Clearbrook gala continues to be shining success
The stars were aligned Friday night as supporters from across the city and suburbs came together to support Clearbrook's largest fundraiser: its 30th annual Shining Star Ball.
The black-tie event took place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, drawing more than 300 guests, including members of the Chicago Bears organization and the co-founders of Crate & Barrel, among other notables.
"The amount of support Clearbrook gives the community and its residents is unsurpassed," said Tom Aichele, a vice president with American Airlines, which has been a major sponsor of the event. "They're just so caring and giving, that we have to support them."
South Barrington business executive, David Riley, was honored for his 20 years of leadership on Clearbrook's board, including 6 years as president. Riley continues to serve on its finance committee and chair its major gifts committee.
"What a fantastic honor," Riley said after receiving a standing ovation. "I'm speechless from so much support, but then, Clearbrook's a family affair."
The evening also included a pair of videos, including one hosted by a Clearbrook client, Nick Bestsoleiman. In it, he asked different clients about their interests and hobbies, seeming to underscore Clearbrook's mission of creating innovative opportunities for its clients of all ages.
Bestsoleiman lives in a group home in Glenview with three other men and in interviewing clients for the video, he drew back on his days at Glenbrook South High School, when he hosted his own talk show on the school's closed-circuit TV station.
"I hope people get the message that it is important to give back to Clearbrook" said Bestsoleiman, 27, "and to people with disabilities."
Organizers credited a group of parents with starting the elegant fundraiser, back in 1988. Over the years, it has grown to be so successful -- drawing increasing support of major donors -- that it regularly brings in more than $1 million in proceeds.
"Our goal the first year was to make $100,000 -- and we did, which made us so happy," said Jan Lundall of Hoffman Estates, whose daughter Kristin lives in a group home in Arlington Heights. "We never dreamed it could make this kind of money."
Tony Di Vittorio, president of the Arlington Heights-based organization, says funds raised from the ball help to differentiate Clearbrook.
"Because of your support, we've raised $21 million over the last 29 years," Di Vittorio said.
Proceeds from this year's gala were earmarked to help support Clearbrook's wide network of residential facilities -- located in 22 communities across the suburbs -- as well as its array of therapies for its clients.
Clearbrook now supports more than 8,000 individuals each year, who live in more than 150 communities across Chicago, the suburbs, and northern Illinois. They range from children with developmental delays, to adults with developmental disabilities and those on the autism spectrum.