Record-Breaking Future of Promise Fundraiser Tops $600,000

March 5, 2018 | Chicago, IL

Erie Neighborhood House raised more than $600,000 last Thursday, March 1, an unprecedented amount for its annual Future of Promise | Futuro de Promesa awards dinner.

“We were completely overwhelmed by the level of support our partners showed us tonight,” said executive director Kirstin Chernawsky. “Their generosity directly impacts our capacity to reach folks in our community with programs that educate and empower.”

STEM initiatives at Erie House took center stage during the event, hosted at the Radisson Blu Aqua and co-chaired by ComEd president and CEO Anne Pramaggiore and PNC Illinois president Scott Swanson.

“We cannot thank Anne and Scott enough,” said Chernawsky. “Their respective teams at ComEd and PNC did such a phenomenal job advocating for Erie House and bringing other partners to the event.”

More than 550 guests attended the event, including numerous public officials, nonprofit executives and leaders within the business community. Most notable among them was US Senator Dick Durbin, co-author of the bipartisan Dream Act and an ally of the immigrant community at large.

The highlight of the evening came when Alex Román, a graduate of the agency’s YOU program, shared his story of finding Erie House after moving with his mother from Puerto Rico to Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood at age 12.

As chronicled in a short film produced by Melissa Fox of Fig Media, Román was able to gain confidence at Erie House as he strived to learn English, develop friendships and nurture growing interests in art and science. Today he works as an electrical engineer at Solberg Manufacturing, where he is the youngest member of his team and an emblem of possibility for Latinx youth interested in pursuing a career in STEM.

Alex Roman
Alex Román addresses an audience of more than 550 people at the Erie Neighborhood House Future of Promise awards dinner on Thursday, March 1. PHOTO BY MIGUEL ZUNO, ZUNO PHOTOGRAPHY

“We are so proud of Alex and what he has accomplished so far,” said Maria Muñoz, assistant director of the YOU program at Erie House. “Latinos and people of color are underrepresented in STEM fields, but seeing Alex succeed encourages us to keep providing the support our students need to pursue a career in STEM.”

The awards portion of the evening recognized the contributions of three valued partners in the work Erie House does on a daily basis: Peoples Gas (Corporate Impact Award, accepted by president and CEO Charles Matthews); HBK Engineering (Community Innovator Award, accepted by CEO Ron Kaminski); and Allstate Insurance Company (Diversity and Inclusion Award, accepted by senior vice president Cheryl Harris).

The Diversity and Inclusion Award was a first for the awards dinner but one that Erie House, who launched a Diversity and Inclusion Council in 2017, aims to keep as a mainstay at the event.

“We want to ensure that Erie House continues striving to welcome every voice in the work we are doing,” explained Chernawsky. “Allstate has been a valuable model and partner in that effort, so we were thrilled to be able to present them with our first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Award.”

Peoples Gas, HBK and Allstate all signed on as Ingenuity sponsors for the event alongside Wintrust and Goose Island Beer Co. founder and former Erie House board member John Hall and his wife, Patricia.

The date and location for next year’s Future of Promise dinner are still to be announced. For more information on Erie House and its programs, please visit


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