AFP Chicago Features Honorees of the 2013 Philanthropy Awards Luncheon 

April 2013 eDevelopments 

On May 10th, AFP Chicago will proudly honor eight of the most distinguished leaders of the Chicago’s philanthropic and nonprofit sectors at the 37th annual Philanthropy Award Luncheon.  Please allow us to introduce you to two of the eight awardees today:

Penelepe Hunt - Benjamin Franklin Award Honoree

Presented to a fundraising professional for significant achievements in a long career and who serves as a role model for our profession

Known by her colleagues as a “master at knowing how people work and think,” Penelepe Hunt (Penny) is a consummate professional with a keen understanding of fundraising and endless ambition for transformative results. Penny is a professional fundraiser, teacher, management consultant, executive coach and born leader with more than 25 years of experience in the development field.

Penny is a senior consultant with Marts & Lundy, serving a portfolio of clients in higher education. She also leads Marts & Lundy’s talent development service group. Prior to joining Marts & Lundy, Penny was the Vice Chancellor for Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She headed a comprehensive development program that included seventeen schools and units, a central development office, and a comprehensive medical center. She led the campus’ $650 million campaign, which exceeded its goal by $26 million. During Penny’s eight years at UIC, annual new philanthropic commitments more than doubled.
Penny spent thirteen years at Northwestern University, where she directed the university’s $1.5 billion comprehensive campaign. As associate vice president for development, she led Campaign Northwestern to a final total of $1.55 billion, making it one of the most successful campaigns in higher education. While directing the campaign, she also managed the major gift operations of seven schools and the university art museum. In previous assignments at Northwestern, Penny directed the Campaign for Scholarships and managed the university annual giving program.

In her private practice, Penny builds on her tremendous talent and track record of success , coaching exectuives, boards, presidents, deans and other senior leaders, and development staff in successful fundraising.
Penny earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Pomona College , and a Masters of Management with distinction from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern. Penny is a frequent faculty member for CASE, adjunct faculty member at North Park University, and the recipient of the prestigious Steuben Apple for excellence in teaching. Penny’s first book, Development for Academic Leaders: A Practical Guide to Fundraising Success, was published in Fall 2012 and builds on her experience in training deans and presidents about their role in fundraising.
Please join us in honoring Penny and her tremendous contributions to the fundraising profession at the AFP Chicago Awards Luncheon, May 10, 2013. Sponsorships are currently available for the Philanthropy Awards Luncheon. Please click here for more information, and save Friday, May 10th on your calendar.


Allan B. Muchin - Executive Leader Award

Presented for outstanding leadership in the Chicago philanthropic community

Allan Muchin is the Founding Partner of Katten Muchin Roesenman LLP, a full-service law firm with over 600 attorneys, an active Chicago philanthropist and champion for the arts. As former director and regular contributor to the Katten Muchin Rosenman Foundation, Inc., Allan helped set the tone for the firm’s philanthropic efforts and service to more than 300 nonprofits, including many of the area’s leading arts organizations. 

As Chairman Emeritus and former President, CEO, and Board Chair of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Allan helped to strengthen Lyric Opera’s endowment, maintain its reputation for financial solvency and contribute to the city’s cultural resonance. Allan led the Look to the Future campaign, securing $50 million for Lyric’s endowment and co-chaired the Building on Greatness capital campaign to renovate the historic Civic Opera House and ultimately exceeded its $100 million goal. In 2011, Allan received the Carol Fox Award in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the cultural heritage of Chicago through distinguished service to the Lyric Opera.
As a fouding member and board chair of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, Allan helped grow the program from just one campus in 1999 to 12 public high schools in 2012. Allan and his wife Elaine provided the funding for Muchin College Prep, a Noble Campus which opened in 2009 and is one of the top five open enrollment schools in Chicago. In addition to serving as the board chair, Allan co-chairs the $30 million Noble Difference campaign to support Noble’s further expansion.
As a long-serving participant in Chicago’s charitable community, Allan is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Commercial Club of Chicago, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and a former trustee of the Ravinia Music Festival. He has served as a board member of the Joseph Kellman Family Foundation since 2001, and as secretary of JMR Charities, Inc. In addition to his board and civic work, he and his wife have supported the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago and Chicago Public Radio. Allan’s leadership in the legal field and incredible commitment to philanthropy were recognized by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the highest honor AJC bestows upon members of the legal profession which have been voices of understanding and good will.
Please join us in honoring Allan B. Muchin with the Executive Leader Award for outstanding leadership in the Chicago philanthropic community at the AFP Chicago Awards Luncheon, May 10, 2013. Sponsorships are currently available for the Philanthropy Awards Luncheon. Please click here for more information, and save Friday, May 10th on your calendar.


