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posted: 1/4/2013 8:17 AM

Cantigny announces winner of tree decorating contest

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By Jeff Reiter
Cantigny Park submission

The Robert R. McCormick Museum at Cantigny Park announced that the Christmas tree decorated by Senior Home Sharing and displayed at the museum throughout the holiday season received the most votes in public balloting.

By winning the popular vote, the organization earned an additional $2,500 grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation for a total of $5,000. The six other participating local charities each receive $2,500.

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"Holidays represent such rich memories for our senior residents," said Wendell Gustafson, executive director of Wheaton-based Senior Home Sharing. "Decorating a tree illustrating our mission of serving seniors provided a wonderful opportunity to express our gratitude for the generous gifts we rely upon from the McCormick Foundation and other community partners."

The trees were a holiday attraction to celebrate Cantigny's connections with the community and honor Col. McCormick's philanthropic legacy. Seven charities were invited to participate because their missions involve issues or causes that were meaningful to McCormick.

Museum visitors were asked to vote for their favorite tree and, if they wished, make a donation to one or more of the agencies. Cash contributions by visitors totaled $563.

"This was our third year for the event and it continues to grow in popularity," said Diane Gutenkauf, director of the McCormick Museum. "The trees were beautiful and creative, and our visitors responded generously. It's an honor to support these organizations that do such important work throughout DuPage County."

Participating organizations were:

CASA DuPage, Wheaton, which recruits, trains and supports volunteer citizen advocates to effectively speak to the best interests of abused, neglected and dependent children in DuPage County's juvenile court system.

DuPage Community Foundation, Wheaton, which fosters philanthropy, connects donors to area needs and builds community partnerships in DuPage County.

DuPage Homeownership Center, Wheaton, which 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, which supports the 4-H Club experience that 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, which 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, which helps meet the need for affordable senior housing by providing shared housing alternatives and support services.

United Community Concerns Association, Elmhurst, which fights hunger in the Elmhurst Unit District 205 community by serving the neediest children and families, delivering food, resources, referrals and services.

The McCormick Museum is closed in January and will reopen Feb. 1 for free guided tours. Hours in February are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The museum returns to its usual Tuesday through Sunday tour schedule in March.

More information about Cantigny, including park hours, directions and details about upcoming events is online at Cantigny.org.

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