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Neighbors of DuPage

Community Trees on display at McCormick House starting November 16

Nov 14, 2018 01:50PM ● By Hannah Ott

Wheaton, IL - The Robert R. McCormick House at Cantigny Park invites visitors to a special holiday attraction honoring Colonel McCormick’s philanthropic legacy. 

Beginning Friday, November 16 through December 30, McCormick House will feature seven “Community Trees,” each decorated for Christmas by a different local nonprofit organization. The area 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.

Each participating organization receives a $2,500 grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. They also collect 100% of optional donations made by museum visitors, who are encouraged to vote for their favorite tree. The agency whose tree gathers the most votes receives an additional $2,500. The Foundation commits $20,000 annually to the program.

The chosen non-profit agencies recall Colonel McCormick’s passion for community service. Tree decorators in 2018 are:

  • Family Focus, Inc. offers innovative, community-based programs that help parents, grandparents, and foster and adoptive parents, gain confidence and competence as the primary educators of their children. Founded in 1976, Family Focus has a center in Aurora and six others in Chicagoland.
  • Freedom Golf Association, based in Burr Ridge, is dedicated to bringing joy and a sense of freedom to the special needs community through the game of golf. Founded in 2012, FGA offers workshops and free instruction opportunities for children, adults and veterans. 
  • Glen Ellyn Food Pantry is an organization of Glen Ellyn churches working together to fight hunger and food insecurity in the communities of Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Glendale Heights, Lisle, Lombard, Carol Stream, Addison and Bloomingdale. Founded in 1979, the pantry boasts 400 dedicated volunteers.
  • Operation Welcome You Home is a 100% volunteer organization dedicated to assisting local veterans. Based in Naperville and founded in 2007, it organizes grand gestures of support for veterans leaving for, or returning from, combat-zone deployment.
  • Streamwood Choral Society, founded in 2011, supports the musical arts in Streamwood and surrounding communities. The Society promotes cultural diversity through music and provides private music lessons, college scholarships and performance opportunities to students and youth who could not afford them otherwise. 
  • Unity Partnership, established in 2017, creates positive impacts between police and civilians by developing new pathways for dialogue in the community. The Naperville-based organization is composed of various cultural, ethnic and religious groups working collectively to solve community issues and erase negative stereotypes.
  • West Suburban Humane Society is a volunteer-based animal welfare organization founded in 1972. WSHS is dedicated to operating a premier “no kill” animal shelter in Downers Grove and to finding safe, permanent and compatible homes to adopt domestic dogs and cats. 

The trees creatively decorated by these seven organizations will be positioned throughout McCormick House. For the ninth consecutive year, the Westmont design center of Phillip’s Flowers & Gifts is decorating the 18-foot-tall tree in Freedom Hall, Colonel McCormick’s historic library. 

McCormick House hours in November and December are 10am-4pm, Tuesday-Sunday, with visits by free guided tour. The museum is closed on Mondays and during the holiday season will close November 22-23 and December 24-25.

Parking at Cantigny is $5 per vehicle (free for members). More information, including park hours, directions and a calendar of upcoming events is online at

About the Robert R. McCormick House: McCormick House is the former home of Col. Robert R. McCormick (1880-1955), longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Opened in 1958, the historic home museum is located at Cantigny Park, the 500-acre estate that McCormick left as a gift to the public. The museum engages the community in McCormick’s legacy as an active citizen, soldier and media industry innovator.

About Cantigny Park: Cantigny Park, part of the Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundations, is the former Wheaton estate of Robert R. McCormick. It is home to the McCormick House, First Division Museum, display gardens, picnic grounds, walking trails and a Visitors Center with banquet and dining facilities. More information, including hours, directions and upcoming events is online at Cantigny Golf, adjacent to the park, features a 27-hole championship golf course, full-service clubhouse, Cantigny Golf Academy and the 9-hole Cantigny Youth Links. For more information, visit

Source: Jeff Reiter 630-260-8218