Saying the Historical Society of Forest Park had already included a fundraising request in a previous vehicle sticker renewal notice, Forest Park Commissioner Mark Hosty asked the village council to amend a proposed ordinance to give a different charity a chance to ask for funds in the yearly village mailing.
“This would be the second year running for them,” Hosty said. “We’ve done a lot for the Historical Society this year.”
He proposed using the vehicle sticker mailing to solicit more funds for the Remembrance Park police and fire memorial honoring four first-responders killed in the line of duty. The village raised $7,000 for the memorial, which is to be constructed in the fall.
“The original thought was to give organizations a one-time opportunity, not to become a permanent funding source,” Hosty said. “I think we should chip through a couple of other worthy organizations,” he said, suggesting the Forest Park Food Pantry.
In years past, the vehicle sticker mailing to around 10,000 owners of registered vehicles in the village included a fundraising request for contributions to the annual 4th of July fireworks show. When the Park District of Forest Park cancelled the fireworks display, the Historical Society requested a chance to add a pitch for donations. In 2012, the society raised almost $4,000. In 2014, the society asked for a $2 donation and received $2,150 from 1,000 people. Some donors gave more than $2.
Commissioner Chris Harris suggested creating a process where charities could apply to be considered for inclusion in the mailings. “We don’t have a formal system in place. Perhaps it’s time so other organizations are aware that they can solicit those funds.”
Historical Society Vice President Augie Aleksy said after the meeting he couldn’t begrudge the Remembrance Park fund.
“To oppose the police and fire memorial getting the money is like opposing motherhood,” he said. “I’m not sore.”