Wett brings decades of experience to The Community House

Alana Wett's 32-year career is driven by one simple fact.

"I just really like to help people," said Wett, the new director of philanthropy at The Community House.

Wett, who joined the staff of the Hinsdale nonprofit in June, said her primary job is to raise money for the facility's wide range of programming. But she also wants to draw awareness to all that The Community House has to offer, and to the fact that all Community House programs, from youth recreation to family counseling, are funded without a single taxpayer dollar.

As director of philanthropy, Wett leads a small team in the task of raising $1 million to support and grow programming and to cover costs not met through memberships and program fees. Major fundraisers include the annual fall appeal, the 3-on-3 basketball tournament in August, the Walk the Walk for mental health in May and the Holiday Ball, set this year for Dec. 4.

Wett said the theme for this year's Holiday Ball will be revealed soon. What she does know is that all money raised at the event will benefit The Community House's efforts at Willowbrook Corner, where residents can obtain child care, after-school programming, tutoring and counseling.

"We're trying to expand programming there," Wett said.

This year's calendar of events also includes the Sept. 9 dedication of the Kettering Hall stage in honor of the late Dick Johnson.

Wett said she knew even as a college student that she wanted to spend her life supporting the efforts of nonprofit organizations. Majoring in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in public relations, she got her first job at Marklund Children's Home. While working on the Chicagoland nonprofit's public relations staff, she learned the ropes of fundraising and soon turned her focus to development.

It was while working at The Cove School in Northbrook that Wett heard of The Community House's search for a new head of philanthropy. Having been introduced to a the facility several years ago while working with The Community House Winnetka, Wett said she was immediately drawn to the organization's wide scope of services and the chance to be part of it.

As The Community House continues its 80th year, Wett said she wants people to understand the role it plays in the overall wellbeing of the community. Among many other things, The Community House's staff of professionals provided 1,200 counseling sessions to 132 clients in the last fiscal year, most of whom were under the age of 23. People of all ages are served by recreational activities such as exercise classes and basketball camps, enrichment activities including art classes and theater and instructional classes like cooking and computers.

"The Community House has made a meaningful difference in hundreds of thousands of lives," said Wett, who added she is proud of every day she spends supporting the organization's mission.

"Every time I come here, I'm excited to be here," she said.

- story by Sandy Illian Bosch, photo by Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean