Chicago Youth Centers Raises $470,000 at Annual Believe In Kids Dinner: Above & Beyond

Media Contact:
Stephanie Krol, 773-580-9726,

CHICAGO —Chicago Youth Centers (CYC), Chicago’s largest independent youth and family services organization raised an incredible $470,000 with its largest fundraiser, The Believe in Kids Dinner: Above & Beyond sponsored by Wintrust on Thursday, May 18th at The Standard Club. More than 350 guests enjoyed dinner and the evening hosted by CNN correspondent Rosa Flores and featured remarks from Honorary Chair Edward J. Wehmer (Founder, President and CEO of Wintrust.) The Honorable Kimberly M. Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney and CYC Alumna addressed the crowd as the keynote speaker. Foxx discussed her personal journey with Chicago Youth Centers and how that put her on a path to becoming the first African American women to lead the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office—the second largest prosecutor’s office in the country.

Chairs of this critical fundraiser were Dixie Adams Erwin (IBM) and Daniel M. Feeney (Miller Shakman & Beem LLP) with Honorary Chair Edward J. Wehmer (Founder, President and CEO of Wintrust.)

“Wintrust's support of Chicago Youth Centers' annual Believe in Kids Dinner demonstrates its strong commitment to our community and the ongoing dedication to making a difference in the lives of our children and families. I'm particularly proud of this year's dinner, which will focus on the stories of the nonprofit’s alumni, who have gone on to achieve success and inspire the next generation,” said CYC Board Chair Daniel M. Feeney. “I'm very grateful for Wintrust and our Board member, Wintrust Executive Vice President John Dvorak, for helping to bring these stories to life."

The mission of Chicago Youth Centers is to empower children and teens to recognize and experience their full potential. This annual dinner celebrates CYC alumni, families, staff, and supporters, and raises needed funds for Chicago’s largest private youth organization.

The program included the 2017 Epstein-Donnelley Spirit of Youth Award Winner, Lydia Diaz, a CYC parent, and 2017 Epstein Scholarship Winner, Maleek Willis. Willis is a senior at Farragut High School that will be attending Florida Memorial University with help from Chicago Youth Centers.

“Children have no say over the life and circumstances they are born into,” said Event Honorary Chair Edward J. Wehmer (Founder, President and CEO of Wintrust.) “That’s why an organization like Chicago Youth Centers is so important. Every kid deserves a level playing field and—by providing academic, social and emotional support, and specialized programming and resources—CYC is giving the city’s most vulnerable kids and families a leg up.”

The event would not be possible without Presenting Sponsor Wintrust and all of the additional generous event sponsors. Learn more about the sponsors at 90% of every dollar donated to the Believe in Kids Dinner goes to direct services that empower youth to achieve upward mobility and succeed in whatever they do.

About Chicago Youth Centers: CYC supports children and families in underserved communities so they can succeed in the 21st century. Through its seven centers and several partner sites, CYC provides the experiences and resources needed for youth ages 3-18 to persist academically and develop socially and emotionally. Learn more at or


Media Note: Interviews and past event photos are available.