buildOn Breakfast Raised $460K for Service in Chicago!

Thanks to the generosity of buildOn supporters throughout the Chicagoland Region, the 2011 buildOn Breakfast has broken the event’s previous attendance achievements and has raised a current grand tally of $460,000. We’d like to applaud our supporters and students for sharing with us this morning of inspiration, celebration, and frittata in the Grand Ballroom of the downtown Chicago Hilton on Wednesday, May 25th.

NBC5 Chicago’s charismatic co-anchors Rob Elgas and Zoraida Sambolin proved charming and amicable hosts, and we were proud to welcome our honorees. Neal Zucker, President & CEO of Corporate Cleaning Services received buildOn’s Global Leadership Award as presented to him by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Groupon’s COO Margo Georgiadis was on hand to accept the Social Entrepreneurship Award for Groupon’s G-Team. And, Aon’s Kip Kelley accepted the Corporate Leadership Award for the company’s commitment to Chicago’s youth.

Local business and philanthropic leaders were greeted at the ballroom by a collection of dedicated buildOn students from 26 Chicago public high schools across the city. These students were the focus of the festivities, and they joined founder and CEO Jim Ziolkowski on stage during the climax of his address acknowledging heroes from buildOn’s afterschool and school building programs around the globe. The breakfast provided an unprecedented opportunity for many donors to connect with the youth that our programs (and their dollars) serve.

The morning’s most emotional moment occurred when buildOn program member Isac Herrara shared his inspirational story. A resident of Chicago’s south side, Isac described how buildOn motivated him to evade the pitfalls of gang culture and expand his social perspective. He was nearly expelled from junior high; he’s now been accepted to the University of Cincinnati where he will attend this fall. During the course of the event, representatives from four corporations offered Herrara business cards and job opportunities.

Our gratitude goes out to all of our honorees, sponsors and supporters, and here’s to an even bigger and better 2012 Breakfast with more inspiring moments!