I hope this email finds you doing well and looking forward to Spring!  As always, I remain incredibly thankful to our staff, board and volunteers for the many contributions they make to our organization on a daily basis. I am also grateful to you – our many followers and supporters – for helping to make possible everything that we do. We know that LEAD has a significant and positive impact in our community and beyond, and none of that is possible without your help and support.  Speaking of support…
“Laissez les bons temps rouler!”
We hope you are ready to “let the good times roll” this Saturday at our 4th annual gala, A Night in the French Quarter. We say this every year, [and I do believe every year it is true] but this is going to be our best gala yet. I truly believe that!  Our gala committee has absolutely outdone themselves this year. We are expecting our biggest crowd yet, and we have some amazing items up for auction.  Check these out (and this is just a sample):
Pregame lunch and game with Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and his wife Margaret.

7-Day Cruise for 2 on Holland America Cruise Line.
Tickets to the award-winning musical,

A trip to the real French Quarter in New Orleans, complete with lodging at “one of the best new hotels in the world,” dining in famous restaurants, and a swamp tour (that’s definitely something you can’t do in Chicago)!
Stay for 2 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, including 4 meals! 
If you haven’t yet bought your tickets, you can do that here, today.  We hope you will join us for what will surely be a great night!  If you can’t join us, you will be able to bid from home (on silent auction items only) beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday night.  Stay tuned for instructions on how to preview the items and how to register to place bids.
I want to be sure to send a huge thank you to the entire gala committee for their incredible efforts to pull off this event.  I would especially like to thank my wife, Lisa Duran and our good friend, Andrea Walsh for co-charing the event this year.  If you’ve ever worked on an event like this, you know what a huge undertaking it is. This group, under Lisa and Andrea’s leadership, has produced an event that would be commensurate with an organization 10 times our size.  For that I am grateful.
Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention two other important people whose efforts have contributed to the amazing event that will happen on Saturday night.  Past co-chairs Morley Vahey (2014 and 2015) and Lauren Hirsh (2016) gave so much of themselves to this effort in years past.  We are expected to raise nearly $100,000 at our gala – which is incredible for only our 4th year in – and without their efforts, none of this would be possible.
Can’t Attend? You Can Contribute to our Cause.
Even if you can’t attend, you can still contribute to our cause.  Below is a simple infographic that highlights the impact we have in our local community and beyond. While you may not be able to attend our fundraiser and celebrate with us in person, we will certainly celebrate you for any support you may be able to provide. Simply click here to donate now. We appreciate your support!
Let the good times roll!
Andy Duran, Executive Director