Spring gala guide 2015

By / General / February 25, 2015

Everything you need to know this party season.


splash orange circle

Pictured at top: Wild Wild Whirl co-chairs Romana Malinowski, Kay Guyette and Sarah Opler pose alongside animals at Brookfield Zoo.



Little City’s Seeing Hope Together Poker Tournament & Casino Night

Why go: Try your hand at Texas Hold ’em and other casino games at this event presented by Spex, in support of Little City, which serves those affected by autism and other disabilities.

What to wear: Dress casually, the event is not black tie.

What you’ll eat: Chow down at the buffet, courtesy of Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse, throughout the night.

Perk: Complimentary round-trip limo service is available for your group if you register for eight or more guests.

What’s at stake: A seat at the World Series of Poker, valued at $10,000

When: March 6, 6 p.m.-12:45 a.m.

Where: The Montgomery Club, 500 W. Superior

Tickets: $150 spectators, $250 poker players. Visit Littlecity.org/poker.


Camp Kesem’s The Magic Ball

Why go: This lively evening of food, fun and entertainment supports children touched by a parent’s cancer.

What to wear: Cocktail attire

What’s new: While the cause is all about the kids, the event is for adults only this year.

What you’ll eat: Beautiful greens, hearty proteins and the ultimate campfire favorite — s’mores — for dessert.

Who you’ll see: David Goodman acts as auctioneer and Camp Kesem counselors share touching testimonials.

Who’s onstage: Cagan Orchestra

What’s on the block: A Napa Valley getaway, a summer trip to Whistler, sports packages with the Bulls, Blackhawks and Bears and in-home celebrity chef dinners

When: March 7, 7–11 p.m.

Where: Redmoon Theater, 2120 S. Jefferson

Tickets: $200. Visit Themagicball.org.


Chicago Architecture Foundation Board of Trustees member John Pintozzi and President and CEO Lynn Osmond will host the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s 40th Annual Gala.

Chicago Architecture Foundation Board of Trustees member John Pintozzi and President and CEO Lynn Osmond of the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s 40th Annual Gala on April 16

UIC Honors College Ball

Why go: This annual ball benefits the Honors College at the University of Illinois at Chicago by generating much needed scholarships for students.

What to wear: Black-tie is optional, but bring your A-game

What’s on the program: Dinner, dancing and a silent auction

When: March 7, 6 p.m.-midnight

Where: Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 350 W. Mart Center

Tickets: $90. Call (312) 413-2260.


Illinois Holocaust Museum’s Humanitarian Awards Dinner

Why go: To pay tribute to this year’s Humanitarian Award honorees, Renée and Lester Crown

What to wear: Business attire

Who you’ll see: Emcee Carol Marin of WMAQ-Channel 5 and WTTW, plus many of Chicago’s civic, business and charitable leaders, community members and local Holocaust survivors

Who’s onstage: The Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson is the keynote speaker.

When: March 12, 5:30 p.m.

Where: Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Upper Wacker

Tickets: $400. Visit Humanitarianawardsdinner.org.



Animal Magnetism

Why go: PAWS Chicago — which found new families for 5,952 homeless pets last year — relies entirely on community support to fulfill its mission.

What to wear: Cocktail attire — and don’t forget, pooches can dress up, too.

Who you’ll see: KISS FM’s Christopher “Brotha’ Fred” Frederick emcees the lively event.

What’s on the block: Raffle prizes include a trip to Barbados and an Apple iPad mini.

What’s that sound: DJ Lani Love

For Fido: Doggie brush-outs, bandanas and cologne are provided by Paradise 4 Paws at the “Dog Spa.”

When: March 20, 7 p.m.-midnight

Where: Venue One, 1034 W. Randolph

Tickets: $125 or $150 at the door and $25 per pooch, $250 VIP (includes pet ticket). Visit Animalmagnetism.pawsevents.org.


Big Mac Under Glass

Why go: Themed “A Night Under the Big Top,” the event benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana.

