Gala Honorees: Retail Properties of America and Susan Ellefson/The Peninsula Chicago Hotel
Each year, the Heart of Gold Ball celebrates the individuals, organizations and corporations who support Hephzibah’s mission, ensuring that the children and families we serve “thrive and flourish.” This year, we are thrilled to honor Retail Properties of America (RPAI) with the Heart of Gold Award, and Susan Ellefson and The Peninsula Chicago Hotel with the Heart of the Home Award.
The Heart of Gold Award recognizes an individual, organization or corporation for their commitment to enhancing the well-being of disadvantaged children at the local or national level. In 2013, the team at RPAI started a heartwarming holiday tradition by fulfilling the Christmas wishes of the children living in our group homes. Since that time, the Oak Brook-based corporation has become Hephzibah’s largest holiday contributor, with employees purchasing gifts from the wish lists of every children at Hephzibah Home, as well as a new outfit and shoes. In 2017, RPAI employees assembled a corporate team to run the 2017 Ragnar Chicago Relay Race, a two-day, 187-mile endurance challenge that began in Madison, WI, and ended in Chicago. After shattering their initial fundraising goal of $15,000, these RPAI road warriors raised more than $36,000 to help the children in our group homes heal and achieve their full potential. We are grateful to these compassionate corporate partners for “going the extra mile” for Hephzibah’s kids!
The Heart of the Home Award recognizes the outstanding service and commitment of a person or group of volunteers to Hephzibah Children’s Association through a project or program. Each year, Susan Ellefson and her kindhearted coworkers at The Peninsula Chicago Hotel deliver loads of fun, and much-needed funds, for the children in our group and foster homes. Every year, Peter Bear – the Peninsula Chicago’s friendly, fuzzy animal mascot – hops into a Mini Cooper bedecked with bunny ears on Easter and a spider on Halloween to deliver treats to the children at Hephzibah Home. To start their school year right, the hotel collects school supplies for the children, and then in December invites them for a holiday afternoon tea with Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with a free-spirited afternoon of ice skating at the Peninsula Sky Rink. Plus, since 2009, this generous corporate partner has donated the annual proceeds from the Sky Rink to support our mission. We are so grateful to these committed corporate citizens for their generous hospitality and compassion to the children in our care.
Please join us in honoring our award winners on Saturday, March 3, at our Heart of Gold Ball!