The Museum of Broadcast Communications (360 N. State) spread the news June 20, hosting the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights’ Out of Many, One — E Pluribus Unum benefit. Guests, including Amalia Rioja, Lisa Madigan, Toni Preckwinkle and Tom Cross, toasted the organization’s 27th anniversary while Esther Lopez, Clare Muñana and Erku Yimer were honored for their trailblazing work in advancing immigrant rights.
On June 21 guests joined Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, and journalist Peter Gammons to raise more than $150,000 for Chicago youth at the second annual Hot Stove Cool Music Chicago benefit concert. Guests such as Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper and actor Joel Murray turned out to Metro (3730 N. Clark) to help make the evening a success. Performances by Poi Dog Pondering and Hot Stove All-Stars rocked the house with a guest performance by Gammons, Epstein and Kasper that stole the show. The bi-annual event has raised more that $5.5 million for the Jimmy Fund and Foundation To Be Named Later, founded in 2005 by Epstein and brother, Paul.
Gwyneth Paltrow: Oscar winner, People Magazine’s 2013 Most Beautiful Woman and — as of June 15 — winner of the Gene Siskel Film Center’s prestigious Renaissance Award. More than 400 guests, including the Film Center’s Executive Director Jean de St. Aubin and Siskel’s widow Marlene Iglitzen, rolled out the red carpet at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago (160 E. Pearson) to honor the movie star, who sparkled in an Alexander McQueen minidress and Pomellato jewelry.
Horticulture met haute couture June 12, when 31 landscape artists and floral designers sent botanical creations down the runway at Fleurotica, held at the Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago). Pre-show, models dressed in floral-inspired looks from Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue greeted guests during the cocktail hour, then co-chairs Deirdre Koldyke, Whitney Lasky and Shauna Montgomery helped kick off the runway show, where designers like Jennifer De Muth and Kyle Hustedt of H. Bloom and Jeff Jonas and Jose Llera of Mariano’s Fresh Market showcased garments made entirely of plants and flowers.
More than 5,000 volunteers geared up for a day of giving back June 15 for Chicago Cares’ 20th annual Serve-a-thon. At the largest single day of community service in the city, volunteers came together to beautify classrooms, school libraries, playgrounds and parks on 28 work sites in underserved communities. The day kicked off and ended at Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington) with live music, food, drinks and special guests Chelsea Clinton, who spent the day volunteering, Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Bears announcer and Serve-a-thon emcee Jim Riebandt.
Over the past 15 years, Susan and David Axelrod have helped raise $26 million to find a cure for epilepsy, enlisting the help of political heavyweights like Hillary Clinton along the way. First appearing as a keynote speaker for the organization in 1999, Clinton returned to Chicago June 13 for the Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy’s (CURE) 15th annual benefit, held at the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom (600 E. Grand). Clinton took to the stage in front of more than 1,000 guests to speak about brain research and the possibility of a cure for epilepsy, and was met with a standing ovation from attendees. The event raised $1.5 million for CURE.
Free Spirit Media’s youth participants are used to reporting the news, but their own successes made headlines May 30 at the organization’s annual Focus fundraiser. Nearly 200 guests — including Toni Preckwinkle and ESPN reporter Lester Munson — filled Red Car Chicago (455 E. Illinois) for the event, held to benefit Free Spirit’s film, digital media and journalism programs for underserved urban youth. Participants India Bouldin and Gerardo Dura emceed the evening, highlighting the work of their peers and sharing anecdotes from their own experiences. Proceeds from the evening will support Free Spirit Media’s teen programs.