Oak Park government veteran John Hedges will receive Commitment to Diversity award

Former Village Trustee John Hedges speaks during his final meeting in office in May 2013 | Sun-Times Media File

John Hedges, head of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation, will receive the Roberta Raymond Founder’s Award for Commitment to Diversity from the Oak Park Regional Housing Center at the organization’s annual benefit on September 20 at Unity Temple.

Louise Varnes, a longtime employee of the Housing Center, will be recognized for her 40 years of service to diversity at the event.

“We’re pleased to be able to acknowledge John Hedges for his long-term and consistent support for our mission as well as his many years of service to the community in numerous other ways,” says Rob Breymaier, executive director of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center.

“We couldn’t be happier to recognize Louise Varnes for her 40 years with us. She is a tremendously valuable member of our staff and a true believer in diversity.”

The annual benefit is the premier fundraising event for the Oak Park Regional Housing Center, a non-profit organization that provides free resources to housing seekers and housing providers while working to bolster and sustain the legacy of diversity in Oak Park.

The event also celebrates Oak Park’s diverse community and the Housing Center’s accomplishments. This year’s event theme is Beyond Borders, which highlights the Housing Center’s work in strengthening partnerships with communities around Oak Park and throughout the region.

In addition to their Oak Park program, they run the West Cook Homeownership Center to provide pre-purchase counseling and financial assistance to homebuyers across western Cook County. Their newest program to support wider efforts, 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, benefit guests will be able explore Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple, its exterior terraces, and Unity House.

From now until the day 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 Café 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.

For more information about the Annual Benefit, please visit www.oprhc.org/benefit.

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