BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
The Guild Board of Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago hosted the 17th Annual Lawn Ball at the Saddle & Cycle Club on a perfect June night. Lawn Ball co-chairs Justin Marku, Kristina Nicolas, and Kristine Weck along with Guild Board President Lindsay Everest set all records by the end of the evening, bringing in the highest-grossing Lawn Ball on record. More than $500,000 was raised to support BGCC’s mission to “enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”
Marley Kayden, Guild Board member and host of WGN-TV’s “Chicago’s Best,” served as auctioneer. DJ Marcus Prince of Fig Media had everyone out on the dance floor, accompanied by drummer Stephon Brown, aka Mooch, from Gold Coast Events. Kehoe Designs provided beautiful garden-inspired florals with striking blush feather accents. Renowned local artist Paige Smith Spearin created a live painting of the event as guests gathered around.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago operates in communities across the city that have faced countless challenges over the last two years and continue to experience significant disruption and hardship. At the Lawn Ball, President and CEO Mimi LeClair shared that, despite the challenges they face, the young people served by BGCC demonstrate resilience, determination, and optimism. Over the last 17 years, the Guild Board has raised more than $5 million to support critical programs at BGCC, creating opportunities for countless young members.
BGCC’s Youth of the Year, Nigel W., representing the Louis L. Valentine Club, shared his personal story with event attendees, highlighting the evening’s program. During the pandemic, in the absence of in-person events, the Guild Board focused their fundraising efforts for the Valentine Club. Nigel told the audience that the Valentine Club came through for him and his fellow members over the last two years, and that none of it would have been possible without the Guild Board’s support. “The Club is my home away from home,” said Nigel. “Life is precious, and there is limited time to be a kid. I’m so grateful I got to be a kid at the Valentine Club.”
To learn more about the BGCC’s efforts across Chicago, visit bgcc.org.