Carole Robertson Center for Learning to Host E3 Gala Supporting the Mission to Educate, Enrich and Empower Chicago Children and Youth

For over 45 years, the Carole Robertson Center for Learning has been committed to the development of children, youth and their families across Chicago — serving culturally, linguistically and ethnically diverse populations and reaching more than 2,500 children and families across 27 communities. In celebration of this impactful work and the people who make it happen “for, by and with the community,” the Carole Robertson Center will be hosting its annual fundraiser on May 11, from 6-10pm at Venue West, 221 N. Paulina St., Chicago. 

The rebranded 2023 E3 Gala — which stands for “educate, enrich and empower” in reflection of the organization’s social justice mission — will put an emphasis on the ways in which the Center and its dedicated workforce uplift children, families and communities through comprehensive and high-quality early childhood education (prenatal-5 years), youth development (5-17 years), family support services, community-based advocacy and much more.

Featured at the event will be keynote speaker Shermann “Dilla” Thomas — a Chicago Urban Historian who has garnered acclaim and a tremendous fan following for his in-depth, unique exploration of city neighborhoods often overlooked by traditional tourism. The evening will be hosted by returning MC Jacoby Cochran, the host of popular daily news podcast City Cast Chicago. The Center will be honoring its award winners: Congressman Mike Quigley — U.S. Representative, Illinois’ 5th Congressional District — as the Curba Merrill Friend of the Center Awardee, and Labelmaster — leaders in software, products and services for business shipping — as Corporate Partner of the Year. 

Additionally, a young college-bound student in the Center’s youth development program will receive the Carole Robertson Memorial Scholarship Award. The award, like the organization itself, honors the four young girls — Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley — who lost their lives after a bomb detonated in a prominent Black church in Birmingham, Alabama, in September 1963. The organization’s name is a reminder of the Center’s permanent commitment to actualize the potential of all children.

CRCL has three flagship sites in Little Village, North Lawndale and, as of 2021, Albany Park. Both Congressman Quigley, who has made significant capital allocations to the Albany Park site, and Labelmaster, which was selected as both a leading Albany Park company and a longtime friend of the community, are Center partners. In further support, major sponsors include Exelon, Adams Street Partners, PNC, Walgreens, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Joanne and Jim Steinback, and Larry Mages.

Want to attend, sponsor or donate to the 2023 E3 Gala? Head over to the event website. For more information, contact Erica Rangel, Senior Director of Development, via email: or phone: 312.243.7300, ext. 201.

Readers interested in supporting the critical work of the Center can visit the Carole Robertson Center for Learning to find more information on their mission and services.

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Margaret Smith is a Chicago-based writer and editor with a passion for socio-political storytelling about their community. They are a graduate of Columbia College Chicago.

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