Donor Spotlight: John Purdy Jr.

Talk about your history with Community Renewal Society.

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Community Renewal Society has been very important to me. My father worked at Community Renewal Society when I was in law school. I got involved in the 1960’s, and I’ve been around ever since. I’ve been through the ups and downs. I’m the institutional memory.


What would you say is the common thread in Community Renewal Society’s work over time?

The common thread is finding out what the communities want and need and helping them achieve that, rather than doing what Community Renewal Society thinks the community needs.


What prompts you to continue giving to Community Renewal Society all these years later?

Community Renewal Society delivers something special and meaningful. I give because it’s one thing I can do to help communities help themselves.


Was giving something you were raised with? How do you approach giving now?

Sure! I spent time in the church, and giving was always important. I have no idea when I started giving. It’s just something I do. I sit down with my wife, and we figure out what our giving is going to be, and we do it.


How has faith influenced your life and your involvement with Community Renewal Society?

Faith is damn important. When the day is done, all you have is faith, nothing more than that. The trappings of church aren’t important. It’s what you do that matters. There’s gotta be more than giving someone something today. It’s gotta be long-term…that’s what we should be doing.


What is your vision for Chicago? How is Community Renewal Society part of making that vision reality?

Race is a problem in the whole country. And it’s getting worse. When you think about it, you say, “Geeze, I’m going to go home and go to bed.” But everybody needs an equal chance to succeed. I hope that Community Renewal Society gets to be a meaningful player in Chicago to help level the playing field.