2014 Off The Street Club Holiday Luncheon: Spreading Hope This Holiday Season

Off The Street Club

My introduction to violence on the west side of Chicago was during a golf event benefiting children several years ago. I met one of Off The Street Club’s kids – a six-year-old – who was sharing stories of seeing flying bullets and random drive-by shootings in his neighborhood. That was some years ago, but what was true in Chicago’s West Garfield neighborhood then is even worse today.

At FCB, we can sometimes get so busy creating change for our clients that we forget we’re brave, creative people who can do so much more. And, as big and global as we are, our attention to what matters can begin locally, in the world immediately around us.

Some of us are lucky enough to have an interaction or life event that sparks us to do something meaningful. For me, it was the hug of hope I received from that six-year-old who depended on that little-known club, Off The Street Club, which serves more than 3,000 kids a year in the most dangerous neighborhood in Chicago.

This year, our FCB Chicago team has been busy creating change for our community and raising funds and awareness for Off The Street Club, the city’s oldest boys and girls club. Ironically, I learned that back in 1902, FCB was the first company supporter of Off The Street Club! And, for more than 100 years, the city’s advertising community has hosted an annual holiday event to support the Club and enable it to continue offering hope and a safe haven to children on the city’s troubled west side. FCB Chicago was honored to be the host agency for this year’s luncheon on December 4 at the Swissotel Chicago.

The event attracted nearly 1,000 in-person and watch-party attendees and raised more than $570,000 – breaking all previous fund-raising records for the Club. We decided to bring in some fun, effective new ways to make it great this year.

FCB Chicago created an inspiring and catchy song, “Come Into the House,” written exclusively for the Club by FCB Chicago’s writer-in-residence John Claxton and composer Joel Raney. The song’s music video features the talented kids of the Club and debuted at the event. “Come Into the House” poetically conveys the spirit, energy and positive outlook Off The Street Club shares with its boys and girls. The song also serves as an ongoing fund-raiser – enabling individuals to download the song on iTunes and Google Play, with all proceeds benefiting the Club.

Our fresh creative platform for the event – The Hope Awards – honored the kids the Club serves, as well as its important, inspirational donors. The Hope Award Girl of the Year recipient, Destiny Carter (age 15), and the Boy of the Year recipient, Demetrius Hall (age 16), moved attendees with heartfelt words describing the impact the Club has made in their lives. Huen Electric was honored with the Hope Award Service Award. Joe Ender was honored with the individual Hope Award Service Award for selflessly giving to the Club every month for the past 35 years. Jack Klues, a 20-year Off The Street Club Board member, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

We are thrilled to continue serving this important organization and its kids in new and meaningful ways.

For more information about the Club, visit www.offthestreetclub.com.