Best of 2021: Philanthropy

Best of 2021_ Philanthropy Winners

These organizations are making a huge difference in the lives of Chicagoans. Here are your best picks for non-profits to support this year.

Best Fundraiser (City)
JDRF One Dream Gala

JDRF’s mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent, and treat type 1 diabetes (T1D) and its complications. The JDRF Illinois Chapter serves the Chicagoland and greater Illinois T1D community by providing resources, supporting community outreach, and organizing fundraising events including their annual JDRF One Dream Gala. In past years, this event has raised over $9 million for T1D research.

Best Charity Walk/Run
PAWS Chicago 5K Walk/Run

Photo by Christine Irvine

PAWS Chicago (Pets Are Worth Saving) is an organization committed to bringing an end to the killing of homeless cats and dogs. They find homes for 5,000 dogs and cats annually through its adoption centers and operate one of the largest high volume free and low-cost spay/neuter clinics in the country. This year’s annual Walk/Run will be held on September 18, and will help to further PAWS’ mission to build a No Kill city. Visit their website for more information.

Best Fundraiser (Suburbs)
Rush Woman’s Auxiliary Cook’s Tour

Spearheaded by The Woman’s Board at Rush University Medical Center, the annual Cook’s Tour welcomes over 600 guests for an intimate tour of stunning homes to benefit the work of Rush University Medical Center. Funds raised from this year’s Tour on September 22 will specifically go toward the Woman’s Board Fund for Precision Oncology. Purchase your tickets on the event website for a night filled with beautiful outdoor spaces, the Cooks’ Tour raffle, silent auction, and more. 

Best Give-Back Opportunity (City)
Greater Chicago Food Depository

Greater Chicago Food Depository

The Greater Chicago Food Depository believes that “a healthy community starts with food.” This organization connects over 700 partner organizations and programs – food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, mobile distributions and other partners – working to bring food, dignity and hope to our neighbors across Chicago and Cook County. Visit their website to learn more and find out ways you can get involved in their mission.

Best Give-Back Opportunity (Suburbs)
Mothers Trust Foundation Pop Up Prom Shoppe

Each April as Prom approaches, Mothers Trust Foundation partners with Zengeler Cleaners and College of Lake County for their Pop Up Prom Shoppe. This fundraiser helps further the organization’s mission of “providing immediate assistance during times of crisis to low-income children living in Lake County, Illinois.”

Best Gala
Lincoln Park Zoo Ball

Hosted by the Woman’s Board, the Zoo Ball is Lincoln Park Zoo’s largest annual fundraiser. The event begins with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and entertainment. The event serves as a way for business, civic, and philanthropic leaders to gather and support the zoo’s efforts to “connect people with nature at one of the only remaining free zoos in the United States.”

Category Sponsor
Sturm Realty LLC

Pandemic Pivot

“Impeccable communication includes active listening to understand…. this key characteristic became especially important during the past year while navigating the erratic terrain of commercial real estate. Providing a long term road map to secure the future, offering flexibility to make changes regarding term and footprint, were critical factors in the negotiations for our clients.” – Gail Sturm, Founder, Sturm Realty LLC

Gail’s Top 5 Philanthropy Picks

Brushwood Center
21850 Riverwoods Rd, Riverwoods
As Brushwood’s Board Chair, I am passionate about the healing value of nature and the arts for ALL. Through intentional collaborations, we help respond to the needs of the world as it is and inspire hope for the world as it could be.

The Way of the Rain
Founded by Artistic Director Sibylle Szaggars Redford, The Way of the Rain creates Multi- Disciplinary Environmental Art Performances that are designed to promote public awareness and support for the protection of our Earth thereby creating healthy and vital communities.

The Redford Center
The Redford Center uses the power of story- telling to galvanize environmental justice and regeneration. By amplifying and changing the conversations around environmentalism, they aim to engage a much broader and more diverse population to take action in the movement.

Clean Energy Trust
20 N Upper Wacker Dr #734, Chicago
As an entrepreneur and environmentalist I am passionate about Clean Energy Trust. It brings clean-tech innovation to market by finding, funding, and growing high-impact cleantech startups from the Midwest.

The Josselyn Center
405 Central Ave. Northfield
Mental and emotional health is critical to well being. Josselyn Center meets the person where he/she is and provides a breadth of services supporting a model of person-centered, com- prehensive and compassionate clinical care.


Back to Best of 2021