengthen our identity and brand ourselves as an organization that celebrates people and their passion for nature," she said. "We feel strongly that this new name and identity emphasizes our commitment to nature and our efforts to build a legacy of giving that is at the foundation of our mission."
The foundation's board began meeting and organizing fundraising events in 2014. Now that the organization is up and running, members thought it was time to pick a name that better reflected the group's goals.
"Since planting our roots in the community a few years ago, the Friends felt it was time to 'branch' out and grow our own identity," said board member Laurie McPhillips.
The new name defines the foundation's primary mission, but it also makes it clear that The Nature Foundation of Will County is an independent entity, said foundation Chairman Tim Brennan.
The foundation's next fundraiser, "Yappy Hour," is scheduled for 4-7 p.m. Friday, September 8, at Hammel Woods – DuPage River Access. Attendees can bring their leashed dogs to the puppy party. Tickets are $25 per person (dogs are free) and they must be purchased in advance. The event will raise funds for a drinking fountain at Hammel Woods and a shade shelter in a new small-dog enclosure being built in the preserve's dog park.
The foundation hosts the annual "Bringing Nature Home Native Plant Sale" and pre-sale event in May. The group also has successfully raised money to keep Forest Preserve nature education programs free and to award grants to the District's volunteer stewards for supplies, materials and equipment necessary to conduct much needed natural restoration work.
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