by Camerin Mattson
The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division’s annual Civic Luncheon, held this spring in the Hilton Chicago’s Grand Ballroom, was a definitive success. More than 750 attendees helped raise nearly $1.1 million toward the Army’s work throughout the greater Chicago area. These funds will provide food, shelter, substance abuse rehabilitation, afterschool programs, music lessons, freedom from trafficking and disaster relief.
Former First Lady Laura Bush, a past member of The Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board, was the featured keynote speaker. Since leaving Washington, Mrs. Bush has been an advocate for literacy, education and women’s rights. She charmed guests as she talked about her passion for the Army’s Fight for Good and shared updates and life lessons from her well-known family.
Luncheon guests also enjoyed encouraging words from Khloe Thompson, a 12-year-old California girl who raised nearly $65,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to support the Army’s work during the polar vortex that gripped Chicago this past January. When she was just 8, she started her own nonprofit, Khloe Kares, which creates and distributes tote bags filled with necessities for women in shelters and living on the streets.
“I was able to raise $65,000 in just a day,” Khloe told luncheon attendees. “And we have about 800 adults here today, so . . .” Her words helped inspire nearly $175,000 in donations through a paddle-raise, which a group of generous donors matched.
The Civic Luncheon also marked the premiere of The Salvation Army’s new The Fight is Now campaign in Chicago. Guests were treated to the first public showing of the campaign’s official video. (Learn more at thefightisnow.org.)
Before Mrs. Bush spoke, Lt. Colonel Charles Smith, Metropolitan divisional commander, presented longtime friends and supporters Craig and Janet Duchossois with the William Booth Award. One of the highest honors, it is given to those who exemplify The Salvation Army’s goal of service to people. The Duchossoises have been generous supporters of the Army since 2001, chairing committees, funding positions and facilitating many volunteer hours from their employees.
“To be recognized by an organization like The Salvation Army is a very, very humbling experience,” said Craig.
The Salvation Army also presented two “Others” Awards. Antunovich & Associates and Bulley & Andrews received the“Others” Awards for their years of support and their work on The Salvation Army’s Kroc Center, Freedom Center and Shield of Hope properties throughout Chicago.
*photo by Victor Powell of Powell Photography