The Rick and Desiree Guzman Family Advisory Fund was established in 2022 as a way to further support their philanthropic interests in the community—especially by investing in non-profit organizations that are in turn investing in often marginalized people as a part of an overall community development strategy.
The Guzmans started their own foundation and non-profit in Aurora, IL in 2002, which eventually merged with another Aurora non-profit to become The Neighbor Project, which is now led by Rick as the organization’s Executive Director. Prior to the merger, the organization founded by Rick & Desiree (under the name of “Emmanuel House” at the time) was recognized as one of the “100 most innovative non-profit or social enterprise programs in the world,” as a Classy Award finalist, which is sponsored by Guidestar & The Stanford Social Innovation Review. And since the merger, which took place in 2018, The Neighbor Project has grown exponentially and partnered with the City of Aurora to launch the State of Illinois’ first Financial Empowerment Center.
The Guzmans live in Aurora, IL and are members of New England Congregational Church where Desiree works as the Director of Education and where their daughters, Micah & Josie regularly perform as singers and/or the church’s bell choir. Both girls are also active in other theater/artistic ventures in and around the Fox Valley and have also enjoyed volunteering with organizations serving refugees, immigrants and unhoused families or individuals.
Rick & Desiree remain active in their community serving on several boards and commissions. In 2017, Desiree was recognized for her community service work by receiving the Aurora Kiwanis Club’s “God & Fellow Man” award. Desiree has a Masters of Fine Arts from Vermont College while Rick earned his law degree from NIU College of Law where he was awarded the Thurgood Marshall Award for Human Rights in 2009 and named “Young Alumnus of the Year” in 2019.
The Guzmans are proud of their Aurora and Fox Valley Community and grateful to the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley for hosting the Guzman Family Advisory Fund and so many others that are reinvesting in the community that has been a blessing to so many.