Mercy Home for Boys & Girls upped the ante on another fundraising success at the seventh annual Mercy Home Poker Night at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse on January 23. Thanks to the generous support of all those who attended, along with our sponsors, at-risk kids in Chicagoland can beat the odds, even when the deck is stacked against them.
The sold-out event featured 210 poker players vying for the top prize: a seat at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas or a Rolex watch. Guests also enjoyed blackjack tables, various raffles, spirits by Diageo, beer by Chicago Beverage, and a handsome buffet of Gibsons’ signature dishes.
Prior to the Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament, Mercy Home President & CEO Father Scott Donahue addressed the capacity crowd as he described the strength of Mercy Home’s network of care
“When a young person starts to really get why they’re at [Mercy Home] … once they trust in our Home, miracles start to happen,” he said. “We really create a family environment for these young people who feel cared for; who learn the lessons of life and address the trauma they’ve experienced. They come to know themselves and they go out and become productive citizens. That really is the goal of Mercy Home.”
“When a young person starts to really get why they’re at [Mercy Home] … once they trust in our Home, miracles start to happen,”
– Father Scott Donahue, Mercy Home President & CEO
Poker Night began after Mercy Home board member Peter Argianas, Chairman, President, and CEO of Gold Coast Bank, approached the Home about creating a new fundraising event for the Home that leveraged the popularity of Texas Hold ‘Em style poker. Since the first hand was dealt in 2014, interest in Mercy Home’s Poker Night event has snowballed, seeing larger crowds year after year.
Two big ingredients in the secret sauce to this success are the venue and the timing. Rita McGovern, Mercy Home’s Director of Affiliated Constituencies helped organize the first event and said that the idea of enjoying a night out at one of Chicago’s great restaurants has been a bright spot for guests during the coldest and darkest stretch of winter in Chicago. “It’s scheduled just far away enough from the holidays that people are looking for something fun to do, to get out and maybe shake off that cabin fever,” McGovern said. “And Gibsons’ great food, location, and ambiance really draw people to this event. And of course, so does the important cause that it supports.”
Mercy Home Poker Night is not only a successful fundraiser, it also helps introduce new friends to work of Mercy Home. Public service announcements on Chicago sports talk radio station 670 The Score help get the word out year after year that Mercy Home’s Poker Night is the place to be. In addition, the outing gives long-time supporters of the Home the chance to enjoy one another’s company.
The event is one of Mercy Home’s most successful fundraisers because of board members, guests, and many generous sponsors, including Gold Coast Bank, Gurtz Electric, Walsh Construction, Rivers Casino, Cavanagh Law Group, Clarius Partners, Long Grove Confectionery, 670 The Score, Diageo, and Chicago Beverage.