3 Annual Chicago Galas That Popped On Your Virtual Social Calendar

Elisabeth Brigham, Fiona Good-Sirota and Melanie Medrano | November 23, 2020 |

Amid the pandemic, Chicago’s favorite annual soirees went virtual—raising funds, spotlighting local philanthropists and helping those in need.

20200707HistoryMuseumShot05KareemWells627_copy.jpgKareem Wells, honoree of the Chicago Men’s Fashion Awards


The Chicago Men’s Fashion Awards, courtesy of the Chicago History Museum’s Costume Council, honors the most stylish men in the name of supporting the museum. This year, the event honored past subjects in the form of a digital campaign—featuring photographs by Sandro Miller and a weeklong profile series—that included CMFA stars like Lee Allison and Kareem Wells. “When the pandemic hit, we quickly had to shift gears and learn new skills,” say Paula Borg and John Rogers, 2020 CMFA co-chairs. “We thought these men should not just be seen; their inspiring stories should be heard. … We hope it has brought hope and beauty during a dark time.”

roundofangels0405.jpgRound of Angels as performed by the talents at Chicago Dancers United


Chicago Dancers United held its annual gala online this fall, featuring a world premier and virtually showcasing performances from the past 29 years. In response to COVID-19, Dance for Life 2020: United as One exceeded fundraising goals and proceeds will go toward The Dancer’s Fund, which supports dance professionals dealing with critical health needs. Board president Robert Neubert remains optimistic as he eagerly anticipates the upcoming dance year: “We have definitely seen an increase in applications and, thanks to the fundraising success of our virtual Dance for Life 2020: United as One, will continue financially supporting routine healthcare needs—at least through the end of this year and possibly beyond.”

A Silver Lining Foundation founder Dr. Sandy Goldberg


There was no stopping A Silver Lining Foundation from hosting its annual gala, A Sterling Event. The celebration raised money to help provide free breast health testing to members in need, including those affected by the pandemic. “We care about those who reach out to us and strongly believe in leveling the playing field where access to breast health testing is concerned,” says founder Dr. Sandy Goldberg. Using GiveSmart platform, Goldberg and ASLF delivered live, prerecorded and remotely streamed events, so gala attendees could dress up and donate without leaving the comfort of their living rooms.

Photography by: From top, photos: by Sandro Miller; courtesy of Chicago Dancers United; by Ernest Collins