Celebrating an extraordinary donor: Lonna Braverman

The Chicago Poetry Center is grateful to Lonna Braverman for an exceptional personal donation to the organization. Large, unrestricted donations allow nonprofits like the Chicago Poetry Center to target immediate needs and flexibly pivot with changing moments. This a unique and significant impact. Our biggest thanks to Lonna!

We asked Lonna if she would tell us about why she chose to make this generous donation. She started with a nod to our former Board President and Board-Member-Extraordinaire, Ivy Lerner. “My friend Ivy introduced me to the organization, its mission, and its work. Her passion about the organization was contagious.” We thank Ivy Lerner for inviting her community to become part our community.

Lonna continued, “Recently, I began thinking about what my legacy would look like. In the end, I decided that making donations to smaller, local, community-based organizations would be the most helpful. I also decided I wanted to start building that legacy while I was still around. So, I identified several charitable organizations (which were meaningful to me) that I had donated relatively small amounts to over the years. But, I wanted to make a more significant impact on those organizations with larger donations.”

Lonna is no small donor to begin with! Last year the Chicago Poetry Center launched its “named residencies” donor support initiative, and Lonna created her own residency group, asking friends to chip in and support a full year of poetry programming in a Chicago Public School Classroom. Thanks to her, “Friends of Lonna” is a residency for school year 2021-22!

Lonna is making a major impact at the Chicago Poetry Center. In just the past week we’ve increased our poets paid prep time and added live captioning to our virtual reading series to improve accessibility. These were two quick pivots to make our programming stronger. Unrestricted donations give the organization the support it needs to grow in healthy and positive directions.

Discussing “why CPC,” Lonna shared, “Even though I have lived away from Chicago for over 30 years, a part of my heart will always be with Chicago. What better way could there be to support the Chicago communities that I love than by supporting a program to help Chicago public school children improve their literacy? I believe the CPC’s programs that develop creative thinking and strong communication skills through poetry do just that. I was happy to put CPC on my list!”

We are beyond honored to be the recipients of Lonna’s generosity and impact. She ended a note, “If my donation helps make a positive difference in one person’s life, that will be a success in my mind.” Lonna, this donation impacts programs supporting thousands—it’s a wild success!



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.