November 22, 2023

Dear friend of the parks,


We are excited to announce this year's VIP (Volunteers-in-Parks) Awardees! We will honor the winners on December 2, 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm during our VIP and Holiday Reception.


In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we want to extend our gratitude to these and the many other individuals and groups who have gone above and beyond to support Chicago's parks. Join us on this special day as we celebrate their remarkable contributions.

Stay tuned for details about each awardee and the category in which they are being honored. In the meantime, we encourage you to RSVP for the VIP and Holiday Reception which takes place in our office, 67 E. Madison Street, floor 18. To register, click here.

2023 VIP (Volunteers-in-Parks) Awardees

Signature Award: "Spirit of Chicago"

New Life Centers

Park Advisory Council

Mary Bartelme PAC

Individual Volunteer

Nieves Baizan (La Villita Park)


Janet Swenson (Lincoln Park)

Nature-Based Solutions

Melissa Whiting (Park 559)


Preservation Chicago

Community Organization

Jackson Park Yacht Club

Chicago Park District Employee of the Year

Bertino Smith

Lifetime Achievement Award

Midnight Circus

“Smoky Sakurada” Friends of Friends of the Parks

Alliance of the Southeast and Environmental Law and Policy Center

Congratulations to our VIPs and thank you to all our friends of the parks!

In unity,

Elvia Rodriguez Ochoa

Director of Education and Engagement

PS If you would like to get your day started earlier, we would also love to see you at our final "Walk with FOTP in 2023" which will take us on a stroll through Millenium Park and Grant Park. We meet at 10 am in our building's lobby. For details and to register, click here.

Matching Grant Challenge

Thank you for walking alongside FOTP and friends of the parks all across the city.

Friends of the Parks
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