Hail, Kalo!


Today we’re giving our inner-curmudgeon a well-deserved rest and offering a big Watchdog bark-out to those folks over at the Kalo Foundation for winning Park Ridge’s most recent Governor’s Hometown Award for its efforts to save the Alfonso Iannelli home and studio at 255 N. Northwest Hwy.

Not only did they perform a grand community service by saving that historically-significant building from the wrecking ball and replacement by several townhomes, but they did it without…wait for it…a handout of taxpayer dollars from City government.

Huzzah!  Huzzah!  Huzzah!

For those who might not remember, we had our doubts about whether the Kalo Foundation would go the way of so many other not-for-profit private corporations which wrap themselves in the mantle of “community group” and then expect to get a substantial portion of their funding each year just by showing up at City Hall with their hands out – usually with a few former aldermen or other former elected officials in tow for the appropriate winks and nods.  In our 11.26.07 post with a subsection titled “Hello, Kalo”, we sounded a critical note when the newly-established foundation started making sounds like it was heading to the public trough.

But the Kalo folks strapped it on, going on a fundraising quest that generated in excess of $300,000, including a six-figure matching-type challenge grant from an anonymous donor.

There’s still a ways to go before the Kalo Foundation realizes its goal of completely restoring the Iannelli building and turning it into a fully-operating museum.  But we’re not about to bet against Betsy Foxwell, Anne Lundy, Dennis Van Mieghem, Judy Barclay, Marcia Burgis, and all the rest of those intrepid Kalo Foundation volunteers and arm-twisters who pulled the nails out of that building’s coffin at the eleventh hour.

And they’ve provided a shining example – for whatever other local private-corporation community groups want to watch and learn – of how private taxpayers will support community groups and projects perceived by those taxpayer as both providing valuable services to the community, and making a genuine effort to generate the revenue they need instead of resorting to big-dollar City handouts.

And that deserves a hearty Watchdog “Well done!”

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