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We Welcome the Newest Members of our Associate Board

It’s hard to believe we’re already adding our new wave of members to the Chicago Public Library Foundation Associate Board, but it’s true!

And who, might you ask, are these young philanthropists? We took some time to chat with Chicago’s up and coming leaders, who are dedicating their time and talent to the curious — and this is what they had to say.

Rachel Bertsche, Director of Strategic Communications, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law; Author, MWF Seeking BFF and Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me

As a New York Times best-selling author, Rachel had an interesting introduction to the Library Foundation – and one that’s clearly stuck! “I was a guest author at the Sandberg Literary Awards Dinner in 2012 and was seated at the Associate Board’s table,” she laughed.  But as for the reason she joined, that went a little deeper. “I’ve been very lucky in my life,” she explained, “and when you find what you’re passionate about, you should share what you can.” Adding, “I love reading. I’ve been in book clubs for my entire adult life.”

If you could have coffee, dinner or drinks with any favorite author, who would it be and what would you have?

“Definitely JK Rowling,” Bertsche shared. “I’ll eat whatever she wants to eat – and I want the whole dinner experience… maybe with some wine.”

Katie Eddy, Manager of Course Development, National Association of REALTORS®

Working as a Manager of Course Development during the day, its clear this Chicago bibliophile lives a robust personal life outside the 9-to-5. “My husband got us tickets to Night In the Stacks – and there was a TV with all these stats and figures about the Foundation,” Katie explained. “It was like a breadcrumb trail!” But at the heart of it, it was probably a philanthropic ideology that made her apply.  “For me,” Eddy shared, “giving back is really the Drummer Boy theory. Like the Drummer Boy, most people think they have nothing to give. But he could play the drum. That’s something.”

If you could have coffee, dinner or drinks with any author, who would it be and what would you have?

“I would have dinner with John and Abigail Adams,” Eddy started. “The way they wrote to each other and the appreciation they had for each other was… I think I have an entire shelf on my bookcase dedicated to them.”

Jonathan Giroux, Associate Attorney, Greenberg Traurig, LLP

With his wife having sat on the Associate Board a few years ago, it was early exposure to the organization that got this lawyer and philanthropist interested in joining.  On why he pulled the trigger, Jon explained “I wish I had done it sooner!” Adding, “in a big city like this, having opportunities for kids – especially kids that might not have the resources at home – is important.  Access to books, computers, creative labs, teachers in the library – its good for kids to have extracurricular activities to see what they’re good at while they’re young.”

If you could have coffee, dinner or drinks with your favorite author, who would it be and what would you have?

“It would be Steven King, I think he’s the only writer I have read with any consistency. And I think he would be a really interesting chat. Full of twists and turns. I’d probably grab a beer with him.”

Hope Hambleton, Financial Planning, Northwestern Mutual

For this Chicago bibliophile, joining the Associate Board was a family affair. “My sister has been on the Associate Board for years,” she explained. “I just had so much exposure to the events and the impact of the Associate Board – it was an obvious fit.” When asked if there were any “aha!” moments after she joined, Hambleton laughed. “Its such a big deal! I never realized how innovative the Chicago Public Library was and that they were really helping other libraries across the country.”

If you could have coffee, dinner or drinks with any author, who would it be and what would you have?

“Gillian Flynn” Hambleton exclaimed. “I’d want to find our why she’s chosen the thriller game. And we’d have coffee.”

Kevin Schafer, Academic Designer (Editor), McGraw-Hill Education

As a former educator, learning why Schafer joined the Associate Board was nothing short of inspiring. “I was a teacher for 3 years,” he started. But once he moved into his new role at McGraw-Hill, he found himself wondering: “What am I doing to make the world better?” And it turns out, it only took a quick Google search to find out! “After reading the website, seeing all the things I could potentially do, it seemed like the Library was an obvious fit.” With many other anecdotes to support this. “While looking to move into a new neighborhood, proximity to my local library was one of my qualifications,” he laughed.

If you could have coffee, dinner or drinks with your favorite author, who would it be and what would you have?

“Lauren Weisberger! (…) She spent her career trying to rewrite that first piece (The Devil Wears Prada). And its such an artifact of early 2000s New York. (…) That and its obviously about Anna Wintour.”

Carrie Wall, Association Manager at SmithBucklin

If you’re wondering why young professionals join the Associates Board, Carrie’s got a great answer. “I’ve always been called to serve, and I’m in three book clubs,” she explained.  “So really, it was marrying my professional skill set with a personal interest.”  But when we asked why she picked the Library Foundation, like any great card-carrying bibliophile, she had another great answer at the ready. “It’s a free service to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to it,” she exclaimed.  “I think it’s pretty amazing that the city has invested in making sure kids and adults have access to computers, tutoring, and STEAM learning.”

If you could have coffee, dinner or drinks with your favorite author, who would it be and what would you have?

“Caitlin Doughty!” she exclaimed. “She’s the author of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory and From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death and went to University of Chicago. The way she writes about these topics is compelling and opens up traditionally taboo subjects for conversation. I’d do dinner and then drinks with her – and ‘where would I want to do that?’” she mused. “Some macabre place in LA, since that’s where she lives.”

Collective Favorites:

What is your favorite book?

  • Chasing the Scream: The Opposite of Addiction is Connection
  • Dark Tower Series
  • Gone Girl
  • The Jungle
  • March
  • The Things They Carried

Favorite public space in the city?

  • Hamlin Park
  • Harold Washington
  • Lincoln Park
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Logan Square Farmers Market
  • Millenium Park

Favorite Library Branch?

  • Bezazian
  • Bucktown-Wicker Park
  • Harold Washington
  • Lincoln Belmont
  • Lincoln Park

In addition to their advocacy and support, the Associate Board & Council helps organize fundraisers throughout the year for the Chicago Public Library Foundation. To date, they’ve raised over $870,000 for Library programming, including throwing the party of the year Night in the Stacks.  If you or someone you admire is interested in becoming a member, click here.