Our next Featured Philanthropist is Gregg Elstien, a long-time supporter of Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center and currently Chair of our Advisory Board. Read Gregg’s story below!
How did you get involved with ChicagoCAC?
I’ve been doing work with ChicagoCAC for about 15 years now. I wanted to do good, but specifically I wanted to be with an organization that helps children. I have a daughter myself and protecting her is the most important thing in my life. The idea of her getting hurt in any way is difficult to think about, and it’s hard to think about that happening to any child, so I’m very aligned with your mission. I went on board.net, which is this site that lets people know which boards have open positions, then went to your website, saw the mission and the work you did, and went ‘wow this is powerful’. That connected me with Susan Hogan (former ChicagoCAC Chief Operating Officer, recently retired) who gave me a tour of the center, and after that I was hooked. The chemistry was there, the mission is critically important, and I’ve been here ever since.
How does your job help you help us?
I’m currently Senior Vice President at Alper Services/GCG Financial, which is an insurance broker firm. This background really lets me bring my network and my relationships in to help the organization. It has allowed me to raise funds, create new donors, both dollar and material-wise, as well as bring great visibility to make sure everyone in my life is aware of the work ChicagoCAC does.
What do you do on the Advisory Board?
One of the major functions of the Advisory Board is helping manage and run the annual “A Night of Heroes” event, currently coming up in September. This event brings together community and business leaders in the city and honors people who have really been heroes for the children the center serves. The Advisory Board members also use our various networks and resources during the rest of the year to spread the word, gain volunteers, raise money, and build relationships between ChicagoCAC and people who want to make a real difference.
Can you tell us about a powerful moment you had while working with us?
One of the most powerful moments for me was hearing victims at the events speak about their experience prior to coming to the center and their positive life changing outcomes after receiving the center’s help. There has to be that emotional tie when you’re doing work like this, or you won’t bring your best effort to it.
What would you say to someone thinking about supporting ChicagoCAC?
ChicagoCAC is an extremely well-run organization. It is very strategic, with successful executives both at the center and on the boards who are passionate about helping children heal. For anyone on the fence about supporting ChicagoCAC, my best advice is just to go to the center for a tour like I did. A tour speaks the most to people. It is when the work becomes visible and tangible. You can see what a child’s experience might be and can meet at the people running the organization to understand what they do and how they do it every day. It is a moving experience that makes you want to be part of the effort.