The stars were aligned Friday night for Clearbrook's major fundraiser, its Shining Star Ball.
For the third straight year, the event raised more than $1 million for client services.
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"We really appreciate your support," said Carl La Mell, president of the Arlington Heights-based agency. "In this economy, it's more important than ever."
Nearly 300 people gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago for the 26th anniversary of the black-tie event. They included bank executive Jerry Fitzgerald, who is chairman of Clearbrook's board of trustees, and other business leaders such as Gordon and Carole Segal, co-founders of Crate & Barrel.
Roe Conn, whose talk show on WLS radio dates nearly as long as the Shining Star Ball, served as emcee for the evening. Conn has a sister who has been a Clearbrook client for nearly 10 years.
"She's never been at a place where she has been happier, more fulfilled or safer than Clearbrook," Conn said.
Traditionally, the ball raises money for the Clearbrook Clinic and its therapeutic services, including occupational, physical and speech and language therapies, as well as behavioral programming and counseling.
This year, guests learned more about Clearbrook's autism day programs, in Rolling Meadows and Northbrook, before bidding directly to help increase resources for both locations.
"The growing need for services for people with autism has prompted us to meet the challenge head-on," said La Mell. "This kind of direct funding will allow us to continue to enhance our new programs."
Clearbrook is one of the largest providers of home-based services in Illinois and annually supports more than 6,000 individuals in more than 160 communities.
"This is such a wonderful evening, it bridges the gap for those therapies not covered by the state," Fitzgerald said.