March 2013 eDevelopments 
Featured Honorees 

John and Rita Canning – Distinguished Philanthropists

Honored for their personal commitment to a variety of philanthropic causes

Many people have said: “When you look for the definition of Chicagoland philanthropist, you should see a picture of John and Rita Canning.”

An excerpt from one letter of support submitted on John and Rita’s behalf says:

The Cannings were moved to action in 1994 when a horrific tragedy occurred in the Ida B. Wells housing projects. Two older boys pushed Eric Morse, only 5 years old, from the 14th story of a building because Eric refused to steal candy for them. After hearing this story, John and Rita Canning went to the police station and were directed to Holy Angels School where Eric attended. They immediately set up a scholarship fund for seven students. However, they did not stop there. They extended their generosity to 100 students in elementary and high schools and continue to do so today. In each situation, John personally interviews each student and his/her parent(s) to insure they meet the criteria of no drugs, no alcohol and no trouble—and he maintains contact with them.

While the senseless act of violence that took Eric’s life sent John down one path, it led Rita down another. Rita focused her efforts on violence against women. She wanted to take a hands-on approach by volunteering at a domestic violence shelter close to her home. There was only one problem. There was none. Rita made it her mission to change this and joined the board of Women in Need Growing Stronger (WINGS). The dream of building a domestic violence shelter in northwest Cook County was realized in 2005 when WINGS opened the doors of their Safe House. The Cannings purchased the land and introduced WINGS to many new donors who helped fund the project. To this day, Rita continues to help women and their children escape tragedy by opening the doors to the Safe House. John and Rita host an annual fundraiser at the Safe House that allows women and children to escape violent households.

These are just two examples of the many organizations John and Rita Canning have championed. In each case, they give not only of their wealth, but also of their time, talents, and hearts, without asking for anything in return.

By definition a philanthropist is one who makes an active effort to promote human welfare, and that describes John and Rita’s commitment to nonprofits across Chicago and the suburbs.

AFP Chicago is proud to call John and Rita Canning our 2013 Distinguished Philanthropists.

Kerry and Sarah Wood – Emerging Philanthropists

Presented to an individual, family or family foundation that has generously donated from their personal resources to a variety of philanthropic causes for generally five years or less

Many of you know Kerry Wood as a former pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. What you may not know about Kerry, is that, he and his wife, Sarah have been giving back more than $2.5 million to the Chicago community they love, through the Wood Family Foundation.

Kerry and Sarah Wood are committed to improving the lives of children in and around Chicago. They are advocates for Chicago kids and are dedicated to raising funds and awareness for children’s causes. We, at AFP Chicago, look forward to recognizing Kerry and Sarah Wood as role models in both the philanthropic, and athletic community.

From large-scale ventures, such as the Woods’ $1 million gift to the playroom on the Lurie Children’s Hospital oncology floor, to toy and coat drives every December, they are dedicated to their work in establishing a positive and lasting influence on issues facing our community’s children.

Today, the Wood Family Foundation has found a partner with the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Park District to build the Kerry Wood Cubs Field. Chicago public school baseball teams are currently required to have the playoffs in the suburbs because of inadequate facilities. But Kerry Wood Cubs Field will keep those games within the friendly confines of the city of Chicago. We look forward to hearing more about Kerry and Sarah as they continue their life-time commitment to making an impact in Chicago! 

We are very proud to award Kerry and Sarah Wood AFP’s very first Emerging Philanthropists Award for 2013.

Nathan Pautsch – Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy

Presented to a youth leader or leaders, having demonstrated a significant impact on the Chicago community

An 8-year-old boy, Nathan’s story is best told by his dear friend, Mikayla, who inspired his strong devotion to the fight against childhood cancer. Here is her story:

Hello, my name is Mikayla Sweeney. I am 8 years old and in second grade. This is my very good friend, Nate Pautsch.

I met Nate in pre-school when we were 3 years old. We used to chase each other in the halls before school and have a lot of fun together. I thought he was really cool because he knew Tae Kwan Do.

In our second year of pre-school, I turned 5 and invited Nate to my birthday party. That was the day my Mom figured out something was wrong with me. Two days later, I was at

Children’s Memorial Hospital getting ready to fight for my life. The doctors told me that I had kidney cancer, called Wilms Tumor. I had surgery to remove my kidney and had to stay in the hospital for almost two weeks. When I got out, I started radiation on my tummy. I also had chemotherapy for seven months.

