On Tuesday, May 15, 2018 Family Focus honored three outstanding Chicago individuals and institutions with the Bernice Weissbourd Award for Family Support at our annual Anniversary Gala. The event raised more than $500,000 for Family Focus programs at our seven community centers and featured participant and Family Focus staff member Shantel Smith as keynote speaker. It was an excellent evening for staff, community leaders, and Family Focus donors to come together. Click here to download our special gala-edition of the newsletter.

2018 Bernice Weissbourd Award for Family Support Honorees

Sidley Austin, a leading Chicago law firm that has cultivated a tradition of pro bono service and giving back since it’s founding in 1866. Around the globe and in Chicago Sidley Austin devotes more than 120,000 pro bono hours annually to serving those most in need. Sidley Austin has been dedicated supporter and friend of Family Focus for many years.

Irving Harris Foundation is a private family foundation based in Chicago. The foundation focuses on healthy development and care of very young children and their families, supporting arts and culture, and draws on Jewish values to support positive social change. Irving Harris was responsible for the founding of Family Focus with Bernice Weissbourd.

Bryan Samuels, the Executive Director of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, and formerly the commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He spent his career building the capacity of children of welfare systems.

Keynote Speaker: Shantel Smith

Shantel became involved with Family Focus when she was 17 years old. As an Englewood resident, Shantel joined a young mothers group when she became pregnant with her son. Shantel, now a staff member, uses her perspective as a former participant to help others who seek support from Family Focus.

View Images from the Gala:

Host Committee

Barbara Bowman Representative Elizabeth Hernandez Geoffrey A. Nagle, Ph.D.
Lester Crown Mary and Richard Gray Dolores G. Norton, Ph.D.
Arne Duncan Francia Harrington Toni Preckwinkle
Senator Richard J. Durbin Joan W. Harris Diana Mendley Rauner, Ph.D.
Janice Feinberg David D. Hiller Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
Merri and Mitchell Ex Valerie B. Jarrett Eric Sean Smith
Sunny Fischer Susan Kiphart Harrison I. Steans
Representative Robyn Gabel Representative Linda Chapa LaVia Jennifer Steans
Katie and Brent Gledhill Laura and Lew Leibowitz Robin Steans
Phyllis Glink

Special thanks to our sponsors:

Gold Sponsor

Irving Harris Foundation

Premier Sponsors

Anderson Merchandisers
Chicago Tribune Charities
J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation
Morgan Stanley
Wells Fargo

Silver Sponsors

The Crown Family
Katie and Brent Gledhill
PNC Bank
Sidley Austin
The Steans Family
Bernice Weissbourd
William Blair

Patron Sponsors

Ariel Investments
Donna Barrows
Ernst & Young
Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation
Hub International, Ltd.
Kloster and Campbell Families
MB Financial
Robert R. McCormick Foundation
Diana and Bruce Rauner
S.B. Friedman Development Advisors

Bronze Sponsors

Fifth Third Bank
Beverly and Warren Hayford
Sharad Kapur
ReaderLink Distribution Services, LLC

Individuals Supporters

Merri and Mitchell Ex
James and Donna Gottlieb
Patricia Mulcahy and Vaughn Gordy
Suzanne and Lindsey Resnick
Dr. John J. Struck
Rita Sussman, Ph.D.
​Marny and Matt Zimmer