CHILDRENS MUSEUM IN OAK LAWN

Where it's Okay to Play

Oak Lawn, IL   |  www.cmoaklawn.org

Mission

The Children's Museum in Oak Lawn's mission is to positively impact a child's potential in life through play-based education.

Ruling year info

2001

Executive Director

Mr. Adam Woodworth

Main address

5100 Museum Drive

Oak Lawn, IL 60453 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

36-4389897

NTEE code info

Children's Museums (A52)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Children's Museum in Oak Lawn is working in the field of education, specifically working off of many studies showing that play is an important aspect of learning. Our goal is to create environments that embrace a learning-through-play experience focused not only topics of science, math, etc., but also on such things as critical thinking skills, social-emotional learning, and curiosity. We aim to be a support for teachers and parents.

Additionally, because of our admissions model, we work to remove the economic barrier at our institution by allowing families on WIC or who have an EBT card to come into the museum at just one-third of the admission price. While we do need to be able to keep the doors open, we do believe that families currently in hardship situation should not be turned away from the educational opportunities we offer.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Story Time

An interactive reading program. Stories are the classics we all know and love. Wednesdays at 11:00am and 1:00pm (also by request). A craft is also usually done as part of the story.

Population(s) Served

STEM is an important component when it comes to play-based learning. Through the generosity of the NISE network, the museum was able to acquire an exhibit focused on the science of small. Our nanoscience programs are plentiful as staff utilize the nano kits donated to us through the NISE network.

Population(s) Served

The Children's Museum in Oak Lawn, in conjunction with WIC and EBT, provides economically disadvantaged families with free admission. A mother simply shows her WIC card or EBT cardat the door and she and her family are admitted to the museum at just $3 per person.

Allowing families to enter the museum at no charge is a win-win-win for the families, the museum, and for museum partners helping to support this effort.  Your support is greatly appreciated.

Population(s) Served

This program is designed for children who cannot participate in a community egg hunt due to their disability. We provide a variety of educational programming along with other accommodations for the children to be able to participate. An example of one of these accommodations is having beeper eggs for children who are visually impaired. This free program includes not only museum programming, but programming we bring in from outside venues as well. A free, hot breakfast is provided for the families, too. The program is meant to be a relaxed atmosphere program to remove any stress from families around these types of activities for children.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Annual Business Award of Excellence - Education 2008

The Business Ledger

Member of the Year 2011

Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau

Outstanding Chamber Member 2009

Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce

Ace Award 2010

Oak Lawn Community Partnership

Affiliations & memberships

American Association of Museums - Member 2016

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

(1) Continue to lead the region in educational, fun-while-learning experiences for all children, regardless of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender or economic background.
(2) Be that place where families can bond while playing together, putting the parent in the role of teacher.
(3) Constantly working with educators to provide what they're students need when they visit the museum with their families, making us a hands-on extension of classroom learning.

Our strategies include embracing social media, designing new ways for our visitors to interact with us on-line. We also are focused on preschool outreach and have a volunteer education committee who works with us on a great many projects centered on learning.

Well respected in the south suburbs and south side of Chicago, the Children's Museum in Oak Lawn has a vast network of people who provide in-kind support, everything from IT to exhibit design and from fundraising to program implementation. Our Executive Director has been with us for twelve years and has built an extensive network of connections who support the museum's efforts.

Over the years, we've accomplished a great number of things. By far, the biggest thing we accomplished includes moving from our small, 900 square foot facility in July of 2009 to our current facility, nearly 12,000 square feet. This happened during the midst of the recession just around 10 months after the stock market crashed in the Fall of 2008. The museum had to take out a $600,000 loan to complete the work and that loan was paid off in just over three years. One of the things that we have not accomplished is being able to increase the number of staff to tackle the many aspects of running a museum. We are fortunate to have the generous support of many members and community leaders who help us with in-kind donations of goods and services.

Another upcoming struggle is that we are seeing exponential growth in the number of low-income families visiting the museum. We think it is GREAT but we know that we will have to focus on more fundraising in this area to help sustain the numbers we are seeing.

2016 - 361 people from low-income families
2017 - 2,022 people from low-income families
2018 - in just three months, we've seen 1,330 people from low-income families

This growth is amazing and we are so happy to be able to serve families in need, but as mentioned, we know that this will require more funding to make this sustainable.

Financials

CHILDRENS MUSEUM IN OAK LAWN
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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CHILDRENS MUSEUM IN OAK LAWN

Board of directors
as of 4/3/2018
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Kevin Mathers

KGM Home Inspections

Term: 2015 - 2018

Darlene Blanz

Retired Educator

Cathy Cepican

Trinity Lutheran Preschool

J. Quinn Mucker

J. Quinn Mucker Ltd

Kevin Mathers

KGM Home Inspections

Linda Bensen

Trinity Lutheran Church

Jim Buschbach

Buschbach Insurance

Joan Buschbach

Buschbach Insurance

Gene Mondello

Community Member

Marge Joy

Retired Educater

Bill Egan

World's Finest Chocolates

Bill Graham

Turnbridge Financial

Ian Chafee

Burbank School District

Andrea Gardner

School District #159

Eileen Kerlin Walsh

Law Office of Eileen Kerlin Walsh

Jamie Makuch

IAA

Greg Weiss

Retired Educator (Homewood Middle School)

Andrea Gardner

Elementary School Teacher

Laura Boyle

High School Science Teacher - Chicago Public Schools

Ameera Odeh

High School Teacher - Richards High School

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes