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Judy Beck’s Environmental Legacy Lives On Through Grant ProgramFree Access

Glenview Park District, Family Foundation To Award Annual $5,000 Grants In Beck’s Name

Former Glenview Park Commissioner Judy Beck playfully hoists a shovel near the “Judy Beck Park” sign’s mounting as Park Board President Angie Katsamakis, Executive Director Chuck Balling and Park Commissioner Charles Kuhn hold a sign at an August 2011 park dedication ceremony. (Tom Robb/Journal photo)

Although short in stature and quiet in demeanor, the late Judy Beck was in many ways a giant in Glenview with much of her life’s work dedicated to the environment. Now the first annual Judy Beck Grant program is funding $5,000 annual grants to see Beck’s legacy put into action.

Glenview Park District commissioners discussed and approved the program at their Thursday, Sept. 24 board meeting and announced the following day. 

The grant program will offer $5,000 in annual grants to a single or multiple groups or individuals for projects focused on environmental conservation, sustainability, community engagement, or youth development, park district spokeswoman Jena Johnson said. 

The grant program is being funded by the Beck and Hurvis families and administered by the park district and Beck Family Foundation, Johnson said. 

“The Judy Beck Grant is available to non-profit groups and individuals who submit project proposals that focus on bettering our world by continuing Judy Beck’s legacy of promoting efforts in environmental leadership, community engagement, or youth development. The Judy Beck Grant service area includes the state of Illinois, with preference given to initiatives that benefit the village of Glenview, Illinois, and the North Shore area,” the grant application reads. 

The deadline for submitting a project application is Dec. 18. Award notifications are expected in January 2021. 

Beck passed away in June 2019. Her civic involvement in Glenview and advocacy for the environment dates back decades and continued into the final months of her life. 

Beck was a Glenview Park Board commissioner for 32 years, served on the village’s Natural Resources Commission until her passing, and had a career working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Decades ago, Beck was among a group of women who prevented The Grove from being sold to developers, derogatorily dubbed the “Frog and Fern Ladies” by those annoyed developers. The Frog and Fern Ladies led the fight to pass a referendum to save The Grove by an 89% margin. At her funeral at The Grove, green ceramic frogs were set on tables where guests signed in. Beck was also among those who worked to save Wagner Farm from developers.  

Following The Grove referendum, in 1975 Beck became a member of the Grove Heritage Association foundation, an organization she stayed with for the remainder of her life. Beck was also heavily involved in the Glenview League of Women Voters for decades.

Park district officials said the village of Glenview played a part in seeing the program established early on and would continue its involvement publicizing the program after it is rolled out.

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