Highland Park Neighbors Magazine Articles


New Leadership in the New Year!

Highland Park Community Foundation (HPCF) enters the new year with a change in leadership. Laurie Levin has assumed the role of Chair; Eric Ephraim, Vice-Chair; David Israel, Treasurer; and Jon A. Levey, Secretary. Though no longer Chair, Betsy Brint remains a member of the Board.

Before stepping down, Betsy reflected on the significance of her time leading the Foundation. “These past two years presented me with challenges I didn’t expect. To be fair, the challenges that faced our community as a result of the Highland Park shooting were not expected by anyone. But thanks to the support of our Board, the City, and our community as a whole, chairing both the HPCF and the July 4th Shooting Response Fund became my focus, my mission, and my greatest honor. I was both depleted and fulfilled, but mostly just proud to be able to help any way I could.” Contemplating what lies ahead, she added, “Laurie Levin has been at my side as Vice-Chair through thick and thin these past two years. She will take the HPCF to the next level with her quiet competence and knowledge of the arts. I’m thrilled to pass the torch to her, and know the Foundation is in most excellent hands.”

Former HPCF Chair Betsy Brint

A Highland Park resident since 1988, Laurie has extensive experience in the arts, having earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance from The Juilliard School. Yet, her expertise extends far beyond the arts. She received her law degree in 1984 and, after practicing in large New York and Chicago firms, started her own firm, Fox Swibel Levin & Carroll LLP, in 1996, where she continues to work full-time. The intersection of these two interests gives her a unique perspective on how to further the Foundation’s mission of addressing unmet needs and enriching our entire community. Considering her role in the future of the Foundation, she stated, “As we heal together as a community, reeling from a few very rough years, the HPCF is well positioned to be the beacon for so many organizations at the forefront of the healing process. I hope to build on the outpouring of generosity and good will of our residents, so the Foundation is central to the spirit of Highland Park and Highwood. Most important to me is building bridges – between grantee organizations by providing opportunities for them to coordinate, cooperate, and learn from each other; between business owners and nonprofit organizations; between school districts, parents, students, and the nonprofits that support them; and between neighborhoods and neighbors where many still struggle. Lastly, I look forward to adding new members to our Board to ensure we reflect the diversity, interests, and cultural richness of our community.”

HPCF Chair Laurie Levin

Eric Ephraim, former Secretary and now Vice-Chair, brings his financial expertise and experience in community engagement to the Board. Professionally, Eric is the CEO and President of First Bank of Highland Park and First Bank Chicago. A Highland Park native, Eric attended West Ridge, Red Oak, Edgewood, and Highland Park High School. His work, longtime ties to the community, experience as Treasurer of the 112 Education Foundation and the Giants Football Fund, time spent as President of the Rotary Club of Highland Park and Highwood, and service as a NSSD 112 School Board Member and Board President make him an invaluable asset to the Foundation. Eric looks forward to the upcoming year, stating, “I’m excited to support Laurie in her leadership of HPCF. We have an excellent group of engaged board members and professionals with deep passion to serve Highland Park and Highwood. I’m confident we will continue to strengthen our community by fulfilling our mission.”

HPCF Vice-Chair Eric Ephraim

Jon A. Levey, President of Highland Park Bank & Trust, is an Executive Board Member, HPCF’s Investment Committee Chair, a two-time Co-Chair of the Foundation’s Gather for Good event, and now Board Secretary. An over 20-year resident of Highland Park and a strong proponent of community service, he is active in many Highland Park and Highwood community groups and organizations, and thus brings a vast amount of service as well as professional experience to the Board. Regarding his new position, Jon said, “I’m excited to continue as a leader within the HPCF and expand my role. I’ve been a passionate supporter of the Foundation for many years and have served on the boards or advisory boards of some of our grantees, too. These organizations are paramount to our community’s well-being. It’s such a gift to live in a community like Highland Park and Highwood that places such value on community service. It is my privilege to increase my service to our community through my contributions to the HPCF.”

HPCF Secretary Jon Levey

David Israel, who continues as Treasurer of the Foundation, has lived in Highland Park for nearly 47 years. As a Wealth Advisor with Mesirow Financial, he helps individuals, families, and small businesses manage their financial assets. As a HPCF Board Member, he serves not only as Treasurer but is also an active member of the Investment and Grants Committees. David’s dedication to his community is reflected in the time he puts into ensuring the Foundation is well-positioned to address community needs. In speaking about the upcoming years, David said, “I look forward to continuing in my role and helping the Foundation achieve its goals. As the Foundation has grown larger, so have the responsibilities of our Board. We are ensuring that we have money available for grants now and in perpetuity.”

HPCF David Israel

HPCF Board Members thank Betsy for all she has done for the community and Foundation over the past two years; proudly welcome Laurie, Eric, and Jon to their respective roles of Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary; and thank David for continuing his service as Treasurer. All will lead with passion, skill, and a commitment to service and our community, which will improve lives and strengthen our entire community.