Each December, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois gathers at its Annual Meeting to celebrate the year’s accomplishments and envision the future. This year, the organization shared how it is making state-of-the-heart developments for children in foster care, introduced the celebration of our 30th anniversary, and honored special partners and individuals in business and leadership for their contributions to our community. Ted Selogie, General Manager of Swissôtel Chicago, offered the keynote address.
This Year’s Annual Meeting
On December 4, we gathered alongside SOS Illinois staff, board members, corporate partners, donors, and friends at Drinker Biddle & Reath for our 2019 Annual Meeting, “State of the Heart.” Built to showcase the innovative and groundbreaking ways that we are providing care to children in foster care and at-risk families, State of the Heart invited guests to hear the accomplishments of 2019 as we move forward together in our 30th year of service.
“Each of you, our supporters, are key to our ability to move and create ground breaking opportunities…” SOS Illinois CEO, Tim McCormick, shared during his opening remarks. “This outpouring of resources allows children to heal, grow, and rebuild their lives . . . and with that, we do the incredible work of transforming the state of each child’s heart.”
Among the areas celebrated, SOS Illinois highlighted key areas of growth, sustainability, and care, including: providing over 1.3 million hours of care to children and families; caring for over 500 children at our Villages and surrounding communities; supporting 69 children as transitioned into “forever homes”; hiring 11 new Foster Parents; reaching over 1.5 million people on our social media channels; raising $1.8 million through donations, events, and corporate partnerships; celebrating 100% high school graduation for the fourteenth year in a row, and many more notable successes.
For the first time this year, this information was presented in an engaging “Year in Review” video during our meeting. This new format allows our friends and followers to easily share our successes with others by passing on the link. Additionally, the evening featured a promotional video to kick-off our 30th anniversary celebration, introduced by SOS Illinois Board of Directors President, Jim Wolfe. Both of these videos are available on our YouTube channel.
Ted Selogie Presents the State of the Heart Keynote
At the heart of the gathering was the keynote speech offered by Ted Selogie, General Manager of Swissôtel Chicago. As a supporter of SOS Illinois, Ted patiently works alongside the children in our care on many programs and workshops throughout the year. From participating as a mentor during Career Days held at the hotel, to attending on-site programming at one of our Villages, to employing an SOS Illinois alum, Ted continuously demonstrates the power of community engagement in and out of his professional role. It is this very inspiration and encouragement that made him a perfect speaker as we ready ourselves to honor the last thirty years of transformation.
During his speech, Ted spoke lovingly and thoughtfully to the community of guests, asking the gathering a series of questions he often poses to his hotel staff: “How do we teach our next generation to reach out and help someone? How do we model behaviors that people of strong faith believe that goodness is all about? How do we positively change the community in which we live for those less fortunate?”
Ted went onto share, “My team, my family of over 300 at Swissôtel believe in one another, and that they, too, can make a difference to make the world a better place. To affect the life of a child is the responsibility of everyone…And extending a hand to someone who has less than them is a key component.”
Additionally, Ted made a point to mention his excitement for the next chapter of Swissôtel Chicago’s partnership with SOS Children’s Villages Illinois: a vocational program focused on hospitality and culinary education at the upcoming Roosevelt Square Community Center. Ted noted that this special place, and the resources provided through the collaboration with SOS Illinois and Swissôtel Chicago, offer necessary training skills for our youth both looking to enter into the culinary or hospitality field, and other transferable skills to empower youth to reach their goals.
Ted concluded his keynote with naming how SOS Illinois impacts the Swissôtel Chicago community, demonstrating how mutual the partnership is to us both. “What this means to us as an employer is very significant for retention and purpose…I know you’ve all heard the saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ I am proud we are part of the SOS [Illinois] family.”