What to wear: Black-tie optional

Who you’ll see: The special guest emcee is Chicago comedian Pat McGann.

What you’ll eat: Let’s go straight to dessert: churros with chocolate raspberry dipping sauce and Cracker Jack-infused flan, plus take-away treats

What’s on the block: Raffle items include a Rolex watch sponsored by James & Sons Fine Jewelers, and silent auction offerings range from sports memorabilia and tickets to lavish getaways and more.

When: March 21, 6 p.m.-midnight

Where: Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, 301 E. North Water

Tickets: $475. Visit Bigmacunderglass.org.



Why go: To celebrate 27 years of Lookingglass Theatre and support its programming.

What to wear: Cocktail attire

Who you’ll see: Host David Schwimmer and Lookingglass Civic Engagement Award recipients Chef Rick Bayless and Steppenwolf Artistic Director Martha Lavey

What you’ll sip: Expertly curated pours from Clarence Dillon Wines accompany each course at dinner.

What’s that sound: Dr. Bombay plays a bit of everything from across the FM dial.

When: March 21, 6:30 p.m.

Where: The InterContinental Chicago, 505 N. Michigan

Tickets: Start at $2,500 for two. Email Events@lookingglasstheatre.org.




Girl Power Luncheon co-chairs Nichole Barnes Marshall, Darryl P. Riley and Jean Ratty Chidley

Nichole Barnes Marshall, Darryl P. Riley and Jean Ratty Chidley, co-chairs of the Girl Power Luncheon on April 29

Chicago Heart Ball

Why go: The American Heart Association — devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke — benefits from every dollar raised at this fun fête.

What to wear: Black tie

What’s on the block: Top-drawer auction lots include a trip to California’s wine country and a VIP experience with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Late-night: The Associate Board of Chicago hosts Crash the Ball, an official afterparty beginning at 9:30 p.m. and featuring entertainment by Late Nite Band’s Party Gras; tickets are $100.

When: April 11, 6 p.m.-midnight

Where: Navy Pier Grand Ballroom, 600 E. Grand

Tickets: $1,000. Visit Chicagoheartball.com.


Women on the Move Luncheon

Why go: The National MS Society works to realize a world free of multiple sclerosis and to address the challenges of those affected by it.

What’s on the program: This year, Splash’s own Susanna Negovan is honored as the 2015 Woman on the Move.

When: April 14, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Where: Ritz-Carlton Chicago, 160 E. Pearson

Tickets: $150. Visit Womenonthemovechicago.org.



Chicago Architecture Foundation’s 40th Annual Gala

Why go: Proceeds help CAF in its mission of public engagement and its youth education programs.

What to wear: Cocktail attire

Who you’ll see: The “Green + Global” event honors the design legacy of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, who will be in attendance as he’s honored for enhancing the urban landscape through such projects as Millennium Park, Museum Campus and the Chicago Riverwalk.

What’s that sound: Cocktail hour will be accompanied by the guitar and cello duet of Gabriel Datcu and Ian Maksin and, later, Chicago Blues Hall of Fame artist Liz Mandeville performs live.

What’s on the block: Auction goodies include two business-class tickets from Chicago to Abu Dhabi and one destination beyond in the Etihad Airways network, plus a trip for four to Palm Springs for Modernism Week.

When: April 16, 6:30–11:30 p.m.

Where: Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th

Tickets: $500. Call (312) 516-2117.


Joffrey Ballet’s Spring Gala

Why go: Help the Women’s Board celebrate the Joffrey’s 20th anniversary as Chicago’s most recognized dance company at this event, entitled “Be Moved.”

What to wear: Black tie (and ready to dance)

What’s on the program: In-demand choreographers Justin Peck and Christopher Wheeldon debut new works during the show.

Who’s dancing: Company members and students; after the show, cut the rug yourself at the post-performance dinner with Rich Daniels and the City Lights Orchestra at the Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan).

When: April 17, 6:30 p.m. performance, 8 p.m. gala

Where: Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph

Tickets: $750. Visit Joffrey.org/gala.



