50th Annual Gala Was a Night to Remember

It was a record-breaking evening at BUILD’s 50th Annual Gala on Friday May 3 – we raised $1,061,970, the most in the history of the event. The milestone celebration was held at Navy Pier’s Aon Grand Ballroom, and all proceeds will go towards supporting BUILD’s youth programs.

During the dinner, BUILD youth dazzled the audience with spectacular performances. Several youth participants also delivered powerful speeches about the impact the organization has had on their lives. One boy shared his experience of being caught in the crossfire of Chicago’s gun violence. After being shot, he credited his mentors at BUILD for helping him resist the temptation to retaliate. He also shared how college visits with BUILD have inspired him to pursue his education.

Generations of BUILD youth, staff, and supporters were in attendance, and several awards were presented throughout the evening. The Target Corporation received BUILD’s Corporate Angel of the Year Award for their generous support. Christine and John Bakalar were honored with the Lifetime BUILDer Award for their decades of dedication to BUILD. And the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation was recognized for their support and recent $1 million grant to the organization.

“Fifty years of impact doesn’t come easy, and while Friday’s was a milestone to remember – our best achievements are yet to come,” said BUILD CEO Adam Alonso.

“We look to the future with excitement as we continue to grow and strengthen our programs to become an even brighter beacon of hope on Chicago’s West Side.”


On behalf of BUILD’s board, staff, and youth, a sincere thank you for making our 50th Gala Celebration truly memorable!


Check out the photos from our 50th Annual Gala!

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