Over 30 years of passion, purpose, and dedication culminated in an inspirational night traveling down memory lane, celebrating where we are, and sharing our vision of the all-important and urgent work that lies ahead.  An evening full of meaningful conversation and heartwarming laughter reconnecting with friends and peers in person for the first time in over two years.  

The event not only raised much-needed funds ($185,000!), but it also raised awareness of the plight of those living in Chicago’s vulnerable neighborhoods, specifically West Humboldt Park. 

  • 27.2% of Chicago Children live in poverty 
  • Unhoused children are 8 times more likely to repeat a grade 
  • Children who do not receive a quality early education are 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime before turning 18 

While these statistics are bleak, they simply fuel the work that we are so passionate about, and we continue to move forward, listening to the community’s needs and addressing the inequitable conditions that give rise to these outcomes in order to build a more hopeful future for our kids 

Robin Robinson, emcee extraordinaire and long-time CPA supporter set the tone for the night as she shared stories of hope, resilience, and the importance of showing up and doing the work. 

A certain power is ignited when we join like this for a shared purpose. It’s people coming together in mind, body and spirit…in order to make a difference. – Robin Robinson 

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Cinaiya Stubbs, Children’s Place’s new President and CEO, shared the importance of WHY we align ourselves with such an ambitious mission, noting that her WHY is informed by her lived experiences, and that the “lives, [the] ambition and [the] divine right to break free of the shackles that [our families] were born into has been and will continue to be our WHY.” Per Cinaiya, our role is to “shepherd youth and families as they walk their unique path to overcoming” the “shackles of inequity,” and “we are here to reaffirm and restabilize with the hope that one day, (the families we serve) will become WHY their children, families, and communities thrive.” 

Cinaiya then presented the 2022 Chicago Champion Award to Mesirowa corporate partner who has walked beside Children’s Place for almost a quarter century as a fierce advocate and faithful supporter. Leo Harmon, Senior Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of Mesirow Equity Management, and Chair of the firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council (as well as Child Thrive Steering Committee member) accepted the award on Mesirow’s behalf. 

The evening included a special tribute honoring our retired Founding President & CEO, Cathy Krieger, for her 30+ years of service. Reflecting on her journey before long-time friends, peers and family, Cathy said that “[l]eading Children’s Place has been more than a job…it has been a calling… and the opportunity of a lifetime,” and is excited to see Children’s Place grow under Cinaiya’s leadership. 

After some brief Speakeasy-themed entertainment, we were inspired by keynote speaker, Dominique Wilson, who shared his personal story of how being part of Children’s Place as a child helped mold him into the person he is today.  

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To all who attended, to the CPA staff, board members, volunteers, sponsors and vendors, we thank you! 

A special THANK YOU to our gala committee co-chairs and committee members for their passionate dedication to CPA and our kids: Co-Chairs David Blocker and Matt Roma; Marketing Chair, Danielle Litinsky, and Committee Member, Fredi Bensdorf. 

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The night was also made possible by our 2022 Presenting Angel Sponsor and Chicago Champion Awardee, Mesirow, and our other amazing Angel Sponsors. 

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Diamond Angel Sponsor: 

Marina Cartage Inc. 

Platinum Angel Sponsors: 

CIBC, Henry Givray, Danielle & James Litinsky 

Gold Angel Sponsors: 

Belmont Villages, The Bensdorf Family, Cy Frederics, Freeman, The Greenblatt Family, Jackson, Cornelia McNamara, Nancy and Ted Otto, PPM America, Bob Ryan / GoldFish Swim School, TDC Specialty Underwriters  

Thank you also to all the wonderful Individual Angel Sponsors and individuals who supported us during the evening’s paddle raise to support our life-changing programs and services! 

Congratulations to our raffle prize winners! 

Bob Holland won a beautiful diamond necklace from Cy Fredericks 

Stephanie & Andrew McAndrew won a 5-night stay at the Westin Resort & Spa Cancun  

Ready to revisit our memorable night? 

Speakeasy Gala

CLICK HERE to check out the program book, and watch our 2022 CPA video:

In deepest gratitude from your CPA Team