Connections for the Homeless Hosts Spring Benefit and Auction

Connections_small1Imagine how jealous the kids at school will be when you give your daughter a guitar autographed by Taylor Swift. It’s just one of the items up for auction at the Connections for the Homeless 2010 spring benefit.

The black-tie optional event will be held on Saturday, April 17, at the Four Seasons in Chicago. A $175-ticket will let you bid on more than 150 auction items and dance the night away while listening to Evanston’s own Ken Arlen Orchestra. And, of course, no party would be complete without cocktails and dinner.

If the price is right, you can take home a guitar signed by Carlos Santana, posters autographed by Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers or the stars from “Harry Potter.” Or you might win a Mexican vacation, a trip to a Wisconsin barn or a week-long stay at a Parisian apartment. You may even be lucky enough to snatch a home-cooked dinner for 12, courtesy of the Chef Jonadab Silva from Jacky’s on Prairie.

Connections_small3Connections for the Homeless serves adults and families affected by or threatened with homelessness in 30 communities of northern Cook County. This event is especially important because the organization’s state funds were cut by 80 percent this year, says Catherine Leonard, benefit chair and vice president of the board of directors.

Aside from fundraising, the organization is hoping the benefit will raise awareness about the services it offers. “[Connections for the Homeless] is a multifaceted organization,” Leonard says. “We’re trying to make our generous donors aware that the dollars they give are going to good use in a sophisticated organization, not just a shelter.”

Connections for the Homeless offers health services and an entry-point program that assigns individuals a case manager to help determine a person’s goals and needs. Hilda’s Place, a transitional shelter in Evanston, provides housing for up to six months.

But the ultimate goal—helping people find stability through permanent housing and work—could not be done without the efforts of the staff. So this year, Leonard is making sure that they are recognized at the spring benefit.

“Some of the donations are going to buy staff members’ tickets. It’s touching,” she says. “That’s where the rubber hits the road. They’re the ones taking people down to the courthouse to tackle eviction cases and get ID cards to help people find jobs.”