The Y. So Much More Recognition Dinner Raises More Than $1 Million for the 5th Consecutive Year

October 29, 2018


More than 400 enthusiastic supporters came together for the fifth annual The Y. So Much More™ Recognition Dinner on October 25, raising more than $1.3 million for Chicago children and families - a record-breaking year."

More than 400 enthusiastic supporters came together for the fifth annual The Y. So Much More™ Recognition Dinner on October 25, raising more than $1.3 million for Chicago children and families - a record-breaking year. Click here to view more photos from the event, which was held at Morgan Manufacturing.

Emceed by YMCA Camp Independence’s own Emma Nockels, the Recognition Dinner showcased the importance of access to quality education for all children. Drawing from her own time as a camper at Camp Duncan, Emma also shared the way in which the Y impacted her own life, demonstrating the power of the YMCA’s camp programs to build character and create brighter futures for our kids.

“I could not tell you what it was like to meet another kid with type one diabetes, let alone be surrounded by them. Camp Duncan gave me the opportunity to enjoy camp and life without even worrying about my disease.” - Emma Nockels, Camp Independence

The dinner also featured a video highlighting the experiences of three individuals whose lives have also been transformed by the YMCA—Kim Foxx (Cook County State’s Attorney), Nisma Castaneda (Membership Experience Director, Rauner Family & West Communities YMCAs), and Tom Miers (Metro Board of Managers and Naperville YMCA Board Member). Though the way in which the Y has impacted their lives differs significantly, Kim, Nisma, and Tom each expressed immense gratitude for the influence the Y has had on their lives. Furthermore, they emphasized the importance of the Y remaining as a community staple to empower people from all walks of life for many years to come.

“The skills that I learned in the Y really prepared me not just to be a kid that stayed out of trouble, but also prepared me to be a good citizen.” - Kim Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney







The inspiring remarks did not stop there as the Y proudly presented the So Much More Than A Volunteer Award to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. In total, BCBSIL employees have dedicated nearly 5,000 hours of volunteer service to the Y, supporting events such as Halloween at the Y and Produce Days at Kelly Hall YMCA, which made them very deserving of this distinguished award. Dana L. Holmes, the Chief of Staff to the President of BCBSIL, accepted the award.







At this year’s event, Frederick H. Waddell, Chairman and former CEO of Northern Trust, received the So Much More Than A Leader Award from Connie L. Lindsey, a member of the YMCA Board of Managers. Rick moved the room with his touching address to Emma, commending her compassionate leadership at Camp Independence, where she helps shape the generation of tomorrow. Rick emphasized the importance of strong leaders in our community and all the work the Y does to get us there.

“Responsibility, respect, honesty and caring. These are wonderful values. Those of you who support the YMCA, shape and grow this next generation of leaders by adhering to those values each and every day, and I sincerely thank you for the honor that you bestowed on me, and on Northern Trust, with this award.” - Rick Waddell, Chairman & CEO, Northern Trust







Presented by Gregory A. Nickele, Chairman of the YMCA Board of Managers, Reyes Holdings was the recipient of the So Much More Than A Partner Award. Stephen and Andrew Reyes accepted the award on behalf of the 31,000 Reyes Holdings employees. They shared how the family has instilled a sense of community and caring in each of its employees, and that the Y reflects these values wholeheartedly as well. Andrew went on to express, “I am confident in saying that Stephen and I, in addition to the leaders here from Reyes Holdings, will be totally committed with our time and our resources to the YMCA going forward.” The YMCA is humbled to have such a devoted partner in Reyes Holdings, and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to honor the company, and the family, with this award.

In all, the event raised more than $1.3 million to support academic readiness, character development, violence prevention, and fitness, and healthy living across Chicagoland. We are grateful for the support of our philanthropic community and look forward to continuing our care - from cradle to career - for every one of our neighbors in need.