Mary Jo Schuler, a life-long resident of Oak Park, is a philanthropic leader, businesswoman and mother dedicated to making a difference in her hometown community.
As a former board member of the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation, she has been engaged as a "hands on" philanthropist helping to elevate the impact and leveraging of endowment funds and public resources on the long-term health and vibrancy of the community.
Schuler also serves on the Communityworks Advisory Board and is a member of Women Leaders in Philanthropy, a group dedicated to supporting the charitable causes of the Foundation through enhancing philanthropy, networking and pathways for the next generation of women leaders.
She and her husband practice what they call "impact philanthropy". They are driven to invest their philanthropic dollars in a manner that positively impacts the delivery of services and the advancement of organizations and people.
David Ansell, MD, MPH is the Michael E Kelly Presidential Professor of Internal Medicine and Senior Vice President/Associate Provost for Community Health Equity at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
He is a 1978 graduate of SUNY Upstate Medical College. He did his medical training at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. He spent 13 years at Cook County as an attending physician and ultimately was appointed Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Cook County Hospital.
From 1995 to 2005 he was Chairman of Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Chicago. He was recruited to Rush University Medical Center as its inaugural Chief Medical Officer in 2005, a position he held until 2015.
His research and advocacy has been focused on eliminating health inequities. In 2011 he published a memoir of his times at County Hospital, County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital. His latest book is The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills was published in 2017.
Nancy Waichler comes from a long line of Oak Parkers. She and her beloved husband Dick raised eight children here. She has served on the boards of both corporate and not-for-profit organizations including a term as president of the OPRF High School Board. She has been an Associate of the Family Business Consulting Group, Board of Trustees of Chatham University, Co-Chair of Loyola University Chicago Family Business Center, the Vice Chair of Follett Corporation, Past Executive Director of Parenthesis, and Board member of the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation. Nancy was instrumental in the fundraising campaign for the Athletic and Fitness Center at Chatham University.
Nancy was recognized with the Athena Award as well as the Ulyssean Award from Senior Citizens Center of Oak Park River Forest. Currently, she volunteers at the Nineteenth Century Charitable Association and as a member of Women Leaders in Philanthropy. Nancy supports--and encourages others to support--multiple philanthropic causes in our community. Nancy’s three passions are education, the environment, and the social service groups that serve her community in Oak Park, Illinois
“You can’t look at things the way you looked at them decades ago. You have to look at them the way the world has evolved and where it is now,” Waichler says
Laura Thompson has served as chair of the board for Visit Oak Park, the regional tourism bureau for 20 communities in western Cook County, and as chair of the board of the Parks Foundation of Oak Park, the fundraising partner of the Park District of Oak Park. Previously, Thompson served as Executive Director of the Pleasant Home Foundation for more than eight years, as well as serving on its board of directors. She was honored in 2018 with an Illinois Association of Park Districts Community Service Award.
Her background is in public relations and marketing, with her own firm of Mercier Communications serving clients including Quaker Oats, AT&T, and Luminaire; Director of Public Relations for Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.; Senior Associate for Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations/Chicago; Director of Community Relations for Highland College; and as an assistant unit manager for NBC News/New York.
Thompson has a degree in journalism and mass communication from Drake University. She enjoys architectural history, painting, and restoring furniture. She and her husband have two daughters, and they reside in Oak Park.