Beginning Saturday, Nov. 24, the McCormick Museum will feature seven Community Trees, each decorated for Christmas by a different local nonprofit organization. The DuPage County charities were invited to participate because their missions involve issues or causes that were important to Robert McCormick during his career and life at Cantigny.
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If you goWhat: Community Trees holiday display
When:10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday, Nov. 24 to Dec. 31; closed Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22; Friday, Nov. 23; and Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 24 and 25
Where: Robert R. McCormick Museum at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton
Cost: $5 parking; $2 off-peak hours
"The community trees give a special and meaningful touch to our holiday decorations," said Diane Gutenkauf, director of the McCormick Museum. "This is our way of showcasing some great organizations and helping out with their 2013 funding needs."
Museum visitors are invited to vote for their favorite tree. They also can donate on site to one or more of the seven participating agencies.
Each participating organization will receive a $2,500 grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in addition to 100 percent of any donations made by museum visitors. The agency whose tree is voted most popular will receive an additional $2,500. The foundation has committed $20,000 to the program in total.
Colonel McCormick's passion for community service is well-represented by the agencies chosen to display trees inside his former home:
• CASA DuPage, Wheaton -- recruits, trains and supports volunteer citizen advocates to speak to the best interests of abused, neglected and dependent children in DuPage County's juvenile court system.
• DuPage Community Foundation, Wheaton -- fosters philanthropy, connects donors to area needs and builds community partnerships in DuPage County.
• DuPage Homeownership Center, Wheaton -- provides a full range of services to promote responsible sustainable homeownership, with emphasis on serving first-time homebuyers, low- and moderate-income households and homeowners in crisis.
• DuPage County 4-H Foundation, Wheaton -- supports the 4-H club experience, which gives boys and girls ages 8 to 18 an opportunity to explore topics of interest, make new friends, develop leadership and life skills, and contribute through community service.
• Metropolitan Family Services, Wheaton -- helps families restore balance in their lives and achieve economic stability; provides youth mentoring; counsels parents, children and seniors; and provides respite to family caregivers.
• Senior Home Sharing, Wheaton -- helps meet the need for affordable senior housing by providing shared housing alternatives and support services.
• United Community Concerns Association, Elmhurst -- fights hunger in the Elmhurst Unit District 205 community by serving the neediest children and families, delivering food, resources, referrals and services.
The trees decorated by these seven organizations will be positioned throughout the McCormick Museum, with two trees in the Gold Theater and five on the first floor. An 18-foot tree will greet visitors in Freedom Hall, the mansion's historic library. Phillip's Flowers and Gifts was selected for the second straight year to design and decorate the grand tree.
McCormick Museum hours in November and December are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday by free guided tour. The Community Trees also may be viewed during Cantigny's Celebrate the Season Holiday Festival when the museum has an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.
The museum will be closed on Thanksgiving and the day after, and also closed Dec. 24,25 and 31. The final day of the Community Trees exhibit is Sunday, Dec. 31.
Parking at Cantigny is $5 per vehicle or $2 during off-peak hours. For information, see Cantigny.org.