Speech – Chairman Alex Pissios

“Official Remarks”
A Safe Haven Foundation 25 Year Anniversary Gala
November 16th, 2019 – The Drake Hotel

Thank you, Dionne.

Good evening everyone. Welcome to A Safe Haven’s Legacy of Excellence –. My name is Alex Pissios, President and CEO of Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, and I have the privilege to be the Chairman of the 25th Anniversary Gala.

A Safe Haven is one of the premier nonprofit organizations in the Chicago area providing services to an average of 5,000 people annually.

The agency earned its stellar reputation because of the expertise it has garnered to address the underlying causes of poverty, addiction, and homelessness.  They give hope to the many that come to their door hopeless and without the necessary skills to survive.

As some of you may know, I have had my own experience with personal struggles and know firsthand how that can destroy a family and a person’s soul.  I am passionate about A Safe Haven’s mission and proud to be standing here with all of you this evening in support of this great agency that does so much for so many. (say this statement with an earnest and solemn tone-scan the room)

Before I begin my Chairman duties…  (lighter tone)

I want to acknowledge Neli Vasquez Rowland and Brian Rowland for their lifetime commitment and relentless pursuit to end the vicious cycle of poverty.

For over 25 years, they have chosen a life of service and led the way in removing barriers for underserved residents of Chicago and provided a means for those they serve to overcome their plight.

Their legacy is far-reaching, and we are all grateful to them for their selfless leadership and dedication.  Please join me in giving them a round of applause (Alex start clapping and motion for people to stand)

An event such as the one happening tonight cannot occur alone.  First, I would like to acknowledge tonight’s honorees, my good friend Perry Mandera and my NEW best friend, Bill Sternberg.  These honorees are amazing and champions that have demonstrated leadership and courage in their philanthropic endeavors.  (Look directly at Perry and Bill) Thank you for your commitment and passion.

Tonight, would not be possible without the (wave your arm around the room) without a devoted and the hardest working Gala Committee in the city!  (Ask the Gala Committee Members in the room tonight to stand)

Let’s give a round of applause to the Gala Committee Members and staff for producing a fantastic evening for us to share.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your dedication, hard work, and for making this gala a rousing success!

I would be remiss if I didn’t extend our heartfelt appreciation to all of tonight’s sponsors–there are # Neli, I need the exact number of sponsors! You are crucial to tonight’s success.

Tonight, is about having fun and celebrating fellowship with some of the biggest hearts in Chicago. It is also about giving to what we believe will do the highest good.  The clients come to A Safe Haven with the hope for an improved quality of life, and that is what you ladies and gentlemen help us do.

86, 000 homeless individuals live on the streets of Chicago.  A Safe Haven relies on the financial support that you provide, which helps close the widening gap between what the government is willing to fund and the actual cost of services.   For the more than 5,000 people served annually by A Safe Haven, 1,000 others are turned away due to insufficient funds.  For those 1,000 individuals who are turned away, your financial support tonight could be life-changing.

If this is your first time attending our benefit, I hope you enjoy what you hear from our clients and learn about A Safe Haven.  And tomorrow, please share what you hear with others. Our continued success depends on an ever-widening circle of supporters.

Once again, thank you for being with us tonight to celebrate 25 years of service!

Goodnight, Enjoy the festivities, and please be generous.

Exit the stage