Better Makers: Chicago Lights Raises Over $650,000 at 29th Annual Gala of Hope

Chicago Lights’ Gala of Hope returned in-person on Friday, March 4 at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, with 330 patrons supporting the youth development and social services programs offered by the organization since 1964. Co-chaired by Bill Patterson and Pete Shannon, founding members of Chicago Lights’ Associate Board in 2011, and managed by Chicago Lights’ Associate Director of Development Laura Woods, the black-tie fundraising gala kicked off with a cocktail hour followed by celebrations and entertainment throughout the evening. 

Chicago Lights’ Gala of Hope was held on Friday, March 4 at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago.

Chicago Lights’ supports youth and adults throughout Chicagoland who continue to face economic hardships, especially during the pandemic. The $650,00 raised will support the non-profit’s social services, arts and mental health initiatives, including tutoring, dance academy, urban farming and summer programs, plus the Elam Davies Social Service Center and a mental wellness counseling center. 

Benefits from the Gala of Hope benefit Chicago Lights’ programming, including their social services center.

The organization’s executive director, Stacy Jackson, commenced the evening’s events, dedicating the first toast of the night to the 150th anniversary of the Fourth Presbyterian Church, founder and partner of Chicago Lights for many years. Fourth Presbyterian Church’s Pastor, Shannon Kershner, proffered a blessing and emphasized the importance of the work that Chicago Lights does in the city.

Chicago Lights Fundraiser
Shannon (Fourth Presbyterian Church Pastor) and Greg Kershner (Chicago).

Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed live entertainment from the Ken Arlen Evolution Orchestra as well as live and silent auctions led by charity auctioneer, Jim Miller. Some of the event’s premier auction items included a group tour of the Bayless Gardens with Chef Rick Bayless and a VIP tour of the Art Institute of Chicago hosted by Art Institute curator Gloria Groom.

Chicago Lights Fundraiser
Jane Ostrander and Ingrid Koepcke of Evanston browsing silent auction items at the Gala of Hope.

Both co-chairs reflected on their experiences with the Chicago Lights community over the past decade, with Patterson describing a poignant moment during which he overheard a conversation between two individuals with one explaining how Chicago Lights had changed his life. 

Chicago Lights Fundraiser
Debbie Frisch and Nathalie Loma (Chicago).

Notable guests included WGN anchor Dina Bair and Ulta Beauty CEO David Kimbell. 

Gala of Hope sponsors and key partners included the Fourth Presbyterian Church, Kirkland & Ellis, Ulta Beauty, Andy McGaan, Brian Van Klompenberg, and Jennifer Kurth Van Klompenberg. 

More from Better:

Donna Berry Glass

Donna Berry Glass is a freelance writer in Marin County who writes mostly about family and kid-oriented topics. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family exploring the natural beauty of Marin, snuggling with her Cavalier King Charles spaniel while reading a good book or whipping up something delicious in her space-challenged kitchen. Donna is a supporter of the California Academy of Sciences, a world class science museum and research institution, and the Institute on Aging which provides much needed services to seniors and disabled individuals.

  Who We Are       NFP Support       Magazine       Programs       Donate