Thanks to the Queen of Our Hearts

The Heart of Gold Ball honoring Mary Anne Brown broke records for attendance and revenue

Mary Anne Smiling on Throne ps


Mary Anne was called “The Queen of Our Hearts” and surprised with a throne, cape and scepter, as she received the Heart of Gold Award.

Hephzibah’s 2017 Heart of Gold Ball, on Saturday, March 4, was an evening of gratitude and glowing tributes for Executive Director, Mary Anne Brown, as she received the Heart of Gold Award for outstanding commitment to Hephzibah over the past 40 years. Guests stood to applaud four times throughout the evening and helped raise a record-setting $400,000 to benefit the children and families served by Hephzibah – to whom Mary Anne has devoted her heart and her career.

Bridgeport Art Center’s lovely space was packed with more than 500 guests and twinkling with fairy lights on every table, as Mark Trinka, president of Hephzibah Children’s Trust and a former board member, spoke of Mary Anne’s accomplishments and the lasting impression she leaves on the hearts of those who have worked with her.

Senator Don Harmon issued a proclamation recognizing Mary Anne as a life-long champion of children’s needs, and thanking her on behalf of children and families in the state of Illinois.

Dan Farley, a former Group Home resident, presented Mary Anne with the Heart of Gold Award.

“She let me know that she was there for me, smoothing the path ahead and keeping a watchful eye,” Dan said. “Mary Anne was a beacon of light for me then, and she continues to be on my side.”

Farley recalled the comfort she gave him when he first came to Hephzibah at age 9, during a rough, uncertain stage in his childhood. Now 21 years later, Farley has graduated from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; he lives in Madison, WI, and works as a project manager for a prominent electronic medical records vendor.

Also attending the event were former Hephzibah Home residents, all of whom have stories of how Hephzibah and Mary Anne Brown helped them navigate a critical time in their lives.

An exciting live auction kicked off the evening, including Bulls seats on the floor and premium Hamilton tickets.  Bidders vied for The Sky’s the Limit package – a private helicopter tour of the city, embarking from the recently opened Vertiport facility, which was paired with dinner and wine at Eden, a restaurant launched in November by Jodi Fyfe of Paramount Events.

Hephzibah supporters helped this year’s Heart of Gold Ball exceed expectations in every way – by donating to the auction, attending the event, and sharing heart-felt messages to honor Mary Anne. Many made generous financial contributions to ensure Hephzibah’s legacy of providing hope and help to children.

Click here to view PHOTOS from the event, and here to see hilarious live-action GIFS.

We are grateful to an outstanding Gala Committee whose hard work was evident in every detail. Gwen Tonino was our stellar Event Chairperson, supported by Committee leaders Jen Weaver, Auction, Kathy Malpede, Event Production, and Donna Rolf, Sponsorship, and hard-working Committee members: Laura Connelly, Christina Ewing, Kim Green, John Grimes, Lisa Grimes, Kim Lutz, Kenna MacKinnon, and Cam Niederman. We could not have found a more dedicated, thoughtful group.

For coming together this year to help pay tribute to our special Heart of Gold Award recipient, Mary Anne Brown, we thank these  Honorary Committee members: Graham and Brooke Allen, Tony and Jean Barbato, Cuyler and Julie Brown, Kevin and Linda Conway, Bruce Elegant, Ron and Cathy Fox, Maria Garvy, Sr. Michelle Germanson, O.P., Senator Don Harmon, Marty and Mary Lou Noll, Dave and Lynde O’Brien, Perry and Diane Pero, Brent and Maureen Stratton, and Jack Vainisi.

Please assist us in showing our appreciation to the generous Event Sponsors who helped making the evening possible. Silver Heart Sponsors: Chicago Association of Realtors, Hephzibah Children’s Trust and Retail Properties of America. Bronze Heart Sponsors: Maria Garvy and William Keffer, Perry and Diane Pero, The PrivateBank and The Sidley Austin Foundation.

Table Sponsors: Graham and Brooke Allen, Jackie Barlow, Max and Mary Anne Brown, Sherry and Paul Carbery, Carleton Hotel/Ron and Cathy Fox, Cushman Wakefield/Eric and Lisa Sorensen, Shaun and Lisa Emerson, Christina Ewing and Jim Christofferson, Forest Park National Bank, Gerber Family, Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose Ltd., The Horton Group, John and Nancy Ide, Shaun and Roberta Lane, Byron Lee and Audrey Williams-Lee, McCarthy and Trinka, Noel and Michele Moore, Dave and Lynde O’Brien, Rush Oak Park Hospital, Cheryl ter Horst and Burt Constable, Pietro and Gwen Tonino, Lance and Mary Tortorici, US Bank, Tom Yates and Diane Ratekin. Friend Sponsors: Terry and Linda Brown, Community Bank of Oak Park  River Forest, Kevin and Linda Conway, Senator Don Harmon, Jim and Kathy Malpede, Oak Design & Construction, Amy Paris/The Pet Health People LLC, Donna Rolf, Brent and Maureen Stratton, Juliet and Rocky Yera.

Many thanks to everyone who helped support the Heart of Gold Ball and the children of Hephzibah.

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