Celebrating The Power Of Dreams: 2023 Dinner Recap

On Thursday, May 4th, more than 400 guests joined Family Focus at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Chicago for the annual Dream Builders Dinner. This unforgettable evening saw our passionate supporters, distinguished honorees and special guests raise more than $600,000 to support our mission!

Following a lively performance by the Mariachi Ensemble Band of Benito Juárez Community Academy, guests heard from Dr. Walter Massey, noted physicist and educator who serves as trustee chair of the City Colleges of Chicago. Dr. Massey spoke about the incredible impact that Juan Salgado, Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago, has had on Chicago.

“Juan Salgado is a man of vision, integrity, and passion. He spent his career as an ambassador for underserved and under resourced, primarily Black and Brown, communities. [His] legacy lives in each person for whom [he] has opened the door of opportunity. A tireless dream builder, I can think of no one more worthy to receive this award.”

After a delicious dinner, guests heard from Family Focus President & CEO Dara Munson speak about the role that family support services play in the community.

“Our purpose at Family Focus is to strengthen the stability of the family, nurture the development of children during their earliest stage of life and expand our youth’s sense of identity and self-efficacy. Our purpose is family … because we know, that when the well-being of the family is protected, the health and well-being of our community is also protected.”

After the President’s Address, attendees were moved by a heartwarming tribute dedicated to Bernice Weissbourd, the founder of Family Focus who died in late 2022. The tribute was eloquently delivered by Delores Holmes, a former member of the Evanston City Council and the first director of Family Focus Evanston – a position she held for nearly 30 years. Delores spoke about the circumstances which led to Bernice to create Family Focus in 1976, such as the increased need for childcare, urbanization, female participation in the workforce, and the growing realization that the first three years of a child’s life are critical to their development.

“Bernice had a strong commitment to families because she knew that every parent has the same dream for their children: for them to be healthy, strong, and to have access to the resources needed to be all they could be. Bernice and I created safe spaces for new parents to grow, learn and connect – one community at a time. Bernice welcomed interracial parents and same-sex couples to be part of our programs, and we started a teen parent program long before any other. She knew that all parents, regardless of economics or demographics, need and deserve help.”

We are especially grateful to our Diamond Sponsor Readerlink; Gold Sponsors Caragh DeLuca, and the Crown & Goodman Families; Silver Sponsors Disney Publishing Group, and Wintrust Commercial Banking, and our Bronze Sponsors: the Block Stineman Family, Katie & Brent Gledhill, Sharad Kapur, MarshMcLennan Agency, Nancy & Joe McMullen, Sidley, Sourcebooks, Morgan Stanley, and Melinda & Drew Turitz.

Thank you all for your continued support!