Why go: The fête supports ChiArts, the city’s first and only public high school for the arts.

What’s on the program: A Champagne welcome, performances by ChiArts scholar-artists in Fullerton Hall and a cabaret dinner in Griffin Court, accompanied by the ChiArts Jazz Combo

Who you’ll see: Co-chairs Elissa Efroymson, Mirja Haffner and Francia Harrington, among other supporters

When: April 21, 6-9 p.m.

Where: The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan

Tickets: $300, $500 VIP. Visit Chiarts.org/support/kerfuffle.


Wild Wild Whirl

Why go: The Women’s Board and the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Zoological Society and Brookfield Zoo host the suburban establishment’s largest annual fundraiser, which supports the Zoological Society’s conservation, education and animal welfare programs.

What to wear: Black ties and ballgowns

Who’s onstage: Maggie Speaks will have galagoers on their feet.

When: April 25, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Brookfield Zoo, 3300 Golf, Brookfield

Tickets: $600. Call (312) 553-2000.


American Cancer Society’s Discovery Ball

Why go: To help support cancer research and patient services and, ultimately, accelerate a cure.

Who you’ll see: Chairs Nasrin and Mark Thierer, emcee Kathy Brock of WLS-Channel 7 and more than 800 business and philanthropic leaders

What to wear: Black tie

What’s on the block: A club-level suite for 12 at a Blackhawks game, Caribbean vacations, and a suite for 20 people at Soldier Field for the Taylor Swift concert July 19

When: April 25, 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m.

Where: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago, 221 N. Columbus

Tickets: Available table sponsorships start at $50,000. Visit Discoveryball.org.


Girl Power Luncheon

Why go: Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago honors founding board chair and former partner with Jenner & Block Joan M. Hall for her leadership and support of Chicago’s underserved girls.

What to wear: Business attire

Who you’ll see: Host committee chair Donna La Pietra, and keynote speaker Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Northern New England

When: April 29, 11 a.m.

Where: Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan

Tickets: $150. Visit ywlcs.org/donors/special_events.php.

Soaring to Success: Anixter Center’s Annual Benefit for Ability

Why go: One of the largest nonprofits in the Chicago area assisting people with disabilities, Anixter Center provides an array of services supporting a full life in the community.

Who you’ll see: WMAQ-Channel 5 President and General Manager David Doebler serves as event chair.

What’s on the program: This year’s event honors Comcast Corporation for its commitment to supporting employment for people of all abilities.

When: April 30, 6 p.m.

Where: Union Station, 500 W. Jackson

Tickets: $350. Call (847) 869-5423 or visit Anixter.org/soaring.




Butterfly Ball 17: Vibrant Nature

Why go: To support the educational programs of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Who you’ll see: NBC News’ chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson serves as master of ceremonies.

What to wear: Black tie

What’s on the program: Motorola Solutions will be honored for its commitment to science education.

What’s that sound: Dr. Bombay rocks the house.

When: May 1, 6 p.m.

Where: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon

Tickets: $600. Visit Naturemuseum.org/get-involved/butterfly-ball.


25 Years of High Jumps

Why go: High Jump has equalized access to education for middle school students of limited means who have exhibited academic ambition and potential. Ninety-nine percent of High Jump alumni go on to attend prestigious college prep schools across the country.

What to wear: Cocktail attire

When: May 2, 6:30 p.m.

Where: The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, 120 E. Delaware

Tickets: $350. Call (312) 582-7706 or visit Highjumpchicago.org/support/springbenefit.


Misericordia Women’s Auxiliary Spring Luncheon & Fashion Show

Why go: Proceeds benefit Misericordia Heart of Mercy Home, which supports more than 600 developmentally disabled children and adults.

What’s on the block: Raffle prizes include pieces from British and French designers, including Maje, Ted Baker, Basler, Sandro and Karen Millen, plus a $2,000 Bloomingdale’s gift card and a Maximilian mink poncho.

