The Evanston Community Foundation raised nearly $245,000 from a record crowd at its annual Celebrate!Evanston event held Thursday night at the Hilton Orrington/Evanston.

Co-chairs Michele Berg and Gene Servillo announced that the evening made ECF history with the highest ever sponsorship support from a wide-array of local businesses and organizations. Gene Servillo said, “We are thrilled to have so many Evanston businesses support our work to make this community thrive.”

President and CEO Monique B. Jones said, “I am so grateful for all the generous support of so many Evanstonians. Every dollar donated will help us reach out across Evanston supporting collaborations with creative ideas to address Evanston’s challenges.”

Evanstonian Gwen Macsai, award-winning radio personality and host of Third Coast’s radio program Re:sound, emceed the event. Macsai’s humor reached well beyond the room, as guests tweeted and retweeted her jokes about everything from Hecky’s sauce to Camp Echo.

Gwen Macsai.

The evening was highlighted by a musical revue celebrating the theme “Evanston Forever” performed by Julie Chernoff, Patrick Keenan-Devlin, Rapheal Miller, and Al Zunamon. The crowd was delighted by the creative, parody lyrics written by Cindi Schuneman.

The Northwestern Dance Marathon (NUDM) Executive Board volunteered for the evening as they have in past years.Over the last 20 years NUDM has contributed well over $1 million dollars to Evanston through ECF, and this long-standing partnership has helped make Evanston and its nonprofit community stronger.

The event was made possible by support from the presenting sponsor Rotary International and platinum sponsor Hagerty Consulting. Gold sponsors included: Aptinyx; First Bank & Trust; Martin Investment Management LLC; Nature’s Perspective Landscaping, Inc.; NorthShore University HealthSystem; Northwestern University; Saville Flowers; Segall, Bryant and Hamill; Sidley Austin LLP; and Vinic Wine Company.

Silver sponsors: Bramer Animal Hospital; John J. Cahill, Inc.; EvanstonHost, Inc; Hart Davis Hart Wine Co.; Heart Certified Auto Care; Make It Better; Mather LifeWays; The Merion; Ozinga Bros., Inc.; Reed Smith LLP; Scott Byron & Co.; and the The Thomas Team, Mike & Lene Thomas – @properties.

Bronze Sponsors: Benvenuti and Stein; Brigitte Schmidt Bell, P.C.; Central Law Group PC; North Shore Community Bank & Trust Company, A Wintrust Community Bank; Porte Brown LLC; Roberts Architects and Construction; Soapie’s Cleaners; and Specialty Premium Group.

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