The 2014 major fundraising gala of the Alexian Brothers Health Foundation will offer a rare entertainment value: a view of the museum's acclaimed exhibit, <URL destination="http://worldsfair.fieldmuseum.org/">"Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair."
</URL>The Ball de Fleur will be held on Saturday, April 26, at the Field Museum in Chicago.
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If you goWhat: 28th annual Alexian Brothers Ball de Fleur
Where: Field Museum, 1400 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
When: 6:30 p.m. April 26
Cost: $500 per person
Information and tickets: (847) 385-7304; www.alexianfoundation.org
The event will also feature a gourmet dinner, auction and dancing to the Becca Kaufman Orchestra.
"We secured the Field Museum two years ago," says Melanie Furlan, vice president of advancement for the Alexian Brothers Health Foundation. "We moved the ball to the last weekend in April to be able to have it during this incredible exhibit."
The Alexian Brothers came to Chicago in 1863 -- 30 years before the World's Fair -- and became active in serving the poor and homeless.
"Because of their ministry in the city at that time, they served a lot of people who went to the fair," Furlan adds. "Consequently, the fair is interwoven into their history."
Beyond the chance to view some of the museum's hidden collections, including objects from the fair that have been rarely -- or never -- seen on display, the ball offers guests a chance to support some of the health system's major programs.
Beneficiaries include the Alexian Brothers Center for Mental Health in Arlington Heights, Alexian Brothers Hospice Residence in Elk Grove Village, Alexian Brothers Women & Children's Hospital in Hoffman Estates and Alexian Brothers Housing and Health Alliance, which supports residential programs in Waukegan and Chicago.
The Alexian Brothers Women & Children's Hospital opened one year ago and already officials are seeing that 50 percent of its patients are on Medicaid, Furlan said.
"It's really surprising," Furlan says. "You think there's a lot of affluence in the suburbs, but there is a lot of poverty woven in too."
The Women & Children's Hospital, like the Hospice Residence, Mental Health Center and housing programs, all serve primarily patients living on or below the poverty level.
"In all of these facilities, philanthropic funding is extremely important," Furlan says. "We rely on the community to help us provide the full spectrum of care. It's part of the Alexian Brothers' core mission, to provide the best care out there, regardless of a family's ability to pay."
The Ball de Fleur is the only event that draws supporters and medical staff from across the hospital system and its five hospitals and center for mental health. Foundation officials expect 600 guests to attend the gala and they hope to raise $350,000 from its proceeds.