When: May 7, 10:30 a.m.

Where: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago, 221 N. Columbus

Tickets: $185. Visit Mwauxiliary.com.


Gala de Arte 2015: El Sol Y La Luna

Why go: The evening supports The National Museum of Mexican Art, one of the largest Latino cultural organizations in the U.S.

Who you’ll see: Gala co-chairs Jessica Priego and Yolanda Stemer put on a celestial-themed party sure to be out-of-this-world.

What’s on the program: Honorable Julián Castro, Rep. Joaquin Castro and their mother, Maria del Rosario Castro, will receive the Arthur R. Velasquez Award for outstanding community and civic service.

What’s that sound: The Dick Judson Orchestra and the Grammy-nominated Trio Ellas perform.

What’s on the block: A stay at a luxury seaside villa in Manzanillo, Mexico, original Mexican artwork and suites at sporting events

When: May 8, 6 p.m.

Where: Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, 200 N. Columbus

Tickets: $500. Email Barbara@nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org.


Mothers in the Mills Benefit

Why go: The Puppy Mill Project raises awareness for the hundreds of thousands of dogs that spend their lives locked up and breeding in cruel puppy mills every year.

Who you’ll see: Emcee Paul Lisnek is a political analyst for WGN-TV, host of “Politics Tonight” on CLTV and anchor of HLN’s “Newsmakers” and Comcast Network’s “Broadway in Chicago Backstage.”

What you’ll eat: Passed hors d’ oeuvres, food stations, wine, beer, a specialty drink and a candy bar filled with goodies to take home

What’s that sound: Out of Control Band performs.

When: May 9, 7- 11 p.m.

Where: Moonlight Studios, 1446 W. Kinzie

Tickets: $115. Visit Thepuppymillproject.org.


Steppenwolf Gala 2015

Why go: Proceeds support Steppenwolf’s bold programming and extensive outreach efforts in Chicago’s schools and neighborhoods.

What to wear: Urban-chic attire

Who you’ll see: Co-chairs Eileen and Christopher Murphy and Rhonda and Scott Swanson

What’s on the program: Ensemble member Frank Galati directs a performance featuring scenes from “The Herd,” Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band perform and, later, a DJ spins in the after-hours lounge.

When: May 9, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted

Tickets: $1,000. Call (312) 654-5632 or email Specialevents@steppenwolf.org.


Goodman Theatre Gala

Why go: All proceeds benefit Goodman Theatre’s education and community engagement programs.

What’s the vibe: In celebration of the Goodman’s 90 years, co-chairs Linda Aylesworth and Frances Del Boca have pegged Kehoe Designs to blast to the past with a Roaring ’20s theme.

Who’s onstage: Two-time Tony Award-winning actor/dancer/singer Sutton Foster hits the high notes performing Broadway show tunes and more.

When: May 16, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, 200 N. Columbus

Tickets: Start at $1,000. Call (312) 443-3811, ext. 586.


Afternoon in the Garden Hat Luncheon

Why go: The Service Club of Chicago has served the welfare, civic, educational and cultural needs of Chicago and its surrounding communities since 1890. Every single dollar raised goes directly to its roster of local charities.

Who you’ll see: The always stylish Susan Colletti and Kristina McGrath chair the event.

What to wear: Hats are optional this year — but if you do don one, the bigger the better!

When: May 18, 11 a.m.

Where: Ritz-Carlton Chicago, 160 E. Pearson

Tickets: $150. Email Info@serviceclubofchicago.org.



Woman’s Board Summer Ball: The Chicago Ball

Why go: To support Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, which for 112 years has served young people, preparing them take on academic challenges and leadership roles

Who you’ll see: Susan Lenny and Kim White co-chair the event, which ushers in the summer season.

What’s on the program: Cocktails, dinner, live and silent auctions and dancing to the music of Final Say

When: May 30, 6:30–11:30 p.m.

Where: Navy Pier Grand Ballroom, 600 E. Grand

Tickets: $1,000. Call (312) 235-8037.


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