Chicago, IL (November 15, 2016)—Thanks to many of Chicago’s finest philanthropists, government elected officials, and top entrepreneurs, A Safe Haven proudly hosted a SOLD OUT 2016 Celestial Gala, “Making Dreams Come True” Anniversary and Awards event Saturday, November 5, 2016 at the Drake Hotel in Oak Brook, Illinois. A Safe Haven is an anchor social, housing, and economic development program in Chicago, IL that reaches over 100,000 individuals annually. The Gala was noteworthy in that it was only the second fundraising gala in A Safe Haven history, gathering wonderful friends and supporters who all share a common mission of doing good.
As A Safe Haven celebrates 22 Years of impact, we were humbled and thrilled to honor Rotary International and the incoming President, John F. Germ, with the Inaugural Humanitarian Business Association and Humanitarian Leadership Awards, for their collective and individual selfless contributions to making the world a better place for countless people. Accepting the award on behalf of Mr. John F. Germ was General Secretary of Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation, Mr. John Hewko. “It is a great honor to receive A Safe Haven’s ‘Humanitarian Business Association of the Year’ award on behalf of Rotary International President John Germ” said John Hewko, Rotary’s General Secretary. “For Rotary and A Safe Haven, making sustainable change involves a return on investment in terms of the human potential that is released. Rotary clubs, like the Rotary Club of Chicago, intervene in many communities by promoting volunteer service, life and leadership skills and personal and professional growth and development. They also support other social impact innovators like A Safe Haven.”
A Safe Haven was equally delighted to host Opera Classical Singing Sensation, 2016 America’s Got Talent Finalist and Golden Buzzer Winner, Laura Bretan. Laura and her family joined us with a performance, and we were very proud to honor her this summer with the “Voice of An Angel Award” for her years of service to helping the homeless at A Safe Haven.
The audience also heard inspiring stories from an A Safe Haven alum, the child of an alum, and a current resident who have broken the cycle of homelessness and are now making huge strides in achieving their dreams of becoming proud, positive, productive members of society!
“The theme of the evening was incredibly appropriate, as we were able to witness the results of our ability to Dream Big and Believe in Miracles through inspiring stories from former residents. We witnessed a mother and her son, a 2014 alum, and a current resident whose stories showed the ripple effect their recovery had on the lives of themselves, and their loved ones. Their testimonials spoke to the enormous impact our services have on the lives of real people. To that end, I could not think of a more worthwhile Association or leader to receive our Inaugural Humanitarian Business Association and Humanitarian Leadership Awards than Rotary International and John F. Germ, for their continual commitment to serving humanity. The night was filled with love, joy and gifts for humanity that was encompassed by Laura Bretan’s touching live performance—she is one of the world’s most promising emerging musical superstars, born with a big voice for the homeless and a heart of gold,” said Neli Vazquez Rowland, President of A Safe Haven.
Beyond the much needed funding from sponsors, donors, and ticket/table sales, the 2016 Celestial Gala lifted spirits and validated A Safe Haven’s belief in our mission to rebuild the lives of those we serve. For 22 years, we have been shooting for the stars, transforming the lives of over 100,000 homeless Chicagoans. The funds raised at this year’s gala will directly impact our programs to help the homeless men, women, children, youth, and veterans we serve in our nationally recognized, vertically integrated ecosystem.