Above / DuPage Children’s Museum President/CEO Sarah Orleans, DCM Board President David Carpenter, Molex CEO Martin Slark, and ABC7 Prime-time Anchor and gala emcee Judy Hsu connected with 350 supporters who helped raise more $500,000 for the DuPage Children’s Museum.

Gala celebrates first 30 years of “Mission in Motion.”

The Big Red Door welcomes families to the DuPage Children’s Museum at 301 N. Washington St.

What has made DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM) so unique and beloved, as well as viewed as a national treasure and leader in the early learning landscape, was evidenced on June 17, when nearly 350 Chicagoland supporters came together to celebrate 30 years of “Mission in Motion.” The black tie optional Benefit Ball not only serves as a celebration for DCM and its mission, but is also the top fundraiser for the Museum, a nonprofit, which depends on donations and grants to cover a large portion of its operating budget.

Taking place in the Embassy Suites Naperville Chicago, DCM’s 30th Birthday Benefit Ball raised over $500,000. While introducing new donors to the Museum, it also made it a priority to acknowledge some of its earliest supporters, past board directors and board chairs, long-time volunteers, and sponsors.

The recent passing of Museum co-founder Louise Beem was acknowledged, as her legacy, along with that of late co-founder Dorothy Carpenter, was celebrated with vignettes of images over their 30-year history. The acknowledgement was enhanced by a stunning opening performance by singer Erika Nyberg, who as a child played in the Museum. Among those in the room who had have come to love and support DCM were the late co-founders’ adult children, David Carpenter and Mark Beem.

“I am so fortunate to have had the privilege of meeting and working with Louise Beem. When we think about how quickly 30 years fly by when raising a child, getting to this day for the Museum seems equally life transforming – we’re all grown up and ready to take on new and exciting challenges. This amazing institution continues to be a nationally renowned leader in early learning. Thank you for assuring us that you believe in the work we’ve done, are doing, and will continue to do as we help support our youngest learners and future innovators,” said Sarah Orleans, DCM’s President and CEO.

The weight of the evening’s significance and the impact DCM has on the millions of families it continues to reach were captured in the remarks of the 2017 Great Friend to Kids Award recipient, CEO of Molex, Martin Slark.

“I’d like to talk to you about a DCM initiative that is of special interest to me, the Family Night Out program. It offers a calmer, less overwhelming environment for families to help reduce stress, giving them an opportunity to really enjoy the Museum and its activities. Our family has a great deal of empathy for children with learning differences and the challenges families face. Special events such as Family Night Out need the support of corporate and individual donors. That’s why my wife, Cathy, and I will fund the cost of the next Family Night Out. It is a great way to help DCM support special needs children and their families,” said Slark.

Molex, which was founded in the western suburbs more than 75 years ago with just 5 employees, today has 45 thousand employees in 40 countries. The global headquarters is on a 40-acre campus in nearby Lisle with additional facilities in Naperville, Downers Grove, and Bolingbrook. Molex (a subsidiary of Koch Industries) is a globally recognized provider of electronic solutions in a wide range of industries.

“Molex and its leadership have been visionary supporters of the Museum throughout our 30 year history. In our earlier days, Fred Krehbiel, a grandson of Molex’s founder, was one of the first to understand the value of Louise Beem and my mother’s vision for a different kind of children’s museum, and Fred made critical investments in what has paid off in a huge way and has been instrumental in all the Museum has accomplished ever since,” said David Carpenter, DCM’s Board Chairman.

Thanks to Emcee, Honorary Co-Chairs, Sponsors

Julie Chirico, Kristy Brizinsky and Dr. Cathy Subber.

Judy Hsu, nationally acclaimed and Emmy award-winning journalist and ABC7 prime-time anchor, was the emcee of the evening, which included a silent auction, delicious dinner, live auction, and special recognition of Honorary Benefit Ball Committee Co-Chairs Julie Chirico and Cathy Subber. Dessert and dancing concluded the evening with live music provided by Fantasia Band.

DCM would like to thank “Mission in Motion” 2017 Benefit Ball sponsors: Ronald L. McDaniel Foundation, the Dover Foundation, Exelon, Molex, Nicor Gas, PNC Bank, Sidley, GCM Grosvenor, Michael & Denise Mikula, Northern Trust, Allstate, BBM Incorporated, BMO Harris Bank, Capital One, Graycor Construction Company, INTREN, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, SAP Fieldglass.

DuPage Children’s Museum

The Museum helps develop curiosity, creativity, thinking, and problem solving in young children through its mission: “DuPage Children’s Museum ignites the potential of all children to learn through hands-on exploration by integrating art, math, and science.” Interactive exhibits and programs make learning fun for children and adults playing together. DCM serves over 300,000 visitors annually representing all 50 states and 575 zip codes just in Illinois. DCM’s reach and support represent well beyond the Chicagoland area. The Museum’s impact extends across cultural, financial, and educational boundaries. It touches the lives of children from all regions, providing the building blocks for success in school and life.

The DuPage Children’s Museum is located at 301 N. Washington Street in Naperville, www.dupagechildrens.org or call (630) 637-8000.

Story and photos submitted by Dee Dee McDevitt, Director of Marketing & Sales, for the DuPage Children’s Museum.