BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Like characters from a Fitzgerald tale, many of the 414 guests at the ninth annual Village Chicago gala lingered at waters’ edge as twilight appeared. Others explored the city’s most tempting new party venue, Theater on the Lake, bidding at auction tables beckoning cruises, getaways, and takeaway treasurers. Watching the mingling, catching the cordial conversations, who would think that the hard task of hitting a new record net of $130,000 could be so much fun?
Dianne Campbell, Founding Executive Director of The Village Chicago, described the night, which also featured a Second City Touring Company performance: “The Village Chicago now has a thriving tradition of celebrating each of its anniversaries with a great party at a special venue, with a room full of openhearted people who generously support our work.”
Benefit chairs Carol Rosofsky and Estelle Spector and Board President Kathie Kolodgy greeted guests. Before introducing Tom Kuczmarski, founder and president of Kuczmarski Innovation, who conducted the live auction, Kathie told the audience:
“From the beginning The Village has been in uncharted territory. Nine years ago, the idea of The Village was brand new—the new idea being that people over 50 could join forces to help each other navigate longevity. We took that idea and ran with it and for the past nine years, we have been trailblazing: finding new and better pathways through later life, marking the way, and sharing what we learn with all who are on the journey with us.”
Benefit committee members included Gretchen Althen, Laurel Baer, Yoon Tae Chong, Debby Forman Eichten, Angie Levenstein, Sheila Mehigan, Charlotte Newberger, Diana Phillips, Linda Randall, and Biba Roesch.
The Village Chicago has 440 members who may choose to attend the almost 50 events the organization sponsors monthly. It responds to over 120 new service requests per month with 81 percent fulfilled by volunteers. Almost 20 percent of its members receive reduced-fee memberships, the focus of the Fund-A-Need paddle raise conducted by Tom Kuczmarski at the end of the evening.
Don Bell spoke movingly of this Village commitment:
“How can love survive, in such a graceless age? Well, part of the answer is right here in what we’re trying to do collectively as The Village Chicago. We are people building a caring and connected community across the barriers of race, class, gender, age, ability, and sexual orientation. And here I have found not only welcome but also fulfillment, friendship, and purpose.”
For more information, go to thevillagechicago.org or call 773-248-8700.
Photo credit: Megan Byrd