On Monday, March 10, 2014, top Make-A-Wish® Illinois donors gathered at Del Frisco’s Chicago for the annual Donor Reception to celebrate achievements on behalf of the organization.
Chris Rother, Chair of the Board of Directors, welcomed attendees and announced that the organization will be able to grant more than 700 wishes this year thanks to their generous support, changing the lives of each child for years to come. “The impact of a wish is not limited to the child on the day it is granted,” said Rother. “Being involved in granting a wish can be greatly enriching for everyone involved; the child and his or her family, the volunteers, businesses that participate and our generous donors who provide the means to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”
Fellow board members Laura Brown, Steven Gadomski and Tara Shawel were in attendance, as were former board members Ken Gaines and Wayne Janus, and Make-A-Wish® America Board of Directors alumna, Andrea Hunt.
The evening paid honor to new members of the Chris Greicius Society, a national giving society which allows Make-A-Wish to recognize donors who make significant lifetime contributions, with donors identified by cumulative gifts of cash of $100,000 or more.
New members of the Chris Greicius Society of Joy for lifetime giving between $500,000 and up to $1 Million include Ultimate Gymnastics of Gurnee, represented by Rob and Nancy Northrip, Rebecca Sanders, Steve Kams and Annette Schueneman.
New to the Chris Greicius Society of Hope for lifetime giving between $100,000 and up to $250,000 were Armond & Kitty Dinverno, The J.W. Gardner II Foundation, The Pentair Foundation, United Healthcare and Walgreens Company.
Past inductees into the Leaders in Joy in attendance were also recognized including The Chicago Blackhawks, The Chicago Bulls, Chi Omega and Oak Lawn Hometown Middle School.
Additionally, the Make-A-Wish Illinois Commitment to Excellence Awards were presented. These awards recognize outstanding leadership and partnership of the organization’s mission and were presented to the following groups: Outstanding Community Partner - Buffy Slay-A-Thon; Outstanding Corporate Partner - Scott Byron & Company; Outstanding Foundation Partner - Manne Family Foundation.
Three special former wish children served as Wish Ambassadors to help with the recognition of contributors. Noah, 5, wished to be Benny the Bull’s Assistant and to meet his namesake, Joakim Noah. Maya, 11, just got back from her trip to Hawaii in January. Janera, 18, wished to go to the 2014 Grammy Awards.
Stephanie Springs, Chief Executive Officer for Make-A-Wish Illinois noted that the organization will grant their 12,000th wish later this month. “It is hard to believe that nearly 12,000 children have been provided wish experiences by Make-A-Wish Illinois,” said Springs. “Each of the wishes we have granted was an individual experience created especially to fulfill that child’s dream. We are humbled and inspired by your faith in Make-A-Wish and our determination to reach children across Illinois with our mission.”
Attendees enjoyed a cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a special appearance by Benny the Bull.
Thank you to Del Frisco’s Chicago for hosting this exquisite evening. Thank you to all of our donors for being a part of the Make-A-Wish family and for your continued commitment to supporting wishes.