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McGaw YMCA youth gala raises $180,000

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More than 400 people attended the McGaw YMCA’s 2015 Annual Youth Programs Scholarship Gala Saturday raising $180,000 to support McGaw YMCA youth programs.

“We are honored and encouraged by the overflow of support evidenced at our 2015 Youth Gala,” said Dan Israelite, McGaw Y board chairman.

McGaw's president and CEO, Mark A. Dennis Jr., thanked the Gala Committee — Chair Lynn Ryan, Freddi Greenberg, Kristin O’Connor, Leslie Luning, Sarah Walsh, Stacey Hardy and Sue Patel for their leadership and work.

The annual gala raises funds that benefit hundreds of children by allowing equal access to McGaw programs such as travel basketball, Y Achievers college readiness, Project SOAR mentoring, camp, MetaMedia, and so much more. Bidding competition at the Gala was fierce for a weekend getaway to a downtown Chicago condo, complete with free parking and a private tour from the Architecture Foundation, as was a trip to New York City.

Numerous corporate and community leaders, donors, YMCA members and elected officials attended the event, including Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, aldermen Jane Grover, Peter Braithwaite and Donald Wilson, State Sen. Daniel Bliss, State Rep. Robyn Gabel, District 65 Superintendent Paul Goren and board members Omar Brown and Candance Chow, and District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon and board members Pat Savage and Bill Geiger.

“I grew up in the Y,” said Alderman Peter Braithwaite, who represents Evanston’s 2nd Ward. “McGaw is like a hub for every stage in a child’s life.”

From early childhood education to college readiness, McGaw YMCA offers children the opportunity to explore their interests and prepare for their futures. Before Saturday’s Gala, some guests received a sneak peak at McGaw YMCA’s new MetaMedia Youth Center. MetaMedia will provide middle school students with innovative, youth-driven ways to explore advanced technology, music and video production, and creative design. The official MetaMedia Grand Opening will be held in March.

“MetaMedia is an exciting example of the McGaw YMCA’s ability to be responsive to young people as their needs and interests change, and the MetaMedia reception added a distinct new energy to the Gala,” said Charles A. Lewis, Chairman of the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation. The Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation provided significant financial support to bring the vision of MetaMedia into reality.

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