Facing the Future with Smiles






This is one of those organizations you fall in love with love with instantly. Everyone involved has the same intention: helping others in the most transformative way. —Lourdes Duarte, WGN TV anchor

Like Lourdes, Face the Future Foundation’s motivational MC for the past two years, the 400 guests in the Four Seasons ballroom had smiles on their faces throughout one of Chicago’s happiest events. It wasn’t just the lively music as part of this year’s Motown Magic theme or the record-breaking $670,000 raised that made this an evening to remember, but the message of hope that the organization offers children suffering from serious craniofacial conditions.

With a silent auction of over 100 items, including a hotel package in Greece and tickets to sold-out events, the pre-dinner reception was buzzing. And then the mood turned to electrifying with impersonators of the “kings” of Motown, the Temptations, who hit all the right notes with “Get Ready” and rocked the audience, including famed chef Graham Elliot, in the grand ballroom.


Chef Graham Elliot Bowles; Julia Corcoran, M.D.; and Allie Bowles.


Gala Co-Chairs Isabell and Gus Abello.

Chaired by one of Chicago’s most well-liked couples, Isabell and Gus Abello, the event told the story of the UI Health Craniofacial Center, which opened in 1949 and is one of the oldest and largest caregivers for children from low income families.

Duarte spent several months filming a moving documentary on Fabian, one of many patients at the Center, which aired last December. The 17-year-old suffered from double-cleft palate and was finally coming to the end of his surgery.


Face the Future Foundation President, Rob Grant, and President’s Award Recipient, Mary Eliza Genet.

Board President Rob Grant presented the President’s Award to longtime board member and supporter Mary Genet who responded: “The care the center provides transforms lives, how could I not want to help?”


Lila Napientek with parents Nora and Eric.

 The UI Health Craniofacial Center was established to raise funds and public awareness to support the treatment of children, adolescents and adults with cleft lip and palate conditions and other craniofacial differences. Dr. Mimis Cohen, the Center’s director, and University of Illinois at Chicago Chancellor, Michael Amiridis, were among the Motown Magic Gala’s celebrants.


Chancellor Michael Amiridis and Ero Amiridis.

The Face the Future Foundation also supports free-of-charge events for patients and their families thanks to the generosity of Gala guests and other supporters.


Rosie Seelaus; Pravin Patel, M.D.; Joshua Dixon; and Kimberley Rounds.


Candace Jordan, Mark Olley, Michael Caputo, and Vonita Reescer (front).


Bruno and Sallie Pasquinelli.


Florence Mussat, M.D., and Alexandre Leclercq.


Angie and Thomas Martinez.


Enrico Benedetti, M.D., and wife, Carla.


George and Kacie Dohrmann.


Tom Fleischmann, Sarah Powell, Susan Payne, and Gregg Rogers.


Mox and Nancy Tan.


Farid Shafaie, M.D., and Yasmine Shafaie.


Karin Carlson and Arica Hilton.


For further information, visit facethefuturefoundation.org.