Event Chair Jill Greer, Board President David Greer, and Executive Director Betty A. Bogg          Photo from Connections

Connections for the Homeless hosted more than 280 people at THRIVE, its annual fundraising gala, held on Feb. 17. The gala exceeded Connections’ fundraising goal, raising a total of $270,000, over and above expenses.

“This level of support from the community is so important right now, and we are extremely grateful,” said Betty Bogg, Connections’ Executive Director. “We are moving forward with our goal of increasing private donations to mitigate any future loss of funding that could result from the continuing State of Illinois budget impasse. That’s what it will take for us to aggressively combat homelessness, regardless of what the State of Illinois does.”

The event, held at Architectural Artifacts in Chicago, took a different format than in past years. Instead of a sit-down dinner, 11 Evanston and Chicago-area restaurants set up tasting stations featuring one of their signature dishes.

For dessert, guests participated in a competitive “Sugar Rush,” where groups of guests bid for the right to choose their desserts first from donated selections.

“We sought to ‘break the mold’ with the gala this year,” said gala chair Jill Greer. “Connections does such amazing work, and our committee wanted the gala to be new and exciting so as to engage new donors and encourage current donors to increase their support. We also wanted to create a unique event that people will look forward to from year to year because it is different from all of the other galas. Judging by people’s reactions and the money we raised, we were successful.”