2021 Gala – A Virtual Experience

Save the date for Children’s Place Association’s 2021 Annual Gala – Once Upon a Time…With Love From Chicago. This year’s event will be held online as the global pandemic continues to limit in-person gatherings.

This year’s event is especially significant because it marks the 30th anniversary of Children’s Place Association. The money raised through our Once Upon a Time Gala effort will allow us to continue our mission of hope and transformation supporting Chicago’s most vulnerable children who are even more at risk now due to the devastating and disproportionate impacts this group is experiencing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your donations will help fund our Child Thrive Initiative featuring a new community resource center in West Humboldt Park that will provide trauma-focused mental health therapy, primary care services, evidence-based youth mentoring and community-sponsored activities to bolster a response to neighborhood violence and social determinants of health. The project will also address economic development and neighborhood safety by promoting the renovation of vacant and derelict business properties on West Chicago Avenue.

​We invite you to save the date and join us in celebrating 30 years of service at this exciting event where you can be a champion for Chicago’s most vulnerable children!

A Donation to Make a Difference
Sponsorship Opportunities

Children’s Place Association virtually presents

Once Upon a Time…

With Love from Chicago

Celebrating 30 Years of Care for Chicago’s Most Vulnerable Children

Thursday, April 29, 2021

6:00 PM

2021 Chicago Champion for Children Awardees

Alex Kotlowitz

Alex Kotlowitz has spent his career writing about America’s poorest neighborhoods – deeply intimate tales of struggle and perseverance. His most recent book, An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago, tells the stories of individuals altered by gun violence. His other books include the national bestseller There Are No Children Here, which the New York Public Library selected as one of the 150 most important books of the twentieth century. His acclaimed documentary, The Interrupters, premiered at Sundance and was awarded an Emmy and a Film Independent Spirit Award. His other honors include two Peabodys, a George Polk Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

Alex is a professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Maria Woltjen.

Maria Woltjen

Maria Woltjen is the Founder and Executive Director of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. A national organization with offices in eight cities, The Young Center is a champion for unaccompanied and separated immigrant children who are detained and subject to deportation. It advocates for their best interests, safety and well-being. The Young Center pioneered the implementation of the “best interests of the child” standard for children caught up in the immigration system. The Young Center also conducts national policy advocacy to incorporate children’s best interests into practice, policy and immigration law.

Maria is the recipient of the 2013 American Constitution Society Ruth Goldman Award, the 2017 UNICEF Chicago Humanitarian Award and one of Chicago Magazine’s 2018 Chicagoans of the Year. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Alex Kotlowitz.

Distinguished Moderator

Robin Robinson

2021 Co-Chairs

George Aliaga, Marsh
Danielle Haddad, CNA

Committee Members

Fredi Bensdorf, Community Volunteer
David Blocker, QBE North America
Erika Buchanan, Community Volunteer
Spencer Ellena, VITA North America
Cassandra Garcia, Pfizer
Bryan Luedecking, Northern Trust
Matthew Roma, CIBC
Michael Silverman, SmithBucklin
Gwendolyn Smith, Litera Microsystems
Andrew Wakeford, Zurich

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