In the fall of 2020, the OI launched a special Volunteers Centennial Campaign that asked our volunteer corps to extend their service and commitment to the OI with a new or renewed financial donation. This targeted appeal sought to raise funds in commemoration of the OI’s first 100 years of research and discovery and to secure strengthened philanthropic support during this extremely difficult period of budget challenges caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.  

The volunteer appeal was further enhanced by a major challenge gift offered by Jim Foorman, who wanted to encourage giving from OI docents and volunteers and to honor the memory of Margaret, his late wife who passed away in September of 2020. Margaret Foorman was a life member of the OI Advisory Council and an active volunteer for nearly 40 years.  

Jim offered to match dollar-for-dollar every new gift to the OI made by docents and volunteers by the end of December 2020 for a total of up to $50,000. The response was tremendous—our dedicated volunteers ended up giving a collective total of $65,683. When matched with the Foorman challenge gift, the funding amount secured through this special appeal came to $115,658. This is by far the most successful single-year fundraising effort ever conducted by the OI volunteers and well surpassed the highest level of annual giving and participation they have ever achieved.

The OI is very grateful for all the ways our volunteers continue to support and advance our mission with their time, talents, and philanthropy!

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As an added incentive, all docents and volunteers who gave at any level will be listed on signage to be displayed in the volunteer and education office and will be recognized in a featured edition of Volunteer Voice at the conclusion of this special fundraising effort.

If you would like additional information on making a gift or pledge to this special appeal, please contact Wally Verdooren at 773-702-5062 or

Thanks for all the ways you contribute to the OI!