Jim and Yvette Karp are such a power couple, so intertwined in their community involvement, that dividing the baby was the only way the could award its VIP of 2011 award Thursday at the chamber’s holiday party at .
“We poll nominations from the entire community, not just our members,” said chamber Executive Director Jacky Liston. “There were probably 10 solid candidates that were voted on.
“In our board meeting, someone said, 'there are a lot of votes for Jim, a lot of votes for Yvette. They’re really a team. So let’s just divide it,'” Liston said.
And so the Karps, identified with the Morton Grove Foundation charity and the village’s youth baseball and softball program, shared the VIP award. It’s a Mr. Outside, Mrs. Inside pairing — Jim Karp the outgoing spokesman and doer, Yvette Karp the detail-oriented organizer.
“In these tough economic times, it’s phenomenal we can still do this. We’re counting on the support of everyone in town to support this and step up to the plate. It’s now when they need us more than ever.”
“She’s more behind the scenes,” said Liston.
Family involved with local charity for two decades
Jim Karp, who counts the Taste of Morton Grove as the family’s specialty, has been involved with charitable work with the foundation for more than 20 years. He is now chairman-elect of the foundation.
“I was totally shocked my wife and I were awarded the honor,” Karp said. “I think they did a great choice (getting Yvette involved).”
“We’re a great team,” Yvette said. “We work well together. We each have our own qualities.”
A 46-year Morton Grove resident, Jim Karp served 13 years on the Village Board and was a planning and zoning board member. Amid all his past and present activities, he has somehow found time to run the 95-year-old General Floor Corporation of Chicago, a commercial floor business.
“A lot of irons in the fire,” Karp said.
Yvette Karp is president of the Morton Grove Baseball/Softball Organization and fosters dogs for the area’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rescue organization.
“Our kids are athletes — they play more than one sport,” she said. “Our goal is to get kids who never stepped on a baseball diamond before to become involved. We’re a small organization. We have big competition around us.”
Aiming to raise thousands this fall
The Taste of Morton Grove, by far the largest foundation fundraiser, is scheduled for March 8 at the White Eagle restaurant in Niles.
“We’re hoping to make anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000,” Jim Karp said. “We’ve already picked out 25 local groups or civic organizations in town or nearby that service many needs. We’ve earmarking about $40,000.”
Among the groups are , Turning Point, Shore Training Center, Half Dreams, the village’s baseball/softball organization, the Sportsmen’s Club, Women’s Club and Lions Club.
“In these tough economic times, it’s phenomenal we can still do this,” Jim Karp said. “We’re counting on the support of everyone in town to support this and step up to the plate. It’s now when they need us more than ever.”
With a mushrooming demand at the food pantry from middle-class families who have never used a pantry before, the support for the food distribution program is more crucial than ever. The Taste of Morton Grove raised $1,000 annually for the pantry, while the Chamber donated $5,000, said Liston.
The Karps succeed 2010 VIP winner Cindy Kopczyk, vice president and branch manager for Inland Bank.