The Illinois Holocaust Museum’s Annual Soireé Goes Virtual – And, Still Makes A Huge Impact

Katie Kadan, a finalist on NBC’s The Voice, was the featured performer at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center Virtual Soireé on September 2. She was joined on ‘stage’ by the event’s emcee, Chicago Tribune social columnist Candace Jordan. The Soireé is the Women Leadership Committee’s (WLC) signature fundraising event – but this year is the first time they were not able to gather in person because of Covid-19.

Katie Kadan performs at the Soireé. Photo courtesy of ILHMEC.

Despite this challenge, the night was a huge success. The WLC entertained, enlightened, and educated over 1,100 guests online and raised $250,000 during this year’s program.  

The annual benefit raised funds to support the Museum’s mission to combat hatred, prejudice, and indifference – their founding principle being to “remember the past, transform the future.” The WLC will specifically allocate funds from this event to support upcoming special exhibitions, field trips to the Museum (virtual and in-person) for students in under-served communities, Law Enforcement Action and Democracy (LEAD) Training, and educational programs for college students. A timely and important initiative, LEAD Training provides Chicago Police recruits and newly promoted Sergeants and Lieutenants; Cook County Sheriff and Correctional Department recruits; and suburban law enforcement, with tools to understand abuses of authority, respond to hate crimes and bias, and balance the rights of individuals with social protections.

“With racism and antisemitism on the rise, connecting the lessons of the Holocaust to the present day is more urgent than ever,” said Museum CEO, and one of Better’s Most Powerful Women, Susan Abrams. “While the Museum focuses on education and awareness, social events such as the Soirée are another way to work toward our mission.” 

 Jewish musical artist Laurie Akers, cantors from North Shore congregations, and singers from the Bright Star Church of Chicago.

A compilation video of Museum Survivor Speakers also shared words of inspiration from their respective homes. Survivors Fritzie Fritzshall and Sam Harris also joined the event to share a special message with guests. There was also a performance led by Jewish musical artist Laurie Akers, cantors from North Shore congregations, and singers from the Bright Star Church of Chicago. Celebrities like Sharon Stone, Katie Couric, and Bonnie Hunt also chimed in to support the mission of the Museum.

Missed the event? You can watch the recording of Soirée here.

To support the Museum’s mission and work, you can donate online.

About the Women’s Leadership Committee

The Women’s Leadership Committee (WLC) was formed 11 years ago with the goal of increasing awareness for the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center. The Committee provides fundraising support to the Museum with a focus on educational programming. Past sponsored events include book and author discussions, film screenings, private exhibition openings, art discussions, and more. The Soirée is the signature fundraising event for the WLC. 

About Illinois Holocaust Museum

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center honors the Survivors and victims of the Holocaust and transforms history into current, relevant, and universal lessons in humanity. Through world-class exhibitions and programs, the Museum inspires individuals and organizations and provides a universal wake-up call to action: Take history to heart. Take a stand for humanity. The Museum is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. with last admission at 4:00 p.m. For more information, visit or call 847-967-4800.

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