5 Ways to Give Back, Chicago
By The Editors
Conquer Cancer Foundation photo by ASCO/David Eulitt
If charity starts at home, we are all lucky to live here. Few cities have as robust a philanthropic community as the one in Chicago, which has thousands of individuals working to improve the lives of millions. Meet some of the organizations that make this city—and the world—a better place.
Look, you’re going to shop anyway; why not do some good in the process? Each month, Chicago-based SAOR ($65, saorperfume.com) selects an organization to benefit (it will be Opportunity International through the holidays). A percentage of sales at Gild Assembly (gildassembly.com), the retail arm of interior design firm Studio Gild, is donated to fight cancer. And don’t forget this month’s Love to Give campaign at Neiman Marcus (neimanmarcus.com), where 10 percent of sales will go to Giordano Dance Chicago.
That’s the astonishing number of safe, versatile backpacks given to homeless individuals in 80 cities across the nation, an endeavor run by The Citypak Project, a Chicago-based organization run by businessman Ron Kaplan. Life on the streets is hard—but Citypak has made it a little bit easier. citypak.org
Gala of the Year
The Francophiles party in style.
The Alliance Française’s biennial black-tie gala has been a glamorous fixture on the city’s fundraising scene for almost 120 years, and this year’s event, which captured the joie de vivre of 1920s Paris, was no exception. Decked out in ropes of pearls and feathered headbands, galagoers descended upon the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago’s grand staircase, where they were greeted by a statuesque model donning an ebullient flapper-inspired costume provided by the Lyric Opera of Chicago. HMR Designs topped the tables with towering centerpieces of white plumes. After a spirited live auction (one lucky bidder won the opportunity to join the French sailing team at the America’s Cup), dessert was served in an adjacent ballroom, which had been transformed into a moody lounge evocative of La Coupole, the legendary Paris brasserie. Guests danced the Charleston, and more than $730,000 was raised for the nonprofit’s educational and cultural programming. af-chicago.org
1. The Few Initiative for Children
Break a sweat for at-risk kids at SoulCycle Dec. 5. fewinitiative.org
#ILGive is the umbrella organization’s one-day fundraising campaign, Nov. 29. myforefront.org
3. Green City Market
A (Mostly) Veggie Affair, Nov. 10, celebrates partnerships between restaurants and farmers. greencitymarket.org
4. Hyde Park Art Center
This year’s gala honors Theaster Gates and Linda Johnson Rice Nov. 12. hydeparkart.org
5. The People’s Music School
Join drummer Jimmy Chamberlin at the 40th birthday bash Nov. 4. peoplesmusicschool.org
Conquer Cancer Giving
There is something quietly ironic about the Conquer Cancer Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. It is, after all, trying to put itself out of business. Nominally based in the DC area, the group has a deep footprint here with the research it funds (54 Chicago-area doctors have received more than $3.9 million), its partnership with the Cubs and other organizations, and its major annual meeting held each June, which floods the restaurants and hotels downtown. “There are usually a few angry brides,” says foundation spokesperson Patra Wroten. A small price to pay. conquercancerfoundation.org
Last month, in partnership with Allstate Foundation Purple Purse, Scandal star and red-carpet staple Kerry Washington (not to mention Tory Burch and Christian Louboutin) exercised her fashion know-how for a great cause, designing a limited-edition handbag in support of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It’s the stylish star’s third year supporting the foundation, which helps survivors of domestic violence gain long-term security through financial empowerment. Auction proceeds benefited up to 250 domestic-violence nonprofits across the country. Missed the auctions? You can still donate and purchase a Purple Purse Charm in support. purplepurse.com