Alexian Brothers Foundation to raise funds for mental health care with 33rd annual Ball de Fleur

 
By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 3/27/2019 6:30 AM
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  • Lincoln Park Zoo was the venue for last year's Ball de Fleur. From left are Terry and Renee Graber (Inverness), platinum sponsors; Robin Robinson (Chicago), emcee; Melanie Furlan (Indian Head Park), senior vice president and chief philanthropy officer at Amita Health; and Mark Frey (Crystal Lake), president and CEO of Amita Health and Alexian Brothers Health System.

    Lincoln Park Zoo was the venue for last year's Ball de Fleur. From left are Terry and Renee Graber (Inverness), platinum sponsors; Robin Robinson (Chicago), emcee; Melanie Furlan (Indian Head Park), senior vice president and chief philanthropy officer at Amita Health; and Mark Frey (Crystal Lake), president and CEO of Amita Health and Alexian Brothers Health System. Courtesy of Alexian Brothers Foundation/Dave Pflederer

  • Mike and Mary Alice Benoit (Bartlett) with Mark and Susanne Frey (Crystal Lake) around the carousel at the Lincoln Park Zoo at last year's Alexian Brothers Foundation Ball de Fleur. The annual gala event raises funds for mental health services.

    Mike and Mary Alice Benoit (Bartlett) with Mark and Susanne Frey (Crystal Lake) around the carousel at the Lincoln Park Zoo at last year's Alexian Brothers Foundation Ball de Fleur. The annual gala event raises funds for mental health services. Courtesy of Alexian Brothers Foundation/Dave Pflederer

  • A scene from Alexian Brothers Ball 2018 Ball de Fleur, which took place at the Lincoln Park Zoo. This year's event will take place at a new venue, Rockwell on the River in Chicago.

    A scene from Alexian Brothers Ball 2018 Ball de Fleur, which took place at the Lincoln Park Zoo. This year's event will take place at a new venue, Rockwell on the River in Chicago. Courtesy of Alexian Brothers Foundation/Dave Pflederer

  • Dr. Rajeev and Michelle Gupta (South Barrington) gaze at the harbor and gray seals at the Kovler Seal Pool of the Lincoln Park Zoo at the 2018 Ball de Fleur.

    Dr. Rajeev and Michelle Gupta (South Barrington) gaze at the harbor and gray seals at the Kovler Seal Pool of the Lincoln Park Zoo at the 2018 Ball de Fleur. Courtesy of Alexian Brothers Foundation/Dave Pflederer

A former manufacturing complex in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood will be the backdrop for the Alexian Brothers Foundation and its biggest fundraiser of the year, its signature Ball de Fleur.

The ball takes place Saturday, May 4, at Rockwell on the River, 3057 N. Rockwell St. in Chicago.

The venue features exposed brick and timber construction, as well as Italian masonry in the courtyard and river front, allowing guests to enjoy an elegant evening overlooking the north branch of the Chicago River at one of the city's newest destinations.

Organizers with the Alexian Brothers Foundation are calling the event "A Night at the Rockwell ... Instilling Hope One Life at a Time."

More than 400 guests are expected to attend this year's gala, including physicians, business partners and supporters of the nine hospitals that form the Amita Health and Alexian Brothers Health System, which is based in Arlington Heights.

"We are drawn together by our shared mission and lasting commitment to provide the best, most compassionate care to all people in our communities -- especially those who are most in need of our help," says Melanie Furlan, senior vice president and chief philanthropy officer for Amita Health.

Proceeds from the ball continue a multiyear, $28 million pledge toward its "One Life at a Time" campaign. Its vision, health officials say, is to end the stigma associated with mental health and substance abuse treatment.

The campaign began in 2015, with its focus on providing access to programs and services for behavioral medicine, homelessness, chronic illness, autism spectrum and developmental disorders, when and where people need it.

"We have to advocate on behalf of individuals and families who need our help," says Mark Frey, president and chief executive officer of Amita Health, "and, at the same time, educate our professionals and get out into the community to expand access to a broad spectrum of health care services."

Furlan adds that philanthropic support from the ball has helped provide long-term treatment for individuals, including military veterans impacted by anxiety, OCD and substance use disorders at the Foglia Family Foundation Residential Treatment Center in Elk Grove Village.

The health system also provides these services at Amita Health Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates, the Alexian Center for Mental Health in Arlington Heights, and through the Alexian Brothers Housing and Health Alliance in Chicago and Waukegan.

Additionally, the health system has placed school mental health workers in 20 schools in the Northwest suburbs.

"We have crafted a vision that is broad and inclusive," Furlan adds, "and in order to be successful, we have to do this together. We do our best work when we are a united community."

Amita Health is a joint operating company formed by AdventHealth in Altamonte Springs, Florida, and St. Louis-based Ascension. Amita Health is the largest health system in Illinois, comprising 19 hospitals and more than 230 sites of care. The health system has 900 providers in its medical groups, more than 26,000 associates and 7,000 physician partners and serves over 4.3 million residents in the greater Chicago area.

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