Graduates' Luncheon



Hilton Chicago

720 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago, IL , 60605 (map)
Hilton Chicago720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago,IL, United States, 60605

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Thank you for joining us for the 13th annual Graduates’ Luncheon! The event was a resounding success, due in no small part to your generous involvement. We look forward to seeing you next year. 

Every year, the Leader Council of Mercy Home gathers with noted community and business leaders at a luncheon to honor the accomplishments of Mercy Home’s student graduates. Now in its 13th year, the Graduates Luncheon raises critical funds to support our kids’ continued educations, and is a remarkable opportunity to celebrate the commitment our young people have made to realize their academic potential.

The Graduates’ Luncheon is a unique Chicago event that features an address by a Mercy Home graduate, in addition to a featured keynote speaker. This year’s event welcomed keynote Speaker Chris Gardner, Entrepreneur, Author, Philanthropist and CEO of HAPPYNESS. Past notables include the President of Ariel Investments, Mellody Hobson; bestselling author, Elizabeth Berg; celebrity chef, Charlie Trotter; architect and MacArthur genius grant winner, Jeanne Gang; author and filmmaker, Alex Kotlowitz; Chief Diversity Officer and Divisional Vice-President, Walgreens, Steve Pemberton.

The luncheon is the culmination of the Leader Council’s work year round to improve educational opportunities for young people at Mercy Home. 

Questions?  Please contact Jenny Giudici at (312) 738-9592.  

Chris GardnerChris Gardner is an Entrepreneur, Author, Philanthropist, and single parent whose work has been recognized by many esteemed organization.
Gardner is the author of the 2006 autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness, a New York Times and Washington Post #1 bestseller that has been translated into over forty languages. Gardner is also the inspiration for the acclaimed movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” for which Will Smith, starring as Gardner, received Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award nominations for his performance. Gardner’s second bestselling book, Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, was published in May 2009.
In the fall of 2010, Gardner was named the Ambassador of Pursuit and Happyness for AARP, which has nearly 40 million members worldwide.
Always hard working and tenacious, a series of adverse circumstances in the early 1980’s left Gardner homeless in San Francisco and the sole guardian of his toddler son. Unwilling to give up Chris Jr. or his dreams of success, Gardner climbed the financial industry ladder from the very bottom. He worked at Dean Witter Reynolds and Bear Stearns & Co before founding the brokerage firm Gardner Rich in Chicago in 1987.
Chris Gardner’s aim, through his speaking engagements and media projects, is to help others achieve their full potential. He is a passionate philanthropist committed to organizations combating violence against women, homelessness, financial illiteracy and providing access to medical care and treatment; issues of the utmost importance to Gardner.
He lives in Chicago.

Special thank you to our donors:

Michael Leon   Philip H. Corboy Foundation   Ernie and Pam Codilis

View photos from the event (click to view all)

Contact us about Graduates' Luncheon

Contact us about Graduates' Luncheon

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