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Saturday, September 30, 2023

DuPage Children’s Museum annual benefit ball exceeds expectations


Dupage Children’s Museum virtual Play Soiree continued to increase awareness to make a difference for early learning. For instance, Daisy and friends play in the Wind Tunnel at DuPage Children’s Museum. Team Daisy raised $430 for DuPage Children’s Museum in support of the Power to Play.

DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM) hosted its annual Benefit Ball on June 20, 2020. Although supporters were unable to gather in person to celebrate DCM’s work, the virtual Peer-to-Peer platform increased awareness of the Museum’s message and provided non-traditional gala audiences an opportunity to support the organization. With more than 14,500 social media impressions recorded by the Peer-to-Peer platform in 21 days, the total number of event donors increased 35 percent. Total giving exceeded expectations by $60,000.

Annually, this press release that follows the benefit recognizes the 400-plus philanthropists in attendance at the Benefit Ball. This year, however, DCM wants to emphasize that philanthropy is a mindset – not necessarily dictated by one’s net worth; rather, philanthropy promotes the values of caring, advocacy and generosity. Benefit Ball 2020 engaged new donors with those shared values— museum patrons.

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“People who love the museum came through for us during this event because we made it accessible to everyone,” said Museum Chief of Development, Renee Miklosik. “Every gift made a difference.”

One of the most endearing Peer-to-Peer fundraising efforts was led by Team Daisy, an elementary school student who has spent many hours exploring her own curiosity and creativity in The Studio at DCM. Daisy started her own team with $25 and attracted another 14 donors whose donations totaled $430.

Proud mom, Amy Montalbano explained, “Since the Play Soiree was virtual this year, my nine-year-old daughter, Daisy, was able to participate. We got to bid on auction items and buy raffle tickets together – something Daisy always missed out on because she was too young to attend the gala. This year she was right in the middle of the action! Actually our whole family and friends got to be involved because we started Team Daisy as part of the peer-to-peer campaign. Daisy and her classmates frequent DCM; so, we thought some of those friends might help us support the museum through our team. We are so proud to support the Power of Play!”

The Play Soirée began with a video message from the Museum’s most invested constituents – children.

The Greiner family, Brian and Ashley with daughters, Evelyn (3) and Eloise (1) play to learn at home with Museum Delivered exhibits.

 “All children must have access to quality early learning through play. Providing access takes the same level of intentionality that we put into our experiences at the museum,” stated DuPage Children’s Museum CEO Andrea Wiles. “It means removing barriers, creating pathways, partnering within communities, and most of all, ensuring that all families and their children feel a sense of welcoming and belonging.”

Because of the virtual nature of this fundraiser, more people had access to participate in this year’s Play Soirée, creating a pathway to learn more about the Museum’s advocacy for quality early learning to support healthy child development in homes, communities and schools. 

“Children reach their full unique learning potential through play,” said Wiles. “Play accelerates a child’s brain development while defining and building their social being. Play also serves as an anchor of family interactions and supports building the crucial relationships that will shape our children’s entire lives.”

Emcee Larry Mowry took a few moments to connect with Zoom callers who had DCM’s portable exhibits in their homes. Seeing children at play surrounded by caring adults, illuminated the power of play. Wiles noted, “Museum experiences and interactives support family engagement and inspire the curiosity that drives exploration, creativity and learning.” Those playful experiences were also the very moments when audience engagement exploded, fueling robust donations through the annual paddle raise.

2020 Great Friend to Kids Award

During the event, DCM recognized Theresa Hawley, Illinois’ First Assistant Deputy Governor, Education as the 2020 Great Friend to Kids Award recipient. Annually, the Museum honors exceptional individuals who have demonstrated a genuine commitment to all children through their work and giving.

“As someone who has worked for decades in early childhood in our county and state,” Hawley said, “I have been so appreciative of how the Museum has grown and developed. In addition to welcoming families to its world-class facility, the staff have intentionally gone far beyond their walls to meet children and their families wherever they are.” Watch her acceptance speech here.

DCM closed its doors to the public on March 13

“We look forward to the day when it is safe and comfortable for our families and staff to gather again. Meanwhile, like childhood, we are not on pause. A new sense of urgency drives extending our impact,” said Wiles. Museum staff continue to produce and curate interactive content shared virtually through Play to Learn at Home programming. Wiles shared, “We have a big vision and lots of work to do to reach it. It is work that can only be accomplished through creativity, curiosity, collaboration and community. Together we will emerge from this historic time stronger than ever.”

In addition to the individual donors who contributed to the Benefit Ball, DCM would like to extend sincere appreciation to sponsors who supported this event: Ron L. McDaniel Foundation, Exelon, Molex, PNC, McCormick Foundation, Bulley & Andrews, and Media Sponsor ABC 7 Chicago. Their generous gifts and continued support of DCM’s mission and vision advance quality early learning so that all children reach their full unique learning potential through hands-on play.

Keep the Play Growing

Have high hopes that the big red door soon will welcome all ages to the DuPage Children’s Museum, located at 301 N. Washington Street in Naperville.

To make a gift to Keep the Play Growing at DuPage Children’s Museum, please visit https://dupagechildrens.org/give/ or contact DCM Chief of Development, Renee Miklosik at 630.637.8000 x2400 or via email at rmiklosik@dupagechildrensmuseum.org.

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.


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