CHICAGO – Little City celebrated its 60th anniversary in style Saturday at The Drake Hotel, raising well over $500,000 for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The elegant event attended by 320 people honored the pioneers of Little City and the incredible growth of the nonprofit into one of the nation’s premier service providers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Today, Little City serves more than 1,100 people through services that include residential, recreational, employment, educational and foster care and adoption.
“Standing here tonight among some of the very first people who had the vision and passion to grow Little City in to what is today is truly humbling,” said Little City Executive Director Shawn Jeffers. “What sets Little City apart is its people. We have had very special people support us for 60 years now and, as this night showed, we know that will continue for the next 60 and beyond.”
Among the most influential supporters in Little City’s illustrious history are those in the first class of the Verne Carson Luminary Award winners. Verne Carson was a vital part of Little City’s growth for over five decades as he launched the nationally-recognized direct-mail fundraising program, inspired countless donors and board members and remained active in Little City his entire life.
His legacy will live on with the Luminary Award, which was given at the Gala to the families of its first class of recipients including Verne Carson, George & Emilee Alexandrou, Alec & Viena Gianaras, Judge Albert & Virginia Green and Dorothy H. Rose.
Attendees at the Gala also heard first-hand accounts of Little City’s life-changing services. Little City participant Jillian G. gave a rousing speech about how Little City’s employment program helped her realize her dream of getting a job, which she enjoys to this day at Culver’s. Lianne Paterson spoke about how her son Tim has benefited from living at the Duffey Family Children’s Village and how his progress has enriched his relationship with his younger siblings. And David Rose, whose brother Jerry has lived at the organization for 50 years, discussed the importance of supporting the needs of Little City’s aging adult population in an enriching home environment.
The heartfelt speeches inspired an outpouring of support as attendees generously donated to three of Little City’s most important projects heading into the future. Money was raised for a fifth home in the Duffey Family Children’s Village, spearheaded by another incredible $250,000 donation from the Duffey family. The Greater Chicago Club Managers Association and the Greater Chicago Club Managers Association Foundation generously granted $135,000 that inspired even more gifts to a new employment center hub in DuPage County. Money was also raised for vital home modifications to accommodate Little City’s aging adult population.
This historic event has set Little City on the right path moving in to its next 60 years and beyond.
The event would not have been possible without our sponsors including: Presenting Sponsor George and Dimitra Zervas and Family; Gold Sponsor Allstate; Silver Sponsors Matt and Tina Schubert; Eleni & Jimmy Bousis and Family; Bronze Sponsors Alliant Mesirow Insurance Services; The Desmond Family, Rit and Meeta Faisal, The Grabill Family, The Gianaras Family; John and Mary Jo George, Jonathan Green and Family, The Hockfield/Rose Families, Motorola Solutions, Mutual of America, David Pfau, Andy and Kim Richmond, Show Sage, LLC, Zurich NA; Beverage Sponsor Cutwater Spirits; Entertainment Sponsor Hockfield & Associates, Inc.; Program Sponsor The Daily Herald; Media Sponsor Chicago Magazine.