About Us

Friends of Lake Bluff Parks was formed in November 2005 as part of a long-term strategy to ensure funding for capital projects and improvements of the Lake Bluff Park District.

The vision of the Park District Board was to create a citizen-based not-for-profit foundation as a permanent means of raising money. As public funding decreased and operating expenses continue to increase, the need for a fundraising group for the Park District became more and more apparent.

Friends of Lake Bluff Parks is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit entity, and donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. This enables corporations and individuals alike to make tax-deductible donations toward upgrades and improvements throughout the Park District's facilities and parks.

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Our Mission

To provide long-term funding for parks, programs and facilities through philanthropy and collaboration with individuals, families, community groups and partner organizations

Our Board of Trustees

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Jon Hirsh, President

My family originally moved to Lake Bluff in 1977 and I grew up here until 1996.  Then I moved back with my family in 2005.

I grew up going to the pool and the beach and my kids have done everything from Preschool to summer camp to bike and sailing camps.  For a small town, we are so fortunate to have one of the best Park Districts in the state of Illinois.  My family loves to be outside and our Park District provides so many opportunities to engage with the community, outside and be active!  Getting involved with the Friends seemed like the great way for me to contribute to help continue to keep Lake Bluff the wonderful place it is to live and raise a family.

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Brett Warning, Treasurer

I have lived in Lake Bluff since 2018.

 

I am passionate about Lake Bluff Parks and the Friends of the Parks because I have always enjoyed parks and believe they are important assets to any community.  I particularly love Lake Bluff's excellent parks that are plentiful given the size of our Village, and our wonderful Sunrise Beach, where my dogs love to walk and explore on several occasions each week.

 

Other than hoping to help maintain and improve our Parks through the Friends of the Parks, I attend to my profession as an attorney with a Chicago law firm, enjoy my dogs including walking them around town, try to stay fit including running in town, keep up with current affairs, and enjoy time with family and friends as often as possible.

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Katie Pavlik, Vice President

My family and I moved to Lake Bluff in 2016.

 

When we were looking for a new home to raise our children, the Lake Bluff parks were what made us fall in love with the Village.  They are so beautiful, and there is something for everyone to enjoy.

 

When I'm not volunteering with the Friends, I'm spending time with my three boys and knitting.

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Kevin Fitzgerald, Secretary

We moved to Lake Bluff in 2016--the day the Cavs won the NBA Championship (sorry--I'm originally from Cleveland)!

 

I think a town's parks and its recreational activities are reflections of its community.  They're the places where families and friends get together and where kids learn life-shaping lessons.  Lake Bluff has the most ideal community of any place I've ever lived and I want to help ensure that that endures and gets even stronger for my kids.

 

When I'm not volunteering with the Friends, I love to spend time with my wife (Katie) and two daughters (Margot and Maeve), whether that's coaching Margot's basketball, ferrying both to one of their many activities, or enjoying Bluffinia on the Village Green.  Beyond that, I love to play golf and just enjoy all that Lake Bluff has to offer.

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John Bealer, Park District Liaison

I was hired as the Executive Director of the Lake Bluff Park District in September of 2020 and joined the Friends of Lake Bluff Parks Foundation as a Trustee. 

 

I’ve worked in the field of Parks and Recreation for over 30 years and have found the Lake Bluff community to be very welcoming and supportive.  The Friends of Lake Bluff Parks foundation raise funds to help the Park District in providing leisure opportunities for our residents while enhancing the quality of life for those who reside within the Park District boundaries. 

 

Their support has made it possible to complete projects such as the new preschool and West Park playgrounds for the children, pickleball courts, enhancements at Sunrise Park and a preschool scholarship.  I have enjoyed working with a dedicated group of residents (Trustees) who volunteer their time for their community!

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Alex Aldridge

Hello.  My name is Alex Aldridge and I have been a Lake Bluff resident for 4 years. 

 

Originally from Libertyville, I grew up riding my bike to Lake Bluff Beach to enjoy the casual atmosphere and summer festivities.  What I love about Lake Bluff parks is that I believe they share the same feeling of the community: inviting, friendly, fun and supportive.

 

My passion is around building things and restoring the beach.  Personally, I enjoy riding bikes, fishing, and traveling with my wife and two kids.

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Kelly Clark

In 2011, my son and I moved into the Village of Lake Bluff.

I love living in a beach community! My passion for the parks starts with my love for the beach and extends to enjoying an excellent quality of life raising my son in this community. We have bonded at the driving range and he has made many memories with friends spending summers at the pool, camp and playing baseball in the park. Now as an older kid, he really enjoys reconnecting with high school friends at open gym shooting hoops working out at the fitness center!

My favorite things include summers in Lake Bluff kayaking off the beach, cooking with fresh ingredients from the Farmers Market, and enjoying lots of live music with friends.

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Amy Kessler

I’ve lived in Lake Bluff for 7 years.


I feel it’s important to give back to the community you live in. Being active and outdoors is one of my favorite things, so the Friends of Lake Bluff Parks seemed like the natural fit.


When I’m not working you can find me running throughout town and enjoying all that Lake Bluff offers.

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Margaret Vrioni

I have lived in Lake Bluff for over 16 years and have enjoyed the many amenities our village has to offer.  When my kids were young, we utilized the park district preschool and many of their programs for childhood development and enrichment.  As they grew, we enjoyed participating in gymnastics, dance and STEAM classes along with baseball, softball, tennis, golf, swimming at the pool and beach and enjoying the snow hill during the winter.

Now that my kids are older, I wanted to give back to this great community and continue making it even better.  As great as it is to raise children in Lake Bluff, there are still areas where we can make improvements and my goal is to do just that along with your help.

 

My hobbies include reading, traveling, gardening, yoga and scrapbooking when I have time for them and am not watching my kids at their activities.

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Niki Walsh

I have 3 kids and 2 dogs and work in digital marketing.  I moved to Lake Bluff in 2005, but grew up in Lake Forest and went to LFHS. I love Lake Bluff because it is the perfect place to live—for 9-10 months of the year. I’m working on how to fix the other months…

 

I love the park district and all it has to offer. My kids have participated in almost every program.  In summer or nice weather, our family can usually be found at the beach or the pool. I want to help make sure the PD and all of its facilities continue to be the heart of our community. When I’m not working or driving kids around, I can be found on the paddle court, swimming, paddleboarding, air anything else that can be done on water. 

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Brian Woodruff

I’ve been in Lake Bluff for almost 7 years (can’t believe that…!)

 

I’m passionate about the parks because they are this community’s greatest asset. We have wonderful parks that offer something for all families.

 

I’m a proud father of three young kids and husband to my wife, Emily. My favorite hobbies include: water sports at Sunrise Beach, paddle tennis, and exploring new music. Fun fact: I really enjoy my skateboard!