Chamber Advantage

January 29th, 2023

As February approaches, we are often reminded of the notable contributions of Martin King, Frederick Douglas and countless others. While these are great examples of the contributions of Black Americans in this country, we often only get those examples and fail to do a deep dive across the sea of others who have paved the road for where we are today. We often think of buzzwords like Diversity but rarely do we deeply study the concept of Equity. According to Webster’s, equity is defined as “ justice according to natural law or right, specifically: freedom from bias or favoritism.” I am reminded of those we often overlook like Bayard Rustin who was an African American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. On a personal note, I am reminded of a little-known preacher from Wellington Street in Memphis, TN, who worked closely with Martin King, Sr. and Martin Luther King, Jr. and was present at the Lorraine Motel when the younger King was assassinated. Harold Albert Middlebrook has continued the fight for not just diversity but equity as well, focusing on both economic and civil rights. This February, I challenge each of us to identify and study the contribution of a Black American that we haven’t heard of before and share that with someone else. This will further the teaching of our shared history and help to encourage conversations with those in our community. 

Jeffrey Hines

Board of Directors


Join our BIPOC Affinity Group!

Looking for more support in growing your business as a POC?

This amazing group of dedicated and successful business people are here to support you and your business as you move along your journey. We meet each month at a different BIPOC run business. Check out the information below to support local BIPOC businesses and join us next month!


Monday February 27, 5:30 - 7:00pm - BIPOC Affinity Group Meeting at LifeSpan Counseling & Psychological Services

Join us in February as Dr. Orson Morrison and his team invite everyone to celebrate Black History Month at LifeSpan Counseling & Psychological Services, LLC. We also welcome Christian Harris from MaidPro Oak Park as our speaker this month. 


Plan Your Week!

What is coming up this week?

We know you are busy. To help make it easier and help you to join us at as many things as you would like, we have gathered our events for this week.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday February 2, 1:00 - 2:00pm - Speaking Authentically, Persuasively and Enthusiastically with Leora Dowling at the Oak Park River Forest Museum

Come join the Chamber's Nonprofit Affinity Group at the Oak Park River Forest Museum for our monthly gathering, and learn from public speaking coach Leora "Lee" Dowling. Lee has been teaching and coaching communications for almost 20 years - and if you know her, you know she's very authentic and enthusiastic herself!


Friday February 3, 12:00 - 12:30pm - Takeout Stakeout at Charlie's Restaurant

Come checkout our next Takeout Stakeout, this time at Charlie's Restaurant! In this event, we convene at a designated restaurant to pick up our takeout lunch choices, and get to meet new folks and see our peers from other businesses and organizations. Join us for some quick networking and delicious food, all during your lunch break!


Plan Your Month!

Like to plan ahead?

I know we do! Here are some events we have coming up over the next month so you can register now and receive a reminder right before the event.

Join us for these wonderful networking opportunities and

continue to grow your business!

Friday February 10, 9:00 - 10:30am - Women in Business Meeting at The Sheridan at River Forest

February is not just about red roses and paper hearts. Join us this month at The Sheridan at River Forest to talk about Women's Heart Health with Carolyn Fitzpatrick, MD, CMO, from West Suburban Medical Center. Heart health in women looks vastly different than in men. Learn easy ways to identify issues and keep your heart healthy for years to come! 


Tuesday February 14, 4:00 - 6:00pm - Business After Hours at American House

Come experience a little #chamberlove, whether it's before you meet up with your sweetie, or we're your company for the evening! We know it's Valentine's Day and we don't want you to miss out on any love that day, so feel free to bring your Valentine along to celebrate. Join us for networking, food, raffles, friends, and simply a lovely evening in excellent company - we're glad to be yours on Valentine's Day!


Friday February 17, 11:30am - 1:00pm - Sit-Down Chamber Lunch at Fritzi's Delicatessen

Join us this month for another sit-down lunch, this time at Fritzi's Deli. Bring your appetite and your business cards for this networking lunch at one of Oak Park's local Jewish delis! Meet the business owners and enjoy your choice of a sandwich or an entree while relaxing in their newly opened space.


Thursday February 23, 4:00 - 4:30pm - Ribbon Cutting at Wild Fork

Help us celebrate the opening of a new business with a ribbon cutting! This time we'll be at Wild Fork in Oak Park celebrating them, taking pictures of the event and enjoying a great networking opportunity!

Wild Fork has made a name for itself as a purveyor of fine meats and prepared foods, conveniently portioned and at accessible prices. Come meet the Wild Fork team and discover their impressive array of fine food.


Member Benefits Series

Are you a new member

or new to your business?

Help us to help you make your business a success! Take advantage of these events geared specifically toward new Chamber Members to learn how best to take advantage of your membership. Feel free to join us for any or all of these events, whether you are a new Member business, or simply new to your business.

Check out all of our New Member Programming!

Thursday February 16, 8:00 - 9:30am - New Member Breakfast at Belmont Village Senior Living

Join us at our quarterly New Member Breakfast to introduce yourself and tell us about your business. This is an ideal opportunity to meet fellow new members, Chamber staff and Board leadership. You will also learn about your benefits, hear how you can get involved and get answers to your questions. 


Wednesday March 15, 2:00 - 3:00pm - Chamber 102 via Zoom

In this seminar we will go over all of your marketing benefits that come with your membership, including:

- how to maximize your e-blast benefits.

- the role of your Member Profile in your marketing advantage and how to track digital traffic.

- how to generate marketing collateral that can be shared in your social media.

- how to tap into our Affinity Groups to grow your network and feature your business.


Wednesday April 19, 2:00 - 3:00pm - Chamber 101 via Zoom

In this seminar we will go over all of your digital benefits that come with your membership, including:

- how to significantly increase your SEO

- how to leverage your Member Profile to boost traffic to your own website

- how to track your Member Profile statistics

- how to be sure that your website is linked to your membership

This event is perfect for new members, or those who need a refresher!


Leadership Update!

What is the Chamber doing for you?

Every month, our Executive Director, Liz Holt, along with the Advocacy CommitteeSam Yousif, Rob Guenthner, Carly Grant and other Chamber Board Members are working tirelessly to make sure that your voice is heard. Check out this month's segment to meet the new Board of Directors and our fabulous Affinity Group Leaders!


Workshops planned for non-profits seeking grants

Non-profit organizations that serve Oak Park and are interested in applying for federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding are required to attend a virtual workshop hosted by the Village. The workshop is scheduled for 10 to 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 3. Attendance at the workshop is required to apply for funds during Program Year 2023, which runs from October 2023 through September 2024. The workshops will provide details about the Village’s upcoming application process, including an overview of required documents, timelines and reporting requirements. Email to receive the registration link or for more information. Visit to learn more about the CDBG program in Oak Park.


Commercial Façade Improvement Program

In 2018, the Village of Oak Park established a Commercial Façade Improvement Program (C-FIP) to assist sales-tax-generating Oak Park businesses looking to improve the building facades of their establishments. Over the past five years, the Village has assisted 18 businesses with façade improvements that have included new windows, doors, awnings and signage. Since the start of the program, the Village has provided $79,647 in C-FIP grant awards for projects that have resulted in $396,722 in façade improvements throughout the community. For information about the Commercial Façade Improvement grant program, contact Cameron Davis in the Development Customer Services Department at

Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce

143 S Oak Park Avenue


This eBlast was sent out by the OPRF Chamber of Commerce on behalf of a member in good standing as a member benefit. For information about the event described please contact the host. For information about joining the Chamber, click our website below.

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