On Saturday, September 23, The Morton Arboretum will host its annual Dinner Party to benefit the institution’s tree-focused research, outreach, and programs. This year’s “Growing Brilliantly” Dinner Party celebrates the grand opening of the Arboretum’s new curatorial and operations center (“South Farm”). The new buildings are needed for the arborists, horticulturists, and other plant collections and facilities staff who care for the institution’s trees and landscapes on 1,700 acres.
The Arboretum’s premier fundraiser, the annual Dinner Party helps sustain the institution and enables tree-focused work, locally and globally. This year’s event supports the Arboretum’s current $63 million capital campaign, funding projects including the South Farm facilities, science and conservation programs, and enhancements to the Children’s Garden.
The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails, followed by a gourmet dinner provided by Limelight Catering, program, and after-party. Emcees for the evening are media personalities Bill Kurtis and Donna La Pietra. Leading sponsors of the 2017 Dinner Party are A. Marek Fine Jewelry, Anna Caroline Ball, and Charles and Monica McQuaid.
New this year, attendees can take part in a live auction featuring one-of-a-kind offerings. Guests can bid on exclusive items including an after-hours campout at the Arboretum complete with catered meals; or an evening spent in the Children’s Garden with 50 guests, a BBQ dinner, and a professional party photographer. Other live auction items include a private party during the Arboretum’s signature winter exhibition, Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, as well as the chance to transform a backyard into a “home arboretum” with expert consultation and customized tree tags.
Guests can also enter a drawing to win prizes including diamond and rose quartz chandelier earrings, courtesy of A. Marek Fine Jewelry of Oak Brook; a catered dinner for 10 at the Arboretum, courtesy of Limelight Catering; an Arboretum tree designated in tribute to a person of the winner’s choice; $1,000 in tree care services, courtesy of Bartlett Tree Experts; and a one-year Arboretum membership, including free admission to several select seasonal events.
“As we face future environmental challenges, building a greener, healthier, more beautiful world with trees is more relevant today than ever before,” said Christopher Burke, Arboretum board chair and Dinner Party host committee member. “Support of the Dinner Party bolsters tree science and conservation work and keeps the Arboretum beautiful for more than one million visitors yearly.”
In 2016, the signature event attracted 450 guests, including many of the Chicago region’s civic and community leaders, and raised more than $410,000 in support of the Arboretum’s mission and initiatives.
Tickets are $500, and sponsorships begin at $7,500. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact The Morton Arboretum Development Office at 630-725-2027.
The 2017 Dinner Party host committee includes Anna Caroline Ball of Glen Ellyn, Sterling Berry of Chicago, Susan and Christopher Burke of Naperville, Rose and Bob Fealy of Chicago, Vicki and Tom Featherstone of Downers Grove, Ann and John Grube of Hinsdale, Amy and Steve Louis of Hinsdale, Valencia Ray and Darrell Jackson of California, Oriana and Adam Van Someren of Naperville, Lynn and Bob Wasserman of Carol Stream, and Amy and Joe Weidenbach of Naperville. Limelight Catering of Chicago is the caterer and dinner wine sponsor for this year’s event.