BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Always anticipated as a philanthropic powerhouse of a party—and an iconic toast to summer—the Woman’s Board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago once again dazzled its glamorous guests recently, raising over $2 million at the Wonder Ball, its 68th annual gala.
Co-Chairs Robin Loewenberg Tebbe and Aimee Gray reflect the reputation of the Woman’s Board, the go-to organization for learning how to plan a blockbuster gala.
Along with Board President Susan Lenny, their combined philanthropic experience and party expertise presented the 350 guests, including Meredith and Patrick Wood Prince, Trish Rooney, Shawn Donnelley, Eve Rogers, Beth and Bruce White, Ward and Melissa McNally, Margie and Kevin Steinman, Meredith and Bill Wolf, Laura and Matt Anderson, and Betsy and David Bradley with an extraordinary evening.
As Robin described:
“Aimee, Susan, and I met early in the planning process to establish a theme for this annual summer ball. The three of us were brainstorming and together came up with the concept of a world of wonder and the positive nature of the word.
“Susan asked our group: ‘I wonder what it is like to. . . .’ As we thought it through, we realized the potential of this theme. She suggested that the children of our Boys and Girls Clubs could put together a video of all their hopes and dreams and questions of wonder. It was truly the highlight of the evening.”
Tom Kehoe of Kehoe Designs used gray-washed wood tables, oversized lamps, and magenta spots to fill the ballroom of the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel with his vision of wonder and whimsy. Clever auction chairs, Betsy Bradley and Linda Gantz, provided auctioneer David Goodman with items for a rousing round of bidding.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago offers programming to help children through their 23 sites around the city. The Clubs serve over 2,000 youth each day by providing a safe space where young people can build the skills and the relationships needed to teach their full potential.
Aimee summed up the evening’s afterglow:
“The Gold Coast All Stars provided electric entertainment and had the crowd dancing through the evening. There was definitely a vibrant and positive energy that was critical to the Wonder Ball’s success.
“Our Woman’s Board works together as a team, and our leadership and long tradition of service has produced one of the premiere parties in Chicago. It was a tough act to follow, but we really feel a great sense of accomplishment as to what we have been able to do for the Clubs.”
Photo credit: Robert Carl