SOS Illinois 2016 Year in Review: Top 10 Highlights

Look back with us on some of the amazing highlights of 2016 at SOS Illinois.

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Each year we are inspired by new partnerships, the deepening connections with existing partners, and the tireless dedication our extended family and community shows toward our mission.

2016, just as in past years, proved to be eventful and inspiring in myriad ways. As the year comes to a close, we invite you to look back on ten of these special moments with us. Each highlight underscores the foundation of hope that is so pivotal to our mission, helping us move forward with optimism and renewed dedication in the new year. We thank you for being a part of our community of changemakers and peacemakers, and look forward to doing more great work in 2017.

10. Swissôtel Chicago Helped us Grow

We were truly fortunate to have Swissôtel Chicago’s partnership and friendship in 2016. Thanks to them, our children had so many opportunities for growth, particularly when it came to learning about the gardens in our Villages. At our annual Harvest Festival, Swissôtel taught our children about grow towers, composting, and the connection between the garden and healthy living and eating. Thanks to our friends at Swissôtel Chicago for sharing their enthusiasm and passion for creating new learning and enrichment opportunities for our youth, and helping us all grow.

9. Chicago Magazine Chose SOS Illinois as Featured Charity at Best of Chicago 2016

In 2015, we were honored to be named one of 20 top charities in Chicago by Chicago Magazine, and in 2016 we were privileged to receive another honor by the publication: we were named as the charitable partner and beneficiary for the Best of Chicago 2016 event, hosted by our corporate partner Wintrust Financial. We are so grateful to Chicago Magazine for their continued support and recognition. Read more about the event here.

8. We Introduced Dream Makers: A Monthly Giving Program

Hope is paramount to the SOS Illinois mission. In that spirit, we were proud to launch a monthly giving program, Dream Makers. Our Dream Makers are pivotal to giving hope to our children and all that they dream about and aspire to. Learn more about their impact, and how you can become an SOS Children’s Villages Illinois Dream Maker today.

7. Mosaic and Dell Gave the Gift of Learning

Mosaic, one of our new 2016 corporate partners, and their Dell team made a significant impact with their generous donation of 34 laptops. This contribution provided much relief for our case workers, eliminating the need to complete stacks of paperwork by hand. In addition, our 2016 graduating seniors were thrilled to put these laptops to use as they move on to further their education. We recognized this amazing gift at our first annual Village-wide graduation party, which Mosaic also sponsored. Read more about how we celebrated the class of 2016.

6. We Experienced A Magic Minute with Anthony “Spice” Adams

Thanks to PSCU, who chose SOS Illinois as a beneficiary of the 4th Annual Credit Union Magic Minute, and the speedy and dedicated Anthony “Spice” Adams (former Chicago Bears defensive tackle) who ran on our behalf, the holidays were a bit merrier and brighter. Read more about this magic minute with “Spice” Adams.

5. NBC Chicago Recognized SOS Illinois as an Organization “Making a Difference”

NBC Chicago’s “Making a Difference” segment features organizations in Chicago communities that are making a true and marked impact. SOS Illinois was honored to be featured in 2016 in company with other nonprofits and individuals who are making a difference in Chicago. Learn more and watch the segment here.

4. CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson Spoke at our 2016 Annual Meeting

At our 2016 Annual Meeting, we recognized some of the individuals who made an incredible impact throughout the year, and we were also honored to welcome the evening’s keynote speaker, Eddie T. Johnson, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. He shared with attendees the importance of our mission, and commended our Villages as a stabilizing presence in the larger neighborhoods and communities we serve. Read more about this special evening.

3. Wintrust Financial put SOS Illinois on the Kennedy Expressway

Countless drivers pass by the Wintrust mural building on the Kennedy Expressway, one of the busiest highways in Illinois. It’s a space that features Chicagoland organizations and the work they do in the community, and SOS Illinois had the honor of this spotlight earlier in 2016. Thanks to the support of our corporate partner Wintrust Financial, they brought a vision of a child’s imagination to life through the mural. They also captured the importance we place on providing safety and encouragement to the children in our care, so that they can reach for and achieve their dreams.

Read more about and see this amazing mural come to life from vision to reality.

2. SOS Illinois Teen Selected as Posse Foundation Scholar

One of our SOS Illinois teens was recently nominated as one of two students from his high school for a scholarship from The Posse Foundation. This foundation asks all Chicago high schools to nominate ten exceptional students with a track record of outstanding academic performance.

After a rigorous nomination and interview process, we are proud to announce that The Posse Foundation named our teen as a scholar—beating out nearly 3,000 other applicants. This scholarship will cover college tuition for a full four years. With the support of the teen’s Foster Parent and the Village, our youth is well on the way to a brighter future.

1. Maestro Cares Foundation Made a Transformational Gift

Marc Anthony, Anthony Cardenas, and Maestro Cares Foundation provided a truly transformational gift to SOS Illinois, marking this event as the top highlight of 2016. Their contribution of $500,000 will go toward building and realizing a vision for a community center at our Roosevelt Square Village.

We are truly honored to have the support and partnership of Maestro Cares, an organization that, like SOS Illinois, believes in doing its utmost to provide children in need the care and resources they need and deserve. SOS Illinois looks forward to making this communal, safe space a source of stability and hope for the community in the new year and in the coming years. Read more about Maestro Cares’ transformational gift.

Thank you to all of our sponsors, corporate partners, Board Members, staff, and individual supporters and friends for all that you contributed in 2016. We cannot fulfill our mission without you. We look forward to having you join us in 2017 for continued hard work and successes.

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