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$1 Million Challenge Grant Announced

The impact of local nonprofit SGA will be made stronger in the coming year, thanks to the Building on Promise Challenge Grant announced at the agency’s Annual Benefit Dinner on Thursday, May 4, 2017.

Made possible by the Joseph Pedott Family Fund, this new grant is a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $1 Million, for all new and increased gifts to SGA made by May 4, 2018. Through this generous gift, SGA will be empowered to expand its services for Chicago’s most vulnerable children, youth and families through its cradle to career programs.

For Chicago-native Joe Pedott, founder of Chia Pet and The Clapper, this grant is personal. “I’ll never forget how, at 16 years old, I left home. I was sleeping on a cot and living off of a hot plate. A friend found me and told me about SGA. I started meeting with a counselor—someone who I could tell my grief, my problems, my frustrations. Someone who could guide me. I will never forget where I came from. SGA was my life line and continues to be a lifeline to youth living in Chicago’s most impoverished neighborhoods.”

With more than $500,000 raised at the May 4 Benefit, a portion of which will be matched by the grant, SGA is off to a strong start towards reaching its goal of raising the full $1 Million. Gifts may be made online at or by calling 312-447-4353.

Dr. Bruce Perry, a leader in children’s neuroscience and keynote speaker at the agency’s Benefit, spoke on the importance of interpersonal relationships in the healthy development of an individual and society. He closed by saying, “Relationships are ultimately the glue that makes businesses work, that makes education work, that makes mental health work, that makes family work, that makes community work. SGA creates integrated, relationally-based programs. It’s about building and maintaining enduring, meaningful relationships—and this organization is doing just that. Investing in SGA is a smart choice, not just a good choice.”

Terry Mazany, President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, was recognized at the Benefit with the Jean S. Meltzer Award for his outstanding contributions to the betterment of Chicago-area children, youth and families. In his acceptance speech, Mazany said, “During the course of my career, there are certain organizations that deeply touch my heart, because they touch the hearts of so many others in such a humane and caring, respectful and dignified way. SGA embodies the spirit of Chicago.”

"Building on Promise" Annual Benefit

On Thursday, May 4, 2017, SGA hosted its Annual Benefit dinner at The Four Seasons, Chicago. Our most successful fundraiser to date, the Benefit featured keynote speaker Dr. Bruce Perry and Master of Ceremonies Derrick Young of CBS 2. Terry Mazany, President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, was honored with the Jean S. Meltzer Award. The Founders Award was given to philanthropist and entrepreneur Mark Stone. The inaugural Joseph Pedott Youth Leadership Award recognized Ibukunoluwa Shodiya, a participant in SGA's youth leadership programs, for her resilience and consistent leadership. View our Facebook photo gallery.

This year’s theme, “Building on Promise,” speaks to the hope we have for our city, the potential each of us has to make a difference and to the shared promise made by SGA and its supporters to find innovative ways to create lasting positive change throughout our City. In that vein, the Joseph Pedott Famly Fund announced a new, dollar-for-dollar challenge match, up to $1 Million, for all new and increased gifts made from May 4, 2017 to May 5, 2018. In response, supporters at this year's event raised more than $500,000! Give now.

Roger and Susan Stone Family Foundation
Karen and Matthew Kaplan
Susan and Donald Belgrad
Victoria and Robert Noonan
Joseph Pedott Family Fund

Rachel and Neal Seltzer
Nanette Bufalino
Peggy and James Swartchild
Community Savings Bank
Andy and Amy Gelman
John Goodman and Julie Hanna
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC

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