Above / Chris Crane, President and CEO, Exelon Corporation; Melvin D. Williams, President of Nicor Gas and Honorary Chair & Award Recipient; Sarah Orleans, President and CEO, DCM; David W. Carpenter, DCM Chairman of the Board, Partner, Sidley Austin; Judy Hsu, ABC7 news anchor and emcee participated in the success of the annual fundraising ball.

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The DuPage Children’s Museum creates a bright spot for kids at 301 N. Washington St. (PN Photo)

DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM) hosted 2016 Benefit Ball: Lift Up, its annual fundraising event, on Saturday, April 9, 2016, at Embassy Suites Hilton in Naperville.

The black tie benefit was an uplifting evening of live entertainment, silent and live auctions, and special honorees, with Judy Hsu, ABC7 news anchor, returning as the event’s emcee.

The annual benefit ball is the top fundraiser for the nonprofit, which depends on donations and grants to sustain the fiscal vitality and innovative programs of the Museum. The Grand sponsor was the Ronald L. McDaniel Foundation. This year’s event raised $544,000.

Nearly 400 guests experienced the evening celebration to Lift Up the importance of S.T.E.A.M. education. This major fundraiser significantly impacts DCM’s goal to make DCM accessible to all children regardless of economic, physical, or social barriers. Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math – S.T.E.A.M. –  is vital to the future of our children. The Museum provides the building blocks to start shaping a strong foundation that lifts up young learners for lifelong success.

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Above / Greeted by Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico and his wife, Julie, attendees experienced an uplifting evening focused on early learning opportunities available at the DuPage Children’s Museum. The Museum is located at 301 N. Washington Street in the heart of Naperville. (Photo courtesy DCM)

One of the most important highlights of the evening included the presentation of the Great Friend to Kids Award, a national effort embraced by children’s museums across the country to honor those who have made significant contributions to enriching lives of children. Chris Crane, President and CEO, Exelon Corporation, DCM’s first ever award recipient, presented the award to this year’s recipient, Melvin D. Williams, President of Nicor Gas and this year’s Honorary Chair of the 2016 Benefit Ball: Lift Up. Nicor Gas has been a longtime supporter of DCM.

Melvin D. Williams is a champion for diversity and inclusion-related issues and serves on AGL Resources’ LEAD (Leadership, Empowerment, Acceptance, and Diversity) council. Williams is on the board of directors for United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, and AGL Resources Foundation. Williams actively supports numerous community and youth organizations and is passionate about charitable causes that positively impact communities.

“I am honored to receive such a meaningful award,” said Mr.  Williams. “The focus the Museum places on early childhood education – particularly in the areas of math and science – is helping the energy sector prepare the next generation of industry experts.”

“Investment in young children’s early learning is an investment in our future. We thank each and every one of you for the support and incredible generosity,” said President and CEO of DuPage Children’s Museum, Sarah Orleans, at the benefit.

News and photos courtesy of Dee Dee McDevitt, Director of Marketing and Sales, for DuPage Children’s Museum.