Steve Harvey surprises founder of GiGi's Playhouse

 
 
Updated 9/29/2016 2:24 PM
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  • Nancy Gianni of South Barrington, center, talks with actress Kym Whitley and host Steve Harvey about her Hoffman Estates-based GiGi's Playhouse foundation aimed at supporting families of children with Down syndrome, during Monday's episode of the "Steve Harvey" show.

    Nancy Gianni of South Barrington, center, talks with actress Kym Whitley and host Steve Harvey about her Hoffman Estates-based GiGi's Playhouse foundation aimed at supporting families of children with Down syndrome, during Monday's episode of the "Steve Harvey" show. Courtesy of Cristina Aguirre/NBC

  • Nancy Gianni of South Barrington, center, reacts to being surprised by a $10,000 check from Ford for her Hoffman Estates-based GiGi's Playhouse foundation to support families of children with Down syndrome. Presenting her with the check on Monday's episode of the "Steve Harvey" show are actress Kym Whitley and host Steve Harvey.

    Nancy Gianni of South Barrington, center, reacts to being surprised by a $10,000 check from Ford for her Hoffman Estates-based GiGi's Playhouse foundation to support families of children with Down syndrome. Presenting her with the check on Monday's episode of the "Steve Harvey" show are actress Kym Whitley and host Steve Harvey. Courtesy of Cristina Aguirre/NBC

Nancy Gianni of South Barrington appeared on the "Steve Harvey" show this week to be honored for her work in creating the Hoffman Estates-based GiGi's Playhouse foundation, which supports families of children with Down syndrome.

She also was surprised with a $10,000 check from Ford to benefit the foundation.

Gianni named GiGi's Playhouse after her daughter 12 years ago. The nonprofit organization now operates 31 locations across the country.

This week's episodes of the "Steve Harvey" show have focused on women in the Chicago area who have helped others through incredibly selfless acts. Actress Kym Whitley picked up each in a "Cash Car" from Ford, driving them around the city before surprising them with a stop at the "Steve Harvey" studio.

Earlier this year, Gianni also was honored as a CNN Hero and then recognized for that distinction by the village of Hoffman Estates, where GiGi's Playhouse began.

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