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Face the Future Foundation Gala “Flappers, Fedoras and All That Jazz”

Roaring into the 21st Century “Flappers, Fedoras and All That Jazz” brought back the glitz and glam of the 1920’s when the Face the Future Foundation held its annual gala at the Four Seasons Hotel on March 9th.

Guests dressed to the nines  – dames in feathered headbands, pearl strands, boas, fringe dresses and t-strap shoes while guys donned fedoras, suspenders, bowties and vests.  A couple of pinstripe suits had you wondering when Al Capone would show up.

Lively, energetic music played during the reception while the crowd whet their appetites on fancy cocktails and canapés. Many placed their bets on silent auction items before heading to the backroom casino, Jimmy’s Place, where the liquor flowed (no bathtub gin in this joint, only the good stuff) and guests rolled the dice at Craps or opted for Blackjack and Roulette.

Co-chairs, Mary Genet and Michael Judge, and Honorary Chair Chicago Bear, Israel “Izzy” Idonije worked the room chatting up guests. Also making the rounds were Dr Mimis Cohen, Professor and Chief Divisions of Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery UIC College of Medicine and Director of the Craniofacial Center and his wife Andrea Biel Cohen who was instrumental in starting the Foundation, UIC Chancellor Dr Paula Allen-Meares, Dr Joe «Skip» Garcia, Vice President for Health Affairs, Dr Dimitri Azar, Dean of the UIC College of Medicine and Dr Enrico Benedetti Professor and Head Department of Surgery UIC.

Too soon it was time for dinner and everyone slowly — some reluctantly leaving the gaming tables — made their way into the Grand Ballroom where the Stanley Paul Orchestra played the fast-paced tunes of the 20’s.

Dinner, conceptualized by FFF board member Heinz Kern, was a mouth-watering meal starting with a celeriac soup topped with a truffle crostini, pistachio crusted chicken breast in a chardonnay sauce with faro with herbs and cranberries and grilled asparagus, and a decadent dessert of caramel toffee chocolate mousse with caramel cream, crispy toffee and coffee anglaise.

Dancers shimmied onto the dance floor between courses, kicking up their heels to the Foxtrot, Charleston and popular jazz tunes while others table hopped to say hello to friends.

Dr. Sandra Goldberg of NBC 5 Chicago was the evening emcee and introduced Foundation President Gus Abello to the podium. He spoke about the work and mission of the Foundation and presented the President’s Award to Jim Staples for his fundraising efforts and support of the Foundation.

Then it was time for the always spectacular live auction which included the following; a week in a Tuscan Villa for up to 12 people with a private chef, a Venice/Paris excursion of 11 days/10 nights with two nights in Venice, then overnight on the Orient Express to enjoy a full week in a luxurious Paris apartment; an idyllic escape to Virgin Gorda, BVI and spend a week at Bitter End Yacht Club; or add Polynesian flair to a romantic getaway in the South Pacific on a Tahitian Cruise aboard the small luxury ship m/s/ Paul Gauguin; a Wine Cellar with over 100 bottles of premium wines and champagne and more. The live auction raised over $100,000 with another $60,000 in revenue coming from the Paddle Raise. Event proceeds topped $340,000.

After the auction the Stanley Paul Orchestra kicked it up to a modern vibe and dancers filled the floor while other guests continued to stake out their silent auction bids before closing. All in all, when it comes to great events in Chicago, this one really was the Cat’s Meow.

The lead sponsor for this year’s gala was BMO Harris Bank and media sponsor was Michigan Avenue magazine.  Many other donors supported the gala through their generous donations.

The Face the Future Foundation is a 501c3 which supports the work of The Craniofacial Center at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago.  The Foundation raises funds and public awareness to support the care and treatment of children born with cleft lip, palate and other craniofacial abnormalities. The Center at UIC is one of the oldest and largest facilities of its kind in the USA.  http://www.facethefuturefoundation.org/

Margaret J O’Connor for Kontinent Media
Photos by Jon Recana

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