The Cause: Nearly 300 guests came out to celebrate, honor and support our men and women in blue at the sixth annual True Blue gala hosted by the Chicago Police Foundation (CPF). The 7-year-old nonprofit, led by various Chicago business and community leaders, provides funding for supplemental resources in technology, advanced training, community outreach and safety equipment, especially life-saving LEMART kits (individual first aid kits), for the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The event raised more than $500,000.
The Setting: As supporters arrived for the event, they were greeted by a mounted equestrian unit as well as SWAT team members dressed in full gear beside their armored rescue vehicle. In the ballroom, guests perused a silent auction that included tours with the CPD’s canine and mounted units, as well as a Marine experience. A highly coveted David Yarrow photograph sold for $12,500 (courtesy of the Hilton | Asmus Contemporary gallery). Partygoers could also meet-and-greet a member of the CPD Canine Unit with his well-trained dog.
The Scene: Mary Ann Rose, CPF executive director and event producer, welcomed guests and introduced board chair Rick Simon. Simon said, “The CPF has one mission, to serve those who serve us, those who walk the thin blue line. The past 18 months in police work has been a little rough between the pandemic, civil unrest and people just being generally unappreciative of law enforcement.” John C. Robak was honored as Man of the Year. He is a past CPF chair and founding member, serves on eight nonprofit boards and is the CEO of Greeley and Hansen, a global water solutions firm that’s been headquartered in Chicago for over 100 years. Robak said, “I believe we all recognize there are opportunities to learn from the past, to improve relationships between police and the communities they serve … particularly in under-resourced communities. But we also recognize the need to support the people who are keeping us safe, people who are the first to run into danger to protect and serve the rest of us. We can’t lose sight of that.”