BUILD's Annual Gala:

BUILD the Future

Friday May 3, 2024

Each year BUILD helps more than 3,200 West Side Chicago youth and families build hope, lives, and futures—disrupting the piepline of gun violence in our city. With services like gang intervention and mental health care, out-of-school camps and college counseling, studio art and sports—we help youth develop the skills and support network they need to overcome barriers, survive, and thrive. Join us to celebrate these incredible young people, and thenpower of investing in peace!

2024 Honorees

BUILD is about the power of community, and each year we honor those who went above and beyond:

Lifetime BUILDer:
John A. Nitschke

Philanthropy BUILDer:
Austin Fresh

Corporate Community BUILDer:
Chicago Bears

2024 Gala Moments

On May 3, 2024, hundreds of friends and supporters gathered at The Geraghty to celebrate the power and resilience of BUILD youth. We honored John Nitschke for his decades of service with the Lifetime BUILDer Award, and youth speakers Mario and Hillary shared their own powerful stories of persistence. BUILD’s Director of Intervention, Angella Roberts-Smith, recounted her life growing up on Chicago’s West Side and how it prepared advocacy work for Chicago’s youth. 


We celebrated these lives and raised $840,000 unrestricted for BUILD’s greatest needs. Thank you to the whole community!

Hear BUILD Youth Voices tell their stories

Youth Speaker: Damario, age 18
"I hope my journey can be a testament to the power of resilience and determination. It's a reminder that with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible. Today I stand before you not just as a BUILDer, but as an example that you can have the future you want."

Youth Speaker:
Hillary, age 17
 "Not all youth get a second family as good as BUILD! I want to thank my parents, my friends, and BUILD for helping me reconnect with the confident entrepreneur I always was - and will continue to be in the future."

Staff Address: Angella Roberts-Smith

Angella Roberts-Smith, BUILD’s Director of Intervention, is the first-ever woman, and Black woman, to serve in the position. Having started BUILD in 2010 as a street Intervention Specialist, she quickly pieces of her own story in many of the youth BUILD serves.

“I could relate to these teens, and it was because I was these teens.”

Like many of the youth she advocates for, Angella grew up on the West Side in a heavily gang involved family. While other kids spent their weekends at the park or with their peers, Angella was visiting prisons to see her father, grandfather, uncles and eventually her brothers.

Listen to her full story of resilience and perseverance here.


City BUILDer: Event Sponsor
Chicago Bears & Bears Care
Dr. Scholl Foundation


Neighborhood BUILDers
The Sheba Foundation / Lavin Family
One Chicago Fund

School BUILDers

Breakthru Beverage
Kribi Coffee
McShane Construction
One Chicago Fund
Bill & Meg Hayes
Bruce & Laurie Kaden
John Nitschke & Jean McLaren
Bud & Diane Schwarzbach
Avy & Marcie Stein
John & Sue Wilson


Block BUILDers
Ariel Investments
Comcast NBCUniversal
William Bauer & Patricia Spratt


Youth BUILDers

Austin Fresh
Benford Protections Services
BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois
Healthy Communities Foundation
Lathrop, GPM
Micro-Tech USA
PREMIER Design + Build Group
Plante Moran
Steve Abbey & Pamela Brick
Adam & Lorena Alonso
Joanna & Daniel Arras
Luke & Regina Bakalar
Aaron & Shannel Clubb
Matt Fisher
Michael Kerrigan & Leila Whitley Kerrigan
Rodrigo & Pamela Levy
Raymond Rushing
Siobhan Sanders
Brooke & David Sloane
Jack Segal & Michael Halberstam
Jeanne Wrenn