The Best Chicago Charity Galas to Attend in 2022

Charity events are in no short supply in Chicago, and the gala season is just ramping up. With many great organizations backed by passion and compassion alike, these fundraising events allow you to show your support for multiple causes. By getting to meet the executives behind the mission statements, as well as dressing up, dining out, and partaking in fun activities, you are showcasing your own compassion in turn.

Here are over 36 upcoming Chicago-area events listed by month:  

Please check each event’s website for the most up-to-date details

May

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Butterfly Ball 2022

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Invitation to the Butterfly Ball | Courtesy of Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. 

When: May 6, 6:00p.m.-11p.m.
Where: Virtual

The Butterfly Ball has raised $38.5 million in support of the Chicago Academy of Sciences and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. This year, the celebration of science and nature is virtual.

BUILD’s Annual Gala

When: May 6, 5:30p.m.-9:00p.m.
Where: Navy Pier

BUILD supports Chicago’s youth with street violence prevention and intervention, out-of-school activities, summer camps, mental health care, educational support, and more. The Annual Gala is the event that raises funds for efforts to face gang violence and to provide assistance in the form of overcoming trauma.  

The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center Annual Spring Luncheon

Ali Wentworth

When: May 9, 11:00a.m.-1:30p.m.
Where: The Ritz-Carlton

The 27th Annual Spring Luncheon features Ali Wentworth who is an actor, comedian and New York Times Best-Selling author. Funds from this event will be used to support The Woman’s Board Fund for Excellence in Cellular Therapy, as well as the Medical Center’s education, research and community service programs.

Fleur de Lis Ball

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Fleur de Lis Ball | Courtesy of Marillac St. Vincent Family Services.

When: May 12, 6:30p.m.-10:30p.m.
Where: Adler Planetarium

Join Marillac St. Vincent Family Services for the 27th Annual Fleur de Lis Ball. The hybrid event will be honoring George Stephen and his family. There will be cocktails and dancing with dinner as well as a live auction and raffle.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company 2022 Gala

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Invitation to the 2022 Gala | Courtesy of Steppenwolf.

When: May 14, 6:30p.m.
Where: Rockwell on the River

Steppenwolf’s Gala provides funding towards their Ensemble, which brings theater experiences to the stage and creates educational programs for teens. Artists and leaders will be present for a night of cocktails, a gourmet dinner and a live auction. 

Spring Hat Lunch

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When: May 16, 11:00a.m.-2:00p.m.
Where: The Ritz Carlton Chicago

Special guest speaker Jessica Ann Pushor, the Collection Manager of the Costume and Textile Collection at the Chicago History Museum, will highlight women’s hats from the 1870’s-1950’s, all the way through the Chicago hat experience. A raffle will include three prizes; a private curated dinner experience, two tickets to the 2022 Day on the Terrace runway show at The Peninsula and a Taste of Chicago package. Profits will go to The Service Club of Chicago, an all-volunteer organization of women who award grants to expand facilities, improve equipment and initiate new programs in Chicagoland. 

Merit School of Music Gala 2022

When: May 18, 6:00p.m.- 9:00p.m.
Where: Four Seasons Chicago

Merit’s Gala benefits equality and excellence in music education. Honoring Lori Julian and William Blair for their contributions to the arts and filled with performances, the event is for Chicago music lovers.

Spirit of Design’s Annual Fundraiser

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Save the date, May 19. Courtesy of Spirit of Design. 

When: May 19, 6:00p.m.-10:00p.m.
Where: Theater on the Lake

Designs for Dignity is a Chicago non-profit that transforms nonprofit environments voluntarily and without payment. Their mission is to empower through design. Spirit of Design is Designs for Dignity’s signature annual fundraiser that will be accompanied by cuisine, cocktails and live music from Mike Zabrin’s Funktastic.

Family Focus “Celebrating Generations of Service” Annual Dinner

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Courtesy of Family Focus. 

When: May 19, 6:00p.m. – 9:00p.m.
Where: Four Seasons Chicago

Family Focus is a non-profit organization that strengthens families in the Chicago area so they can achieve upward economic mobility through programs and services rooted in anti-racism and social justice. The theme of Family Focus’s annual dinner is Celebrating Generations of Service. Rose Johnson will receive the Bernice Weissbourd Award for Family Support and Elizabeth Sonnenschein will receive the Dream Builders Award.

14th Annual Degrees of Impact Gala

Degrees of Impact Gala. Courtesy of One Million Degrees. 

