Building Stronger Communities: NAR - Mainstreet Community Outreach Grant Recipients


A few weeks ago, Mainstreet REALTORS® announced six recipients of the NAR – Mainstreet Community Outreach Grant. Joe Cwiklinski, Toni Grimes, Melissa Kowalski, Quin O’Brien, Suzanne Treudt, and Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® all received a grant. The grant funds will be going towards improving the community in which these REALTORS® serve and live in. As time goes on, we will keep you updated about these projects and how they are affecting the community, but right now we would like to introduce you to these individuals and their projects. 

Joe Cwiklinski - Art Bench

Joe Cwiklinski is a broker with Century 21 Affiliated, serving Chicagoland and South and Southwest suburbs. With the grant, Joe is adding an art bench in the center of town in Oak Lawn. This bench will be in the Village Green where concerts and other outdoor events are held throughout the year. The bench will be placed near a playground which is the inspiration for the colorful theme of the bench. 

Toni Grimes - Playground Revitalization

Toni Grimes is another recipient of the NAR – Mainstreet Community Outreach Grant. Toni is an agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Oak Lawn. Toni’s grant funds will be used towards updating a playground in Robbins, IL. This playground will benefit many people in Robbins and the surrounding community, ranging from kids to adults and everyone in-between. The revitalization will include laying fresh mulch, painting the park structure and benches, and installing new basketball nets. Many people from Robbins and the surrounding community use this park and will benefit from the refurbishment.   

Melissa Kowalski - Public Art

Melissa Kowalski of Dwellings Real Estate, Inc. was another recipient of the grant and will be helping with the installation of up to 14 free standing murals and public art sculptures along the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway in Berwyn. The hopes of this project is to attract local artists and use local artwork for more than half of the art, creating neighborhood pride while spurring the local economy. This artwork can be viewed by people walking, biking, or driving along both Stanley and Windsor Avenue, along with being seen by the hundreds of people commuting on the BNSF train line to and from Chicago. 

Quin O'Brien - Walking Trail Revitalization

Quin O’Brien of 4 Sale Reality Advantage, Inc will be using the grant money he received to revitalize parts of HeatherRidge Woods walking trail in Gurnee, IL. This trail is currently under the jurisdiction of three local entities and has been lacking maintenance, until now. Although Quin has plans on giving the whole park a makeover, he will be using the NAR – Mainstreet Community Outreach Grant funds to refurbish seven benches, install two new benches, make a small book library, and clean up and clear the existing walking paths. The two new benches will be located by the main entrance of the park and will include a plaque with the REALTOR® logo and the first line of the Code of Ethics. Any left over funds will be used towards buying a “HeatherRidge Woods Nature Path” memorial sign at the entrance of the park. 

Suzanna Treudt - Wheelchair Accessible Treehouse Enhancement

Suzanne Treudt is a broker for Realty Executives in Wheaton and will be using the NAR – Mainstreet Community Outreach Grant to help build part of a treehouse in Lisle, IL. A slide will be built with the grant funds in a wheelchair accessible treehouse that will be located in an already existing sensory garden. The treehouse has not yet been built and money is still being raised to get the project started. This project will create a barrier-free playground and environment for all kids to play together. 

Mainstreet REALTORS® - Senior Expos and Park Enhancement

Lastly, Mainstreet REALTORS® received a grant and has two projects planned. The first of the projects have already started in the form of the Senior Expos. The Senior Expos were geared towards educating the general public on the needs and concerns of individuals aged 50+ and their families. The expos took place in four different locations, included several seminars, and had 20+ exhibitors with industry-related services. The final Senior Expo will be on August 24thin Vernon Hills.

The second project is the addition of a bench and tree in McCollum Park, the park located just south of our Downers Grove office. The bench and tree will also be accompanied by a plaque. 

All of these projects are brought forward by individuals who want to make a positive impact in their communities, and through this grant program, each of the REALTORS® are helping to build a stronger and more unified community. Stay on the lookout for a follow-up blog about the impact and outcomes each of these projects made. For more information about the NAR – Mainstreet Community Outreach Grant Program, please contact Volunteer and Advocacy Specialist Nadine Scodro at or 630.324.8400.  

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