More than $440K Contributed to Support Erie House at Annual Dinner

March 9, 2015 | Chicago, IL

2015 Future of Promise Awards DinnerErie Neighborhood House marked 145 years of service during its annual Future of Promise awards dinner on Thursday, March 8. The historic evening witnessed an unprecedented amount—more than $440,000—pledged by attendees and sponsors to support programs and services that impact 4,500 participants each year.

“The money that we have raised tonight is going to go towards helping so many lives,” Executive Director Celena Roldán-Moreno told an audience of approximately 400 gathered at the Chicago Hyatt Regency’s Crystal Ballroom. “We can’t thank you enough for your support.”

Childcare Program Takes Center Stage at 145-year Celebration

In keeping with tradition, the dinner highlighted one of the agency’s 11 core programs in an effort to provide attendees with a closer look at the role Erie House plays in the community. This year, the agency featured its childcare program, a critically important service that has empowered thousands upon thousands of low-income families over the past century and a half.

Before showing a video showcasing the services Erie House provides to families with children ages two through five, Roldán-Moreno took the opportunity to announce that the NAEYC-accredited program was recently awarded the Gold Circle of Quality rating—the highest designation possible—by the state’s preschool assessment system. The program has earned an outstanding reputation for providing social-emotional support to children and their families, employing high-quality teachers and support staff, and maintaining excellent teacher-student classroom ratios to support learning for all children.

Watch the video that debuted at the 2015 Future of Promise awards dinner on Thursday, March 5.

Following the video presentation, Erie House parent and advocate Sarah Rios shared her personal narrative. Rios, whose family is introduced in the video, described some of the challenges she has faced over the past four years—including her husband’s deportation to Peru and her struggle to make ends meet as a single mother in need of both employment and affordable childcare—and the many ways Erie House has become a “second home” for her family.

“During this difficult time in our lives, our only constant was Erie House,” Rios explained to the captivated audience. “I have always said I am in personal debt to Erie House for holding my hand through some very difficult trials in our lives and for helping me raise my daughters.”

Rios’s story deeply inspired the audience, bringing tears to countless eyes in the banquet hall. Following her remarks, her three children—Leila, age 7; Samina, age 6; and Fatima, age 4—joined her on stage to aid Roldán-Moreno in identifying donations for the event’s paddle raise, during which attendees pledged more than $95,000.

Evening Recognizes Special Honorees

The event also celebrated four special honorees: the 55th mayor of the city of Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, recipient of the Community Innovator Award; City Treasurer Kurt Summers, recipient of the Civic Leader Award; Achievement Asset Management CEO Joseph Scoby, recipient of the Corporate Leader Award; and PNC Bank Illinois President Scott Swanson, recipient of the Community Leader Award.

Civic Leader Award recipient and native Chicagoan Kurt Summers talked about the moral imperative he sees as city treasurer to help individuals and families across his hometown. “The vision that we have will be undertaken with Erie House as a partner,” Summers told the audience as he described his ambitions for his new role. “An investment in Erie’s future helps all of our futures,” he added. “We are all part of one city and one community.”

Summers showed particular appreciation for the coveted “rice-and-beans”
award—a framed, one-of-a-kind handmade mosaic piece of artwork—that is bestowed upon each of the honorees. “This is going to be the first thing that will go on my wall,” said Summers—only now in his fourth month on the job as treasurer—joking that he still hasn’t had time to fully decorate his office at
City Hall.

This year Erie House bestowed a new honor—the Community Innovator
Award—upon Emanuel, citing the mayor’s steadfast support for early childhood education and his work to make Chicago a welcoming city to immigrants.

“Erie Neighborhood House represents the aspirations of the city of Chicago and the hopes and dreams of our children and families,” the mayor told the audience. Emanuel also noted that the greatness of a society can be measured by how eagerly it extends its hands to help others in need. “Erie House is pulling thousands of hands through the door,” he said, applauding the organization’s work to empower immigrant families.

For more information on Erie Neighborhood House and its impact on 4,500 individuals in the city of Chicago each year, please visit

Note: An additional sum of money was donated following the dinner; total revenue had previously estimated at $430,000.



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