SOS Illinois Presents: Top 10 Highlights From 2015

December 29, 2015

Sharing Our Good News

As we look back at 2015, much of what we have seen in the news weighs heavy on our minds and hearts. I want to take a moment to share with you a different kind of story for the year: our top 10 highlights supporting good news about SOS Children’s Villages Illinois.

Looking forward to new beginnings and renewal in 2016, I ask you to take some time to support the work we do to build families and strengthen communities by sharing our good news with others. Please join us in celebrating these highlights and looking forward to more great news in the coming year.

-Tim McCormick, CEO, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois

2015 Highlights

10. We Networked With 3,000+ Mom Bloggers

Social Good Moms is a blogger network of over 3,000 mom bloggers throughout 20 countries. The network uses social media to champion the work NGOs (non-governmental organizations) throughout the world are doing for the greater good. We were honored to be featured on the Social Good Moms blog by founder Jennifer James—who had visited our Chicago Village and saw firsthand what our Village model of care looks like in practice.

Read How Foster Parents Make Up The Backbone Of SOS Children’s Villages Illinois.

9. SOS Illinois was a Radio Star

In case you missed the chance to tune in during the year, take the opportunity to listen to some radio spots featuring SOS Illinois CEO Tim McCormick on: the history of the organization; the unique model of care; and the very special work of our mission-driven Foster Parents. Catch up before the ball drops:

8. The Related Midwest and Lend Lease Annual Charity Golf Classic Hit Another Hole-In-One

The Related Midwest and Lend Lease Annual Charity Golf Classic is a premier golf outing that brings in great support for SOS Children’s Villages Illinois. In 2015 the event sold out with over 300 golfers in attendance and raised over $400,000. Proceeds benefitted SOS Children’s Villages Illinois along with two other child welfare organizations.

This year’s Golf Classic was notable because it also marked $2 million raised throughout the history of the annual event.

7. Our First Annual Back-to-School Supply Drive Was Head of the Class

656 notebooks, 837 folders, 1394 pens, and 4176 pencils — just a few of the items we aimed to collect over the summer during our first-ever Back-to-School Supply Drive. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and contributions from our supporters, we were able to help prepare our children and families for a great school year ahead.

We look forward to filling up backpacks again next summer for another excellent academic year.

6. Kerry Wood and AMLI Picnicked with SOS Illinois Children

This summer, AMLI hosted a Back-to-School Picnic at The University of Illinois at Chicago Granderson Stadium. It wasn’t just another baseball game for SOS Illinois Children, though: they spent time on the field enjoying games with the UIC Flames, and former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood even joined in the fun.

Thanks to AMLI, Kerry Wood, and the UIC Flames, it was a very special day at the ball park for our children.

5. SOS Illinois Celebrated

2015 marked SOS Children’s Villages Illinois’ 25th anniversary year. To celebrate this milestone, SOS Illinois hosted an anniversary celebration, Making An Impact: Celebrating 25 Years, on June 25, 2015. It was an evening to reflect on the rich history of the organization and toast its future growth and success. View pictures from the special event and view the anniversary video.

And on October 15, 2015, SOS Illinois gathered for a Cirque Soiree-themed Evening of Hope, the 5th of its kind, which raised over $260,000. The evening was a great success thanks to our sponsors and guests. Continue reading about the event and view the event photo album here.

4. SOS Illinois Got Social

This past year we saw great growth in the way we connected with and met new supporters, friends, and allies on: our website, through newsletters, from Foster Parent recruitment videos, and across social media channels like Facebook and Twitter — where we’ve had a 31% and 42% increase, respectively, in our following in just the past six months. We are looking forward to expanding our connections and family in the new year. Stay tuned for more news as we launch on Instagram in January 2016.

3. Shameless Cast Members Visited SOS Illinois

SOS Illinois downtown staff were delighted and surprised when Shameless cast members Shanola Hampton and Steve Howey stopped by while filming in Chicago, to contribute a year-end gift and support the work we do. They were generous with their praise of the organization as well as their time— by snapping selfies with all of us. It was a great treat and pleasure to meet them both.

2. Chicago Magazine Named SOS Illinois a Top Area Charity

In Chicago Magazine’s November 2015 issue, The Best Charities in Chicago: 20 standout nonprofits to support this season featured SOS Children’s Villages Illinois as one of two noteworthy “Kids & Education” organizations. Out of 18,239 nonprofits in the greater Chicago area, 71 earn Charity Navigator’s highest rating of four stars, but only 20 were chosen as standouts based on “mission, impact, and value to their community.” It was an honor to be recognized in company with 19 other Chicago-area nonprofits and charities that do exceptional work throughout the city.

And for the highlight of 2015, drumroll, please…

1. Michael Jordan Made a Difference

Michael Jordan made 2015 for SOS Children’s Villages Illinois with a generous, one-time, year-end gift. Mr. Jordan chose SOS Illinois, along with 22 other Chicago-area charities, to receive the proceeds from a recent settlement concerning his identity.

Mr. Jordan said in a statement that:

“The 23 charities I’ve chosen to make donations to all support the health, education and well-being of the kids of Chicago. Chicago has given me so much and I want to give back to its kids – the city’s future.”

“The work these groups do each and every day to help kids is inspiring. I feel strongly about the importance of teaching and mentoring, of helping kids with disabilities and illnesses and providing opportunities for at-risk youth. I hope the donations can help these organizations continue to make positive changes within their neighborhoods and throughout the city.”

Read the press release here and consider “being like Mike” and contributing a year-end gift today.

Thank you to Michael Jordan, and thanks to all of our corporate partners, sponsors, and supporters for making 2015 a great year.

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