Thank you for helping us knock it out of the park this year!

On July 22, we came together again in Chicago to  celebrate a year of exceptional achievement.  To make the evening fun, we also toasted the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs  - the team that had Patrick as its most loyal fan.  The game of baseball was even a part of the gala as attendees were challenged to make their best pitch in supporting the mission of the Foundation.

After enjoying an all-baseball themed strolling dinner, guests were welcomed by Foundation Board Chair William 'Chip' Dorsey, MD, MBA.  This was followed by Colette Knuth, PhD, the Foundation President & CEO's update on the Foundation's activities.  She closed this update with a list of the Foundation's current priorities that included connecting our Partner Organizations to our STEM Heroes academic and professional networks and developing collaborative relationships with employers that depend on a workforce with advanced STEM skills.

The Patrick Spann Foundation had a well-deserved moment in the sun at Wrigley Field at the game the day before the gala. We know that this brought a big smile to Pat!

Industry Workforce Committee member Kenneth Smith and Board members Colette Knuth, Susan Fredericks (Gala Chairwoman), Anthony Williams, William Dorsey and Rochelle O'Neal smile on as Andre Kozaczka, presents the Foundation with his donation check.

From left to right: Colette Knuth, President, Programs & Awards Committee Member Allison Freeny Cunningham, and Chair Angela McDermott, Andre Kozaczka, Mark Rader, Partner Organization Project Exploration Board Member, Mark Rader, Partner Organization Girls 4 Science CEO, Jackie Lomax, Ovetta Brown, Partner Organization Project Syncere Engineering Instructor, and Program & Awards Co-Chair Yolanda Bruce Brooks.

Dr. Knuth then welcomed Andre Kozaczka and together she and the Board thanked him for his donation which established the Chelsea & Andre Kozaczka Award.  The Kozaczka Award is currently supporting grants to each of our Partner Organizations. It is providing support to the upcoming Girls 4 Science Astronomy Module,  Project Exploration's All Girls Expedition, and tuition for two students to attend Project Syncere's  E-CADEMY out-of-school time engineering program.  Andre announced that he is sponsoring a second fundraiser on behalf of the Foundation.

Keynote Speaker Inger Burnett-Zeigler and Challenge Speaker Karin Norington-Reaves and their friends Anthony Williams and Yolanda Bruce-Brooks

Our expert knowledge sharing portion of the program began with Dr. Anthony Williams, the Foundation Treasurer, introduction of his friend and the gala's Keynote Speaker, Inger Burnett-Zeigler, PhD.  Dr. Burnett-Zeigler is an Assistant Professor and clinical psychologists at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. She is also the Founder and CEO of BecomingOne Wellness, LLC.  In a speech that interwove her family's support of her childhood dream to fly with her research and professional experience in helping children overcome the challenge of growing up in our distressed communities.  She applauded the Foundation's work and emphasized the importance of our commitment to meeting the needs of these children and their communities.  

Yolanda Bruce-Brooks, PsyD then introduced her friend and Challenge Speaker, Karin Norington-Reaves, JD. Ms. Norington-Reaves is the CEO and Founder of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. As CEO of The Partnership, she oversees the administration of federal, state and philanthropic funds and the creation of effective programs that assure alignment between the skills demanded by a changing economy and those offered by the region’s labor force.  Ms. Norington-Reaves called us to action with some startling statistics about about the high demand for advanced STEM workforce skills and the how we must position our kids to take advantage of the economic mobility afforded by the many careers in these fields.


The evening was concluded with Susan Fredericks, MBA announcinng the winners of this year's Silent Auction.  With items ranging from original works by nationally recognized contemporary American abstract artist Diane Di Bernardino Sanborn to unique Chicago Cubs memorabilia, guests had much to bid on.  The tables that contributed the most in our baseball pitching on the spot fundraiser also took home some great coffee cups detailed with motivational phrases from Professor Credo. And even after the music stopped the conversations continued.

We thank all of our guests for a wonderful evening and look forward to seeing you at another unique event next year!