By Kristin Boza
Since moving to Beverly/Morgan Park 30 years ago, Ivette and Charles Williams have made it a focus to put as much energy into their community as possible. As long-time BAPA donors, the couple has given their time, talent, and expertise to making Beverly/Morgan Park the best that it can be.
“We donate to BAPA because it is an important organization that has served all neighborhoods in our community for 75 years — and we want to help keep it thriving to celebrate the centennial and more,” Ivette said. “We enjoy the variety of events that BAPA hosts. We encourage everyone to become a BAPA member. It’s a great way to help your community and meet so many people you otherwise would not meet.”
The couple strongly believes that BAPA events bring neighbors together to tighten community bonds. They especially enjoy the Clean & Green events, Home Tour, Ridge Run, Garden Walk, Porch Concerts, and Ivette hopes to gather a group of friends to attend Sip & Shop next year.
Believing in the power of grass roots collaboration is essential to connect and engage the neighborhood. “The Save the Trees campaign was an instant response and mobilization, which was amazing. Everyone rallied and came together for a great cause and so much was accomplished in a short time frame,” Ivette said. “Mary Jo Viero is a great ambassador to lead BAPA in these efforts.”
Both Ivette and Charles are also active as Board members for the Park Advisory Council (PAC) for Park 581, 116th and Oakley Avenue, their local greenspace. The Williams enjoyed the recent PAC meetings hosted by BAPA, which brought the local PACs together. “[BAPA] keeps us connected. As a PAC, our mission is to enhance the natural beauty of Park 581 with the much-needed park improvements supported by our community to ensure everyone who visits the park has a positive, safe, and welcoming experience,” Ivette said. “We loved meeting with all the PACs and BAPA is doing a wonderful job of networking to bring us all closer as one big community in Beverly/Morgan Park.”
The couple is now retire — Ivette from being a legal secretary at a downtown law firm and Charles as the Deputy Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department and later as the Commissioner of the Department of Streets and Sanitation — but it never occurred to them to move or downsize after their two children went out on their own.
“Just like BAPA’s motto, ‘love where you live,’ we truly feel it and love where we live. BAPA’s mission of inclusiveness and caring about the communities is what made it the prestigious organization it is and why we believe and continue to support its mission to this day,” Ivette said. “From the moment we moved in, we felt a sense of community and belonging here.”
Learn more about supporting BAPA as a member at bapa.org/support.