When: May 20, 6:00p.m.
Where: Rockwell on the River

One Million Degrees is the only organization in Illinois dedicated to providing comprehensive support to low-income community college students. From tutors and coaches to financial assistance and professional development, OMD empowers scholars. Join the Annual Degrees of Impact Gala to support this cause. 

The Goodman Theatre Gala

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Tony Award-winner Adrienne Warren. Courtesy of The Goodman Theater. 

When: May 21, 6:30p.m.
Where: Fairmont Chicago

The Goodman Theater Gala, How Sweet It Is, will feature a performance by Tony Award-winning star Adrienne Warren. The honoree for the evening is Tony Award-Winner Robert Falls, celebrating 35 years as Artistic Director of the Goodman Theater. Proceeds from the Gala support Goodman Theatre’s Education and Engagement Programs.

7th Annual Celebrity Golf Classic

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Rich Harvest Farms | Courtesy of Fresh Start Kids.

When: May 22-23
Where: Rich Harvest Farms

Jermaine Dye of the Chicago White Sox will host the Seventh Annual Celebrity Golf Classic. The event will feature the PXG Celebrity Shootout, a Celebrity Golf Classic Pre-Tournament Dinner, and the main golf tournament. The event will raise money to support low-income, uninsured, and underinsured children with physical deformities through comprehensive healthcare treatments at no cost to the children and their families. 

Shirley Ryan Ability Lab’s Annual Spark Gala

When: May 26, 9:00a.m.-11:59p.m.
Where: TBD

Recognized as a top rehabilitation center for 30 years in a row, the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab introduces its revolutionary care through five Innovation Centers. Each Innovation Center focuses on an area of biomedical science: brain, spinal cord, nerve, muscle/bone, pediatric and cancer. The annual Spark! Gala supports these efforts. 

June

2022 Big Fish Ball

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When: June 1
Where: Friends of the River Chicago

The Big Fish Ball is Friends of the River’s largest fundraising event. This includes a cocktail hour that brings together 500 leaders and young professionals to the river with an opportunity to engage with wildlife and a three-course dinner. The program honors the recipients of the Chicago River Blue Awards, the highest achievement in river-sensitive designs along the river. The evening also includes a silent and live auction and a raffle featuring gifts and certificates from local businesses. 

Music Institute of Chicago’s 2022 Gala Benefit

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Gala Benefit Invitation. Courtesy of the Music Institute of Chicago. 

When: June 2, 6:00p.m.-9:00p.m.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

The Music Institute of Chicago has been providing music education and performances to individuals of all ages within the community. MIC’s annual Gala is the organization’s largest fundraising effort of the year with a goal to raise more than $850,000 to support the following efforts: need based financial aid and scholarship offerings, tuition free community engagement and school programs and neighborhood-based service activities. 

The 73rd Annual Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago Woman’s Board Summer Ball

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2021 Women’s Board Summer Ball. Courtesy of Boys & Girls of Chicago. 

When: June 3
Where: Four Seasons Chicago

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago serve young people from ages 5 to 18. They not only provide emotional support but educational and physical support as well. This Summer Ball supports the Women’s Board and goes towards these efforts. 

Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund 33rd Annual Golf Classic

When: June 6
Where: Exmoor Country Club

The nation’s largest golf event involves over 650 golfers playing on Chicago’s best courses. The scholarship fund helps provide educational access for students with limited financial means to attend college prep high school. 

ELPC’s 2022 Gala

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Navy Pier rooftop | Courtesy of ELCP. 

When: June 7, 5:30p.m.
Where: Navy Pier

The Environmental Law & Policy Center’s Gala funds go towards their efforts to using legal, public policy and communication tools to improve the environment and economy. This Summer in the City themed event will celebrate their undertaking. 

Chicago History Museum’s Making History Awards

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Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum. 

When: June 8, 6:00p.m.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel

The Making History Awards will host Chicago History Museum leadership and give insight into the Museum’s current initiatives and exhibitions. This event provides financial support to the Chicago History Museum’s programs which are the backbone of their scholarship and civic engagement efforts. 

Art of Skin Gala

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Art of Skin Gala Invitation. Courtesy of the Chicago Dermatological Society. 

When: June 10
Where: Revel Motor Row

The Art of Skin, sponsored by Janssen Biotech, celebrates the beauty and diversity of skin. The proceeds will benefit Chicago Dermatological Society leadership endowments and diversity mentorships, Horizons for Youth and High Jump.

Ingenuity Celebrates Equity in Arts Education

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Where: The Peninsula Chicago
When: June 14, 6:00p.m.-9:00p.m.

Ingenuity strives to give access to arts education for a well-rounded schooling experience. Annual achievements in driving systems-level change in CPS schools are being celebrated in the form of the in-person event.

