Create the Future Annual Benefit

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the first-ever Create the Future Annual Benefit!

One of the largest gatherings of our state’s creative community, the Alliance’s Annual Benefit went virtual this year to ensure everyone gathered in the safest way possible. The program demonstrated the resiliency of the creative sector over the past year, honored the work of extraordinary cultural champions, and unifed us as we look to create the future together.

All proceeds from the event support the work of the Alliance, to bolster the creative sector during this crisis and sustain artists and cultural organizations both now and into the future.

Questions? Contact Dimi Venkov at or (312) 855-3105 ext. 4.


2021 Creative Voice Award
2021 Citizen Advocate Award

In his tenure as president, Darren Walker has transformed the Ford Foundation into one of the world’s leading charitable organizations focused on reducing inequality. He values the arts as essential to the human experience, and has integrated the foundation’s support for the arts and social justice.

Michelle L. Collins is President of Cambium LLC, a consulting firm, corporate director on five public and private companies, and a member of the Advisory Board of Svoboda Capital Partners, LLC. As past president of the board of Chicago Sinfonietta, she helped restructure its business model and place it on a more secure financial foundation. She also previously served as a trustee of The Field Museum, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Historical Society, the Chicago Urban League, and many others.


Also honoring the inaugural Creative Youth Development Award recipient, sponsored by Allstate.

Thanks to our Sponsors

As of April 29, 2021

Premier Sponsors

Don and Liz Thompson

Benefit Sponsors

Michelle L. Collins

Patron Sponsors

Ariel Investments

BMO Harris Bank

Joyce Chelberg

The Chicago Community Trust

Efroymson Family Fund

Denise and Gary Gardner

Goodman Theatre


The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Cindy and Bruce Lubin

Joan and Bill Brodsky & Navy Pier, Inc.

Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel

Peoples Gas Community Fund

Polk Bros. Foundation

Steppenwolf Theatre Company

TopBloc LLC

Helen Zell

Partner Sponsors

Mr. & Mrs. Norman Bobins, The Robert Thomas Bobins Foundation

Broadway in Chicago

Carnahan Family Foundation

Choose Chicago

John Ettelson and William Blair


Irving Harris Foundation

Thayer and Chris Jabin

The Joffrey Ballet

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Mesirow Financial

The Poetry Foundation

Terra Foundation for American Art

Ulta Beauty

Questions about sponsorship? Contact Dimi Venkov at or (312) 855-3105 ext. 4.

Host Committee

Bill Brodsky

Mike Capatides

Mimi de Castro

Cheryl Cooke

Gillian Darlow

Scott Fetters

Brooke Flanagan

Marilynn K. Gardner

Helene D. Gayle

Adnaan Hamid and Elissa Efroymson

Steve Hamman

Michael Key

Bruce Lubin

Sylvia Neil

John W. Rogers Jr.

Roche Schulfer

John Svoboda

Liz Thompson

Helen Zell