The Staszak Annual Gala on April 11 not only raised money for OPEF free in-school programs, but also paid tribute to past board member and dear friend, Peter Traczyk, unveiling the Peter Traczyk Innovation Fund in his memory. The first recipient of seed money from the fund will be OPEF’s newest program, Spoken Word.

Thank you to the attendees, sponsors, donors and organizers for throwing a wonderful party. A big shout out to OPEF Board Fundraising Chair Karen Daily, as well as our two fanstastic event chairs, Auction Chair Lisa Kitzman, and Dinner Chair Karen Anderson. Thank you also to the smart and hard-working auction committee: Gina Bazer, Carrie Cotter, Wendy Giardina, Talley Hann, Stephanie Kiesling, Julie Mann, Kandy Shapiro, Inga Simitz, Gina Ulrich, and Rachel Wedeward. Many thanks go to our dynamic and funny emcee and auctioneer, Mark Bazer, and our photographer, David Layden, who captured the fun with these great photos.

It really does take a village! Many donors and local businesses helped to make the event a success, including our platinum sponsor Marion Street Market, gold sponsors Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn, Lakeview Bus Lines, and STR Partners LLC, and finally our silver sponsors Canon Solutions America and Precision Controls.

We very much appreciate the generous auction item donations from the following individuals and businesses:

93XRT Chicago’s Finest Rock
Tom and Deb Abrahamson
Adler Planetarium
Ahimsa Yoga Studios
Airport Express
Arlington International Racecourse
Arthur J. Gallagher
Carrie Bankes
Barnard’s Schwinn
Ken and Tammy Barrett
Bee Home and Garden
The Book Table
Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor
Camp Bow Wow
Chicago Architecture Foundation
Chicago Bears
Chicago Bulls
Chicago Children’s Theatre
Chicago Cubs
Chicago Helicopter
Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.
Chicago White Sox
Chicago Wolves
Chris Guillen Photography
Classic Cinemas
Cooper’s Hawk Winery
Carrie and Matt Cotter
Dailey Method
Karen Daily
Laura Derks
Barbara Di Eugenio and Milos Zefran
Dominican Univ. Performing Arts
Scott Eddy
Melissa Elsmo
Katie Ernst, Revision Home
Fast Frame
Fat Duck
Field Museum
Flavour Cooking School
Fleet Feet
Frame Warehouse
Frank Lloyd Wright Trust
Geppetto’s Toy Box
Wendy and Dave Giardina
Green Home Experts
Gloria Groom
Heidi and Jeff Groulx
Harvey House
Higher Bounds
Il Vicolo Trattoria
John G. Shedd Aquarium
Mary Ann and Dan Jordan
Junction Diner
Gretchen Junker
Kane County Cougars
Karl’s Craft Soup
Lisa Kitzman
Kris Kotte
Jill Kramer Goldstein
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Legacy Sports
Let ’em Play
Little Gem Café
Live Fresko
Lively Athletics
Lou Malnati’s
Louis Glunz Beer, Inc.
Jen McNulty
Magic Tree Bookstore
Marion Street Market
Dennis and Mary Ann Marks
Maya del Sol
Scott and Julie Moller
Museum of Science & Industry
New Rose Catering
Marty and Mary Lou Noll
Northwestern University
Oak Park Festival Theatre
Oak Park Jewelers
Rosa Ordaz
Panera Bread
Parenthesis Family Center
Liz Parenti
Lisa Parker
Pete’s Fresh Market
Radio Flyer Inc.
Bobbie Raymond
Red Hen Bread
Gina Robbins
JP Rooney
RTS Packaging
Peter Sagal
Brett Samuels, Boxy Mama
Karen Schiff
School of Rock Oak Park
Stephen and Mary Jo Schuler
Scratch Kitchen
Scratch ‘N Sniff
Second City
Benjamin Stark
Steve Stanard
Strategic Hotels Corp.
Amanda Sudimack, Artisan Events
Symphony of Oak Park River Forest
Tasty Dog
Ten Thousand Villages
Three Queens Maple Syrup
Trader Joe’s
United Center
Chris Ware
Sallie Wolf
Wolfpack School of Basketball
Bruce and Kim Wojack

Special Thanks to:
Racine Danish Kringle
Prints on Chocolate
Production Displays & Graphics