July

Lincoln Park Zoo Ball

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Birds of Paradise | Courtesy of the Lincoln Park Zoo.

When: July 15
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo’s community engagement initiatives prioritize working with organizations and residents to establish long-term relationships and create change that benefits wildlife. This ball supports these efforts and is themed Birds of Paradise — presented by the Women’s Board of Lincoln Park Zoo. 

Ravinia Gala 2022

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Courtesy of Ravinia.

When: July 24
Where: 418 Sheridan Rd

This Gala, hosted by the Women’s Board, benefits Ravinia’s Reach*Teach*Play education programs. Annually, these programs engage more than 75,000 students and community members in interactive, free musical opportunities throughout Cook and Lake Counties.

August

Birdies & Books

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Courtesy of Bernie’s Book Bank.

When: August 29
Where: Shoreacres

Birdies & Books is the longest-running fundraising event for Bernie’s Book Bank, which provides books for underserved Chicagoland children.

September

American Cancer Society — Skyline Soiree

2021 Skyline Soiree | Courtesy of the American Cancer Society. 

When: September 9, 7:00p.m.
Where: 401 N Morgan St

Hosted by the associate board of ambassadors, the Skyline Soiree benefits the American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based volunteer health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem through research, education, advocacy and service. 

Annual Celestial Ball

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Courtesy of Adler Planetarium. 

When: September 10, 6:30p.m.-11:30p.m.
Where: Adler Planetarium

The Celestial Ball is the Adler Planetarium’s biggest fundraising event of the year. An experience “under the stars,” this event supports the Adler’s approach to scientific exploration celebrating community and connection to the universe. 

Lyric Opera’s Season Opening Gala

Lyric Opera Under the Stars tent - photo Jaclyn Smpson
Photo by Jaclyn Simpson.

When: September 10
Where: Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric’s Season Opening Gala is a project of the Women’s Board. It is a night of celebration that includes cocktails, dinner and dancing. 

Children’s Service Board of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Gold Coast Fashion Show

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Courtesy of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital.

When: September 12, 11:30a.m.-1:30p.m. and September 15, 6:00p.m.-10:00p.m.
Where: TBD

The Children’s Service Board of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is hosting the fashion show which will support The Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health. Monday will be a luncheon while Thursday will be for evening cocktails. 

Rush University Medical Center Woman’s Board Fall Benefit: Illuminate 

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2021 Benefit’s Women’s Board. Courtesy of Rush University Medical Center. 

When: September 16, 7:00p.m.
Where: Theater on the Lake

Funds raised from this event will support Rush University Medical Center’s 2022 principal projectThe Woman’s Board Fund for Excellence in Cellular Therapy, as well as the Medical Center’s education, research and community service programs.

CSOA’s Symphony Ball

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Courtesy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 

When: September 24
Where: Buntrock Hall and the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

The Women’s Board of the CSOA announced that the April Symphony Ball event raised over $1.2 million dollars for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and are inviting patron back to the Symphony Center to further support the cause. 

October

American Cancer Society’s Discovery Ball

When: October 1
Where: Hilton Chicago

This black-tie event includes a live auction, silent auction and raffle to support the American Cancer Society’s fight to free the world of cancer through research, support and spreading information. 

WINGS Purple Tie Ball

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When: October 1, 6:00p.m.-11:30p.m.
Where: TBD

WINGS is hosting a hybrid event ball with music by Maggie Speaks to support domestic violence awareness month. Speakers will share their stories and there will be an auction as well. The theme is roaring 20’s. 

November

Erikson Institute’s 2022 Annual Luncheon

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Courtesy of the Erikson Institute. 

When: November 2
Where: Hilton Chicago

The Erikson Institute is a higher education facility that is committed to ensuring that all students have equitable opportunities. The luncheon, featuring Michelle Obama, will promote and support these efforts. 

Paws Chicago Fur Ball

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Courtesy of PAWS Chicago. 

When: November
Where: TBD

PAWS Chicago strives to build No Kill Communities, starting with a No Kill Chicago. They also wish to end the overpopulation of homeless animals and transform animal welfare. These efforts will be supported with the Fur Ball. 

December

Children’s Research Fund Campaign & Children’s Ball

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2021 Children’s Ball. Courtesy of the Children’s Research Fund. 

When: December 3, 6:30p.m.
Where: TBD

The Children’s Research Fund has raised over $125 million to support medical research and invites patrons and community leaders to oversee the annual fundraising campaign. 


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alyssa

Alyssa Asaro lives in downtown Chicago with her fiancé. She is a published poet and writer who graduated from the University of Central Florida.