2019 Award Recipients
SOS Children’s Villages Illinois was proud to recognize five individuals and businesses during the 2019 Annual Meeting for their tremendous contributions and dedication to the children and families we serve. Each honoree offered heartwarming, personal remarks, and shared how their unique ties to SOS Illinois not only strengthens the lives of those within our community, but personally rewards them as well. The 2019 Honorees were:
Chicago Yacht Club (Making a Difference Award)
The Chicago Yacht Club (CYC) stands both at the pinnacle of sailing history in Chicago, as well as Chicago’s philanthropic legacy. As a partner to SOS Illinois, the CYC has generously hosted special Sailing Dinners for the children and families we serve, allowing our youth, Foster Parents, and staff the unique opportunity to learn the joys of sailing on Lake Michigan alongside the Club’s top captains and members. Additionally, SOS Illinois has benefitted from the CYC’s “Chicago Regatta” for the last several years, helping to tremendously make a difference in our programs and services, benefitting siblings in care and at-risk families.
Bert Brandt – Lendlease (Distinguished Business Leadership Award)
As a longtime SOS Illinois supporter and partner, Bert Brandt and the team at Lendlease have played a major role in building the foundational resources needed both within our programs and services, and the facilities through which we operate. Bert and his team at Lendlease are instrumental in the Roosevelt Square Community Center construction, including bringing significant in-kind support from other area businesses. As one half of the Related Midwest/Lendlease Annual Golf Classic, Bert and his team have leveraged major financial contributions each fall to SOS Illinois, totaling over $1M.
Alex Pissios (2019 Distinguished Community Leadership Award)
Alex Pissios, President of Cinespace Chicago Film Studio, embodies what it means to provide thoughtful, community-first leadership in business. Whether putting Chicago on the media map with high-quality film and television productions at Cinespace, engaging with the SOS Illinois President’s Council, or participating as a Dining & Conversation Luminary, Alex is widely known for his immense kindness, generosity, and commitment to building a better Chicago.
Mike Landers – Sodexo USA (Distinguished Corporate Leadership Award)
As the 2019 Dining & Conversation Sponsor and the 2020 Dining & Conversation Presenting Sponsor, Sodexo USA is transforming what it means to serve children. Whether leading his team in providing food service and facilities management to Chicago Public Schools, to interacting with our children and families, Mike Landers (Vice President – Chicago of Sodexo USA) routinely demonstrates care towards the wellness of children. In doing so, Mike helps ensure that youth around the city are able to reach academic success, enjoy healthy living, and absorb social-emotional learning in the classroom and beyond.
Minnie Reed (Foster Parent Caring for Children Award – 24 years of service)
As one of the first Foster Parents at Lockport Village, Minnie has been an institution within the SOS Illinois community for nearly a quarter of a century. As a woman of fierce love, faith, and service, Minnie dedicated 24 years of caring for children in foster care at SOS Illinois, as well as numerous years of providing community-based foster care prior to joining our team. Within her time at SOS Illinois, Minnie has cared not only for sibling groups, but even opened her Village home to care for a biological mother of children in her care who was battling a terminal illness. Filled with passion for caring for others and a desire to encourage others to do the same, Minnie filled our Lockport Village with wisdom, courage, and kindness.
Gratitude for Drinker Biddle & Reath
We always extend our immense gratitude to the thoughtful hospitality of the staff at Drinker Biddle & Reath (including SOS Illinois board member, Laurie Holmes) for providing such a beautiful, welcoming space for our Annual Meeting. From working alongside our staff to ensure that the A/V equipment is functioning, to providing cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts at the conclusion of our meeting, Drinker Biddle & Reath provides the perfect atmosphere for our guests. Thank you, as always, for helping to make this event so special.
About Ted Selogie, State of the Heart Keynote Speaker
Ted Selogie, General Manager of Swissôtel Chicago, carries on a longtime partnership with SOS Children’s Villages Illinois. Within his role at Swissôtel Chicago, Ted brings over 20 years of hospitality experience, beginning his career in 1995 when he held progressive roles with Schaumburg Marriott Hotel and Renaissance Cleveland Hotel at Public Square. Ted studied Industrial Engineering and Marketing at the University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois. Since leading the hotel, he has participated in making Swissôtel a Top 100 workplace for two years, is an active member of RiiSE, spearheaded Black History Month at the hotel, and contributed to growth in Colleague Engagement.