For the past year or so, members of the Brookfield Parks and Recreation Commission and Recreation Director Stevie Ferrari (along with her dad, an accounting professional, it turns out) had been quietly working behind the scenes to wade through the process of creating a nonprofit foundation to help families in financial need access programs.

That day arrived recently and the Brookfield Parks and Recreation Foundation is already making a difference in the lives of families who otherwise might not be able to afford the cost of the department’s summer camp programs and before- and after-school programs.

While the Brookfield Oddfellows had regularly donated $500 to $1,000 for those purposes, the need far surpassed that amount. Now the foundation can accept donations from individuals, companies and matching grants. In just the first weeks of being able to do that, the foundation had been gifted more than $5,000 – or five-plus years’ worth of Oddfellows donations.

The foundation is also limiting its scope to serving families in need of funds to access programs and is not raising money at this time for any other purpose, such as capital projects. That focus on people over projects is absolutely right and sorely needed in what continue to be uncertain times.

If you’d like more information on the foundation or inquire about how to help, the foundation has set up an email – Send them some love.

Behind the numbers

Everyone is so used to being fed the latest disaster that sometimes we lose sight of reality.

For example, Riversiders were shocked last November when a double murder was committed in town – the first homicide of any kind in the village since the 1990s. The incessant drumbeat of gun violence that has infected the nation had come home. What’s next?

Yet, when you look at the village’s Uniform Crime Report, where each police agency in the nation annually tracks the most serious crimes, Riverside’s numbers have never been lower.

The 95 reportable crimes were the lowest total number for any year we could find going all the way back to 2004, when by the way the village reported 169.

The homicides are truly terrible, but most probably an anomaly. The alleged offender followed one of the victims from downstate Danville to Riverside, where she fled to seek safety from him.

Meanwhile, violent crime was virtually non-existent in Riverside in 2021 – one robbery and two aggravated assaults. Riverside has reported as many as eight robberies (in 2020) and as many as 52 aggravated assaults in any one year.

According to data compiled by the village’s own police force Riverside was as safe in 2021 as it has been in recent memory.