Hip-hop artist and actor Common’s third annual Common Ground Foundation Awards Gala and Fundraiser was a show-stopping success. The Chicago native played host at the sold-out event, held March 23 at the Four Seasons (120 E. Delaware), and recruited emcees WLS-Ch. 7’s Cheryl Burton and actor Lamman Rucker, and red-carpet host WMAQ-Ch. 5’s Michelle Relerford. They rallied more than 450 attendees to honor Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Quintin and Diane Primo, Tim and Everett Rand and Gabby Douglas for their work in the community, but the most heartwarming moment came when six teens who attended Common’s summer camp spoke of how their lives have been changed through mentorship.
Blackjack tables, masked attendees and costume-clad dancers set the scene for the second annual Greek America Foundation Blue Masque Ball, held at the Blackstone Hotel (636 S. Michigan) on March 16. More than 250 guests attended the “Casino Royale”-themed bash (which also celebrated Apokries, or the traditional Greek kickoff to Lent) to try their hands at poker and to raise funds for Project Hope for Greece, which supports Greek institutions that aid those affected by the country’s financial crisis.
The Field Museum (1400 S. Michigan) welcomed nearly 1,000 guests on March 9 to the first annual fundraiser for Camp Kesem, a free summer program for children whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer. Sponsored by Giordano’s and Victory Park Capital, the family-friendly evening kicked off with tasty appetizer pizzas, including some topped with chocolate-and-marshmallow s’mores.
On March 15, the Misericordia Women’s Auxiliary Board came one step closer to reaching its $1 million fundraising goal for the Open Hearts Open Doors campaign, which supports small group homes for those living with developmental disabilities. The board partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue for the 29th annual spring luncheon and fashion show, treating more than 700 guests at the Palmer House Hilton Chicago (17 E. Monroe) to lunch and a runway presentation of spring fashion trends.
On March 9, the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation celebrated two decades of working to eliminate pediatric cancer and the burdens it places on patients’ families at its 20th Anniversary Bear Tie Ball. Co-chairs Nina Mariano and Tracey Scurto welcomed more than 850 guests to the UIC Forum (725 W. Roosevelt), including Cheryl and Mario Tricoci and Kristina and Mike McGrath, who mingled beneath the chandelier-studded ceiling while listening to heartwarming speeches from Roe Conn and Windy City Live’s Val Warner and from Bear Tie Ambassador Theo Yianas, who shared his story of conquering the disease.
Actress Mary-Louise Parker (“Weeds,” “The West Wing”) took a starring role at Steppenwolf Theatre’s 4th Annual Steppenwolf Salutes Women in the Arts Luncheon, held March 4 at the JW Marriott (151 W. Adams). The fundraiser, co-chaired by Marlene Breslow-Blitstein, Elizabeth H. Connelly, Kelly Epstein, Nene Foxhall, Donna La Pietra, Jan Melk and Jane Mody, included a question-and-answer session with the actress and Steppenwolf Artistic Director Martha Lavey.
The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center’s Humanitarian Awards Dinner was themed “the power of one.” But it was 1,600 individuals — including civic, business and charitable leaders — who came together to honor local community leaders and raise funds for the museum’s programs on March 6 at the Hyatt Regency (151 E. Wacker). Holocaust survivors joined guests like Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward to honor William Brodsky, chairman and CEO of the Chicago Board Options Exchange, and Linda Johnson Rice, chairman of Johnson Publishing Co., who were awarded the 2013 Humanitarian Awards.