On Saturday, May 21, The Morton Arboretum welcomed nearly 400 guests to the Growing Brilliantly Dinner Party in support of the institution’s tree collections, research, and education programs. Emceed by tree champions Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra, the Arboretum’s annual fundraising event raised a record-breaking $410,760— funds that will allow the Arboretum to increase the impact of its tree-focused mission throughout the Chicago region and worldwide.
This year’s event was generously supported by many individuals, businesses, and foundations, including Oak Sponsor U.S. Bank. The evening featured a drawing, with prizes including a diamond necklace donated by A. Marek Fine Jewelry of Oak Brook, a catered dinner for 10 at the Arboretum, a majestic tree at the Arboretum dedicated to someone of the winner’s choice, an Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum private event package, and more. Guests enjoyed fare by Limelight Catering, decor by Phillip’s Flowers and Kristina Taheri Special Events, and music by the Sam Fazio Quartet.
The evening’s theme was inspired by the Arboretum’s Growing Brilliantly campaign to raise $63 million over five years to support new initiatives including the construction of a new curatorial and operations center for the 1,700-acre Arboretum, the Center for Tree Science consortium of leading tree experts, the New Plant Development Program, tree conservation programs, and enhancements to the Children’s Garden.
The 2016 Dinner Party Host Committee included Rose and Bob Fealy of Chicago, Ann and John Grube of Hinsdale, Toni and Charlie Mueller of Glen Ellyn, Valencia Ray and Darrell Jackson of Naperville, and Amy and Joe Weidenbach of Naperville.