Evening of Hope is the annual fall fundraising event for SOS Children’s Villages Illinois. The funds raised from this event play an incredibly important role in the wellbeing of the children and families we serve, and this year was no exception. Check out the photos of this event at the end of this article!
About Evening of Hope 2019
Held on Thursday, October 10 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Evening of Hope was a celebration of innovation, community, and hope. The event honored the builders and visionaries who keep SOS Illinois charged to continue breaking new ground in Illinois foster care through charitable works of giving and awareness-raising. Over 600 guests enjoyed the street food carving stations, cocktails, silent auction items, DJ R3DLINE, and the incredible museum exhibits featured at Evening of Hope 2019.
VIP Reception Brings Together Illinois Industry Leaders
Leaders in the transportation industry joined board members and sponsors for a special reception prior to the main event that highlighted the important work of SOS Illinois. Evening of Hope 2019 VIP Honorees included: José Alvarez, Illinois Tollway Executive Director; Jamie Rhee, Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner; Rocky Donahue, PACE Executive Director; Omer Osman, Illinois Department of Transportation Acting Secretary; Bruce M. Marcheschi, METRA Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Executive Director; and Retired Judge Gloria Chevere, Chicago Transit Authority Board Member. Each VIP Honoree shared inspirational remarks on their dedication to the services provided by SOS Illinois.
Welcomed by Board President Jim Wolfe, attendees were thanked by Event Chair and Board Vice President John Trotta who shared, “I am so proud to be in this industry . . . you are amazing, and when you are downstairs you’ll see there are going to be 500-600 people here who care about our kids . . . To see the kids graduate, to see the difference we collectively have made is amazing.”
VIP Honorees Share Wisdom and Commitment of SOS Illinois’ Mission
José Alvarez, Illinois Tollway Executive Director, who first learned of the SOS Illinois mission during his time at the Chicago Housing Authority, started by discussing Casa Tepeyac, the site in the Back of the Yards Neighborhood, and how he remembered the vacant lot before the facility was built, “The kids that benefit from this, the families that benefit from it, these are the same families I grew up around. These are the same kids I went to high school with. And these are the same kids that may be going to school with my kids. Thanks to organizations like yours, you help kids actually make it home . . . this is a real organization making a real difference for people.”
Jamie Rhee, Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner shared that she is a DCFS Foster Parent and has been caring for her child since she was 18 months old. She continued, “We owe it to the generations coming to make sure we are providing the best environment for them to succeed . . . we have a vested interest in creating that pipeline for the next generation . . . and that starts with each and every one of us, in this room, every day to say how do we make the north and the west and the south sides of Chicago equal. How do we give equal access to jobs and opportunities and businesses to grow and flourish and be diverse. These kids deserve it.”
Rocky Donahue, PACE Executive Director remarked, “all of you in this room, be it the staff at SOS (Illinois), or the board, or those volunteers, you’re the real honorees . . . this organization does meaningful work that changes children’s lives and families’ lives.” He then continued, “This organization is kind of like PACE. We’re all in the infrastructure business, and we’re all taking individual lives and bringing them into a bigger and broader community and making that community better. What SOS (Illinois) is doing by changing those (children’s) lives and making them a part of the bigger community is really inspirational. As a person who serves the public, and now seeing how well SOS (Illinois) does, just imagine how great our world could be if we could do this the same way.”
Omer Osman, Illinois Department of Transportation Acting Secretary started by talking about his family of eleven brothers and sisters and how his dad worked to ensure each one attended college. He then shared, “This organization is an international organization. What this organization does is make an immediate impact not only on the individual, but an impact on the family. A whole family, and by extension, a Village. This work is important, I’m so proud to be a part of it.”
Bruce M. Marcheschi, METRA Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Executive Director continued, “There is nothing more important than that strong bond of family. Every child deserves that. Every child deserves an opportunity. Without that, I think you mentioned the future, there is no future. We’re the roadbuilders of their future, so to speak. We need to get them there. Without the support in this room, and the love and the generosity in this room, we wouldn’t have what we have today. And we can’t let this mission falter, we need to keep it going.”
Retired Judge Gloria Chevere, Chicago Transit Authority Board Member, spoke “These words are not only mine, I also have the honor of speaking on behalf of the President of the Chicago Transit Authority, Mr. Dorval Carter, who could not be here today, but he absolutely wanted to be here. I’m thrilled to be here tonight.” She furthered,” SOS (Illinois), the work you are doing to help kids in our community is vital to the future success. I’m thrilled to hear of your 100% graduate rate. Your organization offers them, us, and our community hope . . . I know it makes a difference.”
With that, Tim McCormick, CEO of SOS, Illinois closed the reception with two parting comments, “We have one common story, the stories we heard from each of our VIPs. It’s not about the struggle, it’s about where we go with the hope to get there . . . and the second thing is, we will gather and continue to do this. This is a story worth telling. It gives us hope, as many of us heard, not only for the children and families, but also for our society; and this is what Evening of Hope is about.”
Evening of Hope and Helps Children in Foster Care Flourish
The funds raised at Evening of Hope are crucial in helping SOS Children’s Villages Illinois continue to provide high-quality, exceptional programs and services to children in foster care. At SOS Illinois, our model of care is uniquely different than that of traditional foster care, and we are proud and honored to be able to bring that awareness to Evening of Hope. We are committed to providing safe, stable, and loving homes for children in foster care in Illinois, as well as providing preventative services to at-risk families. Our model of care allows us to keep brothers and sisters together in an individual home in the care of a full-time, professional Foster Parent. In doing so, we lay the foundation for rebuilding trust, confidence, and hope for each child in our care. As a result of this model, we annually celebrate a 100% high school graduation rate compared to the national average of only 50% of youth in foster care.
Evening of Hope 2019 Photos
Professional photos from this event are available for download. Don’t forget to tag us as @sosillinois on Instagram and @soscvi on Facebook when sharing them with your friends! Enter PIN 9669 to download.
Committed to Charitable Giving in Chicago
Evening of Hope is generously supported by both individuals and corporate partners committed to investing in a local charity in Chicago. You can check out the fundraising events full list of sponsors, and learn how you can get involved in building the future of foster care.