Video: Thief steals $10K in equipment from Ravenswood nonprofit FreshLens Chicago, founder says

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Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Video shows $10K in equipment stolen from Chicago nonprofit: founder
A thief was caught on camera stealing $10,000 in equipment from FreshLens Chicago in Ravenswood, the nonprofit's founder said.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The founder of a Chicago non-profit said the focus is now on raising money to continue to bring access, exposure and a new lens on life for the city's youth, most in need.

Surveillance footage from late last month shows a thief snatching about $10,000 worth of equipment from the Ravenswood nonprofit.

"Don't hurt kids," said FreshLens Chicago Founder Shirley Nannini. "Just don't hurt kids. It's simple as that."

The former athletics teacher started the youth-photography nonprofit as a seasonal retirement project.

"The first summer, we scraped 12 kids together and the second summer, 36 kids showed up," she said.

Five years later, the now-year-long program has helped dozens find new careers and full-ride scholarships.

"I always believed, you know, in my heart that kids shouldn't be denied opportunities because they couldn't afford it," Nannini said.

But now, the ability to continue the mission Nannini started is in jeopardy after a burglar broke into their classroom not just once, but twice.

"A lot of donated equipment got stolen, and frankly, we're still uncovering all that was taken," she said. "We want to serve kids and, you know, we need resources to do that."

And now, the program trying to recoup what was lost.

"It's just less kids we can serve," Nannini said. "I mean, we have our most robust programming this summer.... Now, a third of our ability to serve kids is gone."

The nonprofit is now fundraising online make sure FreshLens the opportunities for these students are not taken away.