ASM’s Annual Gala Raises $2.6 Million Towards Empowering Chicago Teens 

In an inspiring display of community support and dedication to the future of Chicago’s teens, After School Matters’ Gala raised nearly $2.6 million towards ASM programming. The annual Gala and funds raised yearly are a testament to the commitment of ASM and their community to supporting opportunities for young people across the city. 

ASM’s Gala brought together prominent members of the Chicago community, philanthropists, and civic and business leaders in support of Chicago teens. More than 370 guests came together for vibrant performances, inspiring speeches, and a shared determination to support young people on Thursday, September 28, at Navy Pier’s Offshore Rooftop.  

Dance performances by Les Enfants and musical performances by the Mariachi Ensemble at Jaurez High School and the Chicago West Business of Music program delighted Gala goers. At the same time, interactive “Teens in Action” displays around the venue allowed young people to show off their work in programs such as Welding, Digital Photography, and Emergency Medical Responders. 

DJ John Simmons kept the fun going all night on the turntables, and Paulina Roe, iHeartRadio’s On-Air Personality, emceed the speaking program along with our talented teen Malachi from Gallery 37’s Youth Leadership Council Program. The evening included brief remarks from Mary Ellen Caron, After School Matters CEO, and Mayor Brandon Johnson. The evening was topped off with beautiful panoramic views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan. 

“After School Matters is a model program in our city that gives our youth hope and opportunity, and the belief that they can follow dreams and achieve great heights beyond their communities,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “But at the same time, ASM embodies the best our communities have to offer, which is our young people, and is a vital partner in helping them grow and fulfill their vision year after year.” 

The Gala was presented by ASM’s Board of Directors with GCM Grosvenor, Mr. David Herro and Mr. Jay Franke, and Hobson Lucas Family Foundation as Visionary Sponsors.  

“We see firsthand the crucial role After School Matters plays in the lives of our teens every day. Providing engaging programs, in safe spaces throughout the city, offers them empowering choices at an important age,” said After School Matters CEO Mary Ellen Caron. “After serving more than 400,000 teens over the past three decades, After School Matters is a key partner in ensuring equitable access to opportunity to all teens in every zip code in Chicago. We are incredibly grateful to have such a dedicated community who appreciates our role and supports After School Matters year after year. Financially supporting programs like ours is integral to ensure we continue to offer Chicago teens the opportunity to shape bright, productive futures for themselves – and our city.” 

ASM’s gift shop hosted multiple pop-up stations at which attendees were able to purchase teen-created artwork, jewelry, and furniture. Additional teen works are available at the After School Matters Gift Shop, located online and at 66 E. Randolph Street. All proceeds support ASM teens and programs. 

Thank you to all our staff, donors, sponsors, and guests who helped make our Gala successful. It was truly a night to remember!   

If you’re interested in giving back to Chicago teens, donate here.