I was very sick and really tired all the time. I missed a lot of pre-school and fun parties. I lost my hair and that was really hard for me. Whenever I would get teased about my hair, I would ask my Mom to call Nate, because he would stick up for me. This is the second time Nate has shaved his head for St. Baldrick’s. It is very important to me because I know a lot of kids who have not survived their cancer, and what he is doing today will help find a cure for childhood cancer. Nate was my friend when I was sick and he is still helping me fight the war against childhood cancer. I wish everyone could have a friend like Nate. Thank you, Nate, and thank you to everyone today who is raising money to help find a cure for kids like me.

Update: In 2012 and 2013, Nathan and Mikayla have teamed up with Downers Grove South students and DGS has invited them to become inspirational speakers at their event where more than 3,000 students gather annually to shave their heads in support of St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity dedicated to finding cures for childhood cancers. In the past two years, Nate has helped the DGS students raise more than $120,000.

Nathan Pautsch has only begun his life of making an active effort to promote human welfare. We invite you to meet Nathan and Mikayla on May 10th as we celebrate Nathan Pautsch as AFP Chicago’s 2013 Youth in Philanthropy. 


February 2013 eDevelopments
Featured Honorees 

Grant Achatz & Nick Kokonas - Outstanding Community Leaders
Presented to individuals for extraordinary leadership or advocacy resulting in significant change for our community

Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas are co-owners of one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the world, Alinea. Acclaimed trailblazers in the field of molecular gastronomy, Achatz and Kokonas have hosted three successful fundraising events at Alinea where guests hear about the latest advances in targeted cancer therapies. These benefits garnered more than $385,000 for the University of Chicago Medical Head and Neck Cancer Programs. Not satisfied with that success, the duo created a completely novel tool to raise funds by hosting a Dutch auction, which raised $390,000 in less than four days for head and neck cancer research.

Their passion for volunteering their time and resources was fueled by Grant’s personal connection with cancer: He was diagnosed with stage IV tongue cancer. As a chef, the thought of losing taste sensation was overwhelming, but he didn’t let it stop him. He faced the disease head on and committed his life to finding a cure by giving generously of his time and sharing his story.

While they have both garnered many professional awards, including “Rising Chef of the Year for 2003,” “Best Chef  in the US” for 2008, and the 2012 “Who’s Who Inductee” from the James Beard Foundation, being honored for their leadership in philanthropy is deeply personal and means the world to Grant and Nick.

Click here to see a video on this honoree.  

They invite you to share the afternoon with them at the AFP Chicago Awards Luncheon on May 10, 2013.


Brad Ballast – Professional Grantor 
Awarded to a corporate or foundation giving officer for his/her professionalism and support to the nonprofit 

Brad Ballast is a leader in Chicago’s corporate philanthropy sphere. Some people just “go to work” each day. Not Brad. While he began a conventional banking career, he has spent the last 16 years of his career helping banks invest in non-profit missions. Brad says, “I quickly realized I would be a much more competent grant maker than banker.” The Chicago philanthropic community is grateful he made that decision.

Brad is a tireless advocate for the causes that are funded and sponsored by BMO Harris. He knows that an investment is a true “win” only when the best interests of both the bank and the non-profit organizations it funds are optimally achieved.

During his free time, he volunteers his time at many Chicago non-profits, including: Center on Halsted, Art Institute of Chicago,Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago United, Illinois Arts Alliance, Donors Forum of Chicago,University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, Lookingglass Theater Company, and the Newberry Library.

Please join us to honor Brad at the AFP Chicago Awards Luncheon, May 10, 2013.

Bob Lee – Outstanding Volunteer
Presented for demonstrated exemplary volunteerism through the dedication of significant personal time, talents, and resources

When Bob Lee turned 57, he redirected his life. Forever a devoted husband, father, grandfather and conscientiously contributing community member, reading the book Tuesdays with Morrie changed Bob’s life. Written by Mitch Albom, the book tells the story of a man dying with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). It was then that Bob committed himself to making a difference for three causes that had powerfully touched his heart and soul: ALS, Cancer and end-of-life care through Hospice.

Over a decade, Bob took three journeys, bicycling more than 12,000 miles around the perimeter of the United States. Bob’s last journey raised over $800,000 and brought awareness of the suffering of others throughout the US.

Bob’s determination, success and peddle power have earned him many distinctions such as: Reese Mates Volunteer of the Year - Barrington Area Special Voices; Citizen of the Year - Barrington Area Dev. Council; Hope Through Caring Award – Les Turner ALS Foundation; Spirit of Hospice Award – National Hospice Foundation; Award of Excellence – Hospice and Palliative Care of Northeastern Illinois. AFP Chicago is proud to show off Bob’s dedication and commitment.

Click here to see a video on this honoree.  

Come meet Bob at our Awards Luncheon on May 10, 2013.

Sponsorships are currently available for the Philanthropy Awards Luncheon.  Please visit us here for more information, and save Friday, May 10th on your calendar.