$435,000 in two years. That is the total amount of money Junior Council raised in my two years while serving on the board, first as a Director of Corporate Partnerships and this last year as Treasurer. The other 15 members of the Executive Board had more to do with the fundraising total than I did, but I am so thankful to have been a part of these two incredible groups of people. While I am so humbled to have been a part of this level of fundraising for an amazing cause, the overall experience of serving on the board has impacted my life in an incredible way.
The Junior Council of Chicago is a philanthropic junior board made up of 100% volunteer young professionals that raises money year-round for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Our culminating event is Snowball, a black-tie gala held at Union Station in Chicago each year in January or February which includes food from 25 of Chicago's best restaurants, cocktails, dancing, and music from one of Chicago's premier bands, Rod Tuffcurls & The Bench Press. At at the conclusion of the evening, we present the check to the hospital of our fundraising total for the year. I included a video at the bottom of this post if you would like to get a better idea of what goes on at Snowball.
This year's Snowball, my third overall and second serving on the Executive Board, was really special for three reasons:
- We hosted 2,300 people and raised $235,000, both of which were the most in the organization's 28-year history.
- This was the last time Snowball will be hosted at Union Station, and we were actually the last event at Union Station before a historic remodeling begins at the train station.
- This Snowball was my last year serving on the Executive Board.
The feeling is very bittersweet as those of us that are moving on pass down the reigns to the next generation of young professionals that will be taking over the Executive Board. I joined Junior Council back in early 2013 after a great friend of mine told me about the organization. He was on the Executive Board at the time, and after just one meeting, I knew that this was somewhere I definitely wanted to spend my time. Not only was this organization fighting for a great cause, but I was inspired by all of the young professionals that were willing to spend their free time outside of work volunteering to help children and teens.
Some of the highlights from my three years on the Board:
- I met and worked with some incredible people that will be close friends of mine for a long time.
- I serve as a mentor to one of the patients at the hospital, who I am actually seeing today!
- I met my current girlfriend, who I have been dating for over 1.5 years now. =)
- My Co-Director and I helped bring in $45,000 in corporate sponsorships for Snowball 2015.
- Junior Council has reaffirmed my love for working with and helping children and teens.
I will still be involved with Junior Council, but will be passing on the heavy lifting to a new group of amazing people. Like I said, leaving the Executive Board is really tough, but it is time for me to devote as much time as I can to helping our youth in the best way I can: to help give students all over the world the courage to become the Second-to-None version of themselves.
Donating your money to charity is great, but make sure that you also donate your time. Serve as a mentor, volunteer at a food pantry, make winter hats to give to a homeless shelter, whatever gets you inspired! For your students, volunteering on a regular basis (even one-to-two times per year) is an incredibly humbling and grounding experience. Make a commitment this year to volunteer with your family. Ask your student(s) how they would like to volunteer so that they are excited and invested in the activity. I want them to find an amazing experience like the Junior Council has been for me.