The million-dollar advocate

The million-dollar advocate
November 2016
By Lauren P. Duncan
Chicago Lawyer correspondent

They say when you write down your goals, you’re more likely to achieve them. That’s why Chuhak & Tecson principal Eileen Sethna has a note posted in her office that reads: “Our 2016 Misericordia Women’s Board will raise $1,000,000.00.”

Sethna chaired this year’s Heart of Mercy Ball held Nov. 12 at the Hilton Chicago. The yearly event is a fundraiser for Misericordia, a Chicago nonprofit that offers an array of services for people with mild to profound developmental disabilities.

Chicago Lawyer: What made you get involved with Misericordia?

Sethna: I grew up in a family where service is a way of life. My mother’s main philosophy is “to whom much is given much is expected.” … Anyone who meets Sister Rosemary Connelly and visits Misericordia is inspired to serve. My family is grateful for the opportunity to support Misericordia and its residents.

CL: What makes this year’s event different?

ES: This year we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Misericordia North, which opened in 1976. Every year, we honor new benefactors. In addition to this year’s dynamic honorees [Steve and Peg Lombardo, Jim and Cheri Rafferty and AT&T], we are also welcoming back past honorees to join in the celebration.

Forty years of hard work in both “friend”-raising and fundraising has grown Misericordia’s campus and capacity to serve. We are looking forward to celebrating all those who have so generously shared their friends, their time, talent and their treasure.

My campaign was to Raise the Bar. It had a double entendre. We grossed $700,000 last year, I want to raise the bar to $1 million. On top of that, I want to involve the legal community to play an active role in supporting the present and protecting the future of Misericordia.

CL: Why should people attend the ball?

ES: I think it is an extraordinary opportunity to be in the presence of some of the most generous people. With so many reports of violence and bad news in our world and city, Nov. 12 is cause for celebration. There’s a compelling reason to safeguard and support the role that Misericordia plays in our community and there’s no harm in having a great time as well!

CL: What is the most challenging part of running a charity event?

ES: I really want to reach that million-dollar threshold. So, the most challenging part for me is patience. One goal: one million for Mis!