Seeds of Change 2017



Annual Benefit

Friday, March 31, 2017

At the Chicago Cultural Center

GAR Hall

77 East Randolph Street

Chicago, Illinois



Meet our unapologetic 2017 honorees who are fearless in the face of injustice!


Ron Sable Award for Activism

Mariame Kaba and Project NIA

For over two decades in Chicago, Mariame Kaba’s leadership as a social justice educator was instrumental in bringing together a multiracial coalition of people organizing citywide, building movements through research, and creating innovative models for youth organizing. She has been instrumental in establishing organizations like Rogers Park Young Women's Action Team (YWAT), Chicago Freedom School, and Circles and Ciphers, among others. Project NIA, an advocacy center founded by Kaba, works to reduce the reliance on arrest, detention, and incarceration of youth by promoting the use of restorative and transformative practices.


Donald F. Erickson Synapses Award

Arab American Action Network (AAAN)

The work of AAAN over decades has defined resistance in the face of repression and xenophobia. They have fostered allyship with a multiplicity of communities, and developed strategies and tools to build leaders and empower the Arab American community. They have used research and data analysis, speakers‘ bureaus, know your rights education, family literacy, and direct action to strengthen the Arab community in Chicago, building its capacity to be an active agent for change.


Lynda J. Tipton Memorial Award for Social Justice

Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD)

Since 2012, OCAD has sounded the alarm of injustice towards immigrant communities. They have led bold campaigns to fight for families facing separation through immigration raids, detention, and deportation. Specifically, they advocate and organize with those who have been targeted as dispensable due to their criminal records. They have built solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives to organize across issues and educate communities about the intersection of incarceration and immigrant justice. 

 Thanks to Event Sponsors (as of 3/29/17)

Changemakers: $5,000 and above
Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation
Nancy Fleck Myers
Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Catalysts: $2,500 - 4,999
Chicago Teachers Union Foundation
Jani Hoft & Linda Wagner
Irving Harris Foundation
Jon Lehman & Zach Huelsing
The Pierce Family Charitable Foundation


Visionaries: $1,000 - 2,499
Kay Berkson & Sidney Hollander

John A. D'Emilio
Barbara Kemmis & Gina Medalle 

Jeanne Kracher & Laura McAlpine

MB Financial Bank

Resource Generation


Movers & Shakers: $650 - 999
Jim Bennett & Terry Vanden Hoek
David de Vries
James & Janet Fennerty
Ann Logue & Rik Lantz
McAlpine Consulting for Growth
Gordon Quinn
Carleen Schreder & Ralph Musicant
Eileen Willenborg & Jane Melnick

Stewards: $375 - 649
Ali Abunimah
Gary & Katie Arnold
Martha Biondi
Leslie Corbett Chenoweth
Alice Cottingham
Megan Murray Cusick & James Cusick
Sandy & Mark Ehlert
Rosalind Fielder-Giscombe

Fight for 15 Chicago
Norman & Linda Groetzinger
Robert Horton & James Perry
Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization
Paul Lehman & Ronna Stamm
Amanda Lewis & Tyrone Forman
Omar McRoberts & Shelley Davis
Joey Mogul
Mary Morten & Willa Taylor
Sheila O’Donnell & Nora Gallagher
Barbara Phillips
Lisa Marie Pickens & Rima Malhotra
Mark Rodriguez
Jane Saks & Emma Ruby-Sachs
Bruce Scheff & Bridget Arimond
Workers' Law Office
Sponsors: $200 - 374
Rosellen Brown & Marvin Hoffman
Ann Christophersen
Robyn Gabel
Garfield Park Community Council
Roxana Gonzalez
Beverly Groudine
Youngju Ji
Marc Kaplan
Judith Kenney
Julia Klein
Troy LaRaviere
Edith Njuguna
Susan R. Nussbaum
Patricia O’Brien
Dick Simpson
Mairita Smiltars
Sheldon & Badonna Tobin


Host Committee (as of 3/13/2017)


Honarary Hosts

State Representative Kelly Cassidy

Senator Daniel Biss

Senator Cristina Castro

State Representative Sara Feigenholtz

State Representative Robyn Gabel

State Representative Theresa Mah

Cook County Clerk David Orr

Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa 

State Representative Juliana Stratton



Ali Abunimah

Tony Alvarado-Rivera

Lourdes Arias

Gary M. Arnold*

Becky Belcore

Lawrence Benito

Jim Bennett & Terry Vanden Hoek

Megan Carney

Henry Cervantes*

Inhe Choi & Guy Ward

Ann Christophersen

Cathy J. Cohen & Beth E. Richie

Megan Murray Cusick* & James Cusick

Michelle Di Benedetto & Dragos Visan

Susan K. Eleuterio* & Tom Sourlis

Ruth & Dale Fast

Denise Ferguson*

Teresa Garcia & Nelson Gonzalez

Roxana Gonzalez*

Rhoda Rae L. Gutierrez & Jim Clark

Pat Handlin

Sally Havlis

Neena Hemmady & Amisha Patel

Tasasha Henderson

Janine L. Hoft* & Linda Wagner

Robert Horton & James Perry

Margaret J. Hunter*

Kheira Issaoui-Mansouri*            

Barbara Kemmis & Gina Medalle

Alice Kim

Julia Klein*

Nora Kyger*

Sharmili Majmudar* & Laura Noah

Laura McAlpine

Omar McRoberts & Shelley Davis

Chirag Mehta & Rebecca Burwell

Agnes G. Meneses*

Cesareo & JoAnn Moreno

Mary F. Morten & Willa J. Taylor

Mona Noriega & Evette Cardona

Patricia O'Brien

Gina M. Olson & Amy C. Johnson

Alan Paberzs*

Lisa Marie Pickens & Rima Malhotra

Christine Plautz 

Cristine Pope

Barbara Ransby & Peter Sporn

Alexia Rice-Henry*

Shelly Ruzicka & Luis Juarez

Margie Schaps & Jack Doppelt

Mary Scott-Boria   

Dick Simpson

Kandace Thomas

Thelma Uranga-Baca

Thomas J. Wilson

Elise Zelechowski

Jaquelyn Zevin



*Also a Crossroads Fund Board Member 





For more information, please contact Emmanuel Garcia at 773.227.7676 or

Crossroads Fund is a public foundation that supports community organizations working on issues of racial, social and economic justice in the Chicago area.