It was a million-dollar night – and then some. Building Evanston’s New Crown Jewel, a celebratory fundraising event held on Feb. 24 at the Evanston Art Center, raised more than $1.2 million for a reimagined Robert Crown Community Center, Turf Park, and Public Library.
The event, which was emceed by ABC-7’s Ravi Baichwal, featured the presentation of a special “silver shovel” award to Rocky Wirtz, owner and chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks. Mr. Wirtz thanked the overflowing and energetic crowd, and spoke of the power of youth sports and recreational facilities in building strong communities. The program also included remarks from Evanston Public Library Director Karen Danczak Lyons and a video showcasing the impact of the project for a variety of community constituencies.
“On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks, we are proud to be here tonight to support this project and what it will mean for the Evanston community and the expansion of youth hockey opportunities for kids throughout the region,” said Mr. Wirtz. “While we cannot say that every kid will make it to the NHL, we can say that if not for community rinks, they wouldn’t have the opportunity to try.”
“We will transform the new Robert Crown Center into a place that develops the whole self: mind, body, and spirit,” said Ms. Danczak Lyons. “We have diverse interests and backgrounds, diverse needs and goals. But we are one community, coming together to work, play, and learn in our new Crown jewel.”
Revenue from the event’s ticket sales, sponsorships, live auction items, and other donations totaled $613,500. With every dollar the campaign raises currently being matched by an anonymous matching grant, the total amount the event generated was $1,227,000. The campaign has been actively soliciting gifts against the major matching commitment since securing it last year.