BUILD Virtual Gala 2020 : Supporting BUILD's Youth
BUILD Virtual Gala 2020

BUILD Virtual Gala: Highlights

Explore the videos, podcasts, and articles we shared during the 8 days of the gala - stories from staff, youth, supporters, and more.

Youth Voices

BUILD’s young people are the reason we do what we do. They grow up surrounded by trauma, many never assumed they had a right to a future - much less a dream. 

BUILD helps them find a voice, and build a life. Three BUILD youth agreed to share their stories this month, listen to them here:  

LillyJerry, and Steven.

Community Safety and Violence Intervention

An extended conversation between BUILD CEO Adam Alonso and the recipient of our 2020 Community Leadership Award, Deputy Chief Ernest Cato of Area 4, CPD. Listen in to hear what community-based policing truly looks and sounds like.

An unforgettable conversation between Officer Cato and Latee,, a young man who turned his life around at BUILD after being shot. Cato was there on the scene after it happened.  

Listen to a BUILD Radio Podcast episode featuring Max Cerda, a senior Intervention team member from Humboldt Park, talking about his own time on the streets and how it drives his work saving “little brothers and sisters” facing the same desperate choices. 

Watch this short story about how every Intervention story doesn't have a happy ending - but that can't stop the work.

Mental Health and Wellness

Meet our Clinical and Community Wellness team and its many different kinds of care: from individual and group therapy to 24-7 on-call crisis response. It’s BUILD’s fastest growing team - in 2018 we had one clinical therapist; a year later we had eleven and we’re still growing.

Read about Marshawn Feltus, a BUILD Community Violence and Crisis Response specialist who also brings his skill as a yoga instructor to his work. 

Meet the mentors who work with BUILDing Girls 2 Women, a program designed specifically for gang-impacted females. Girls play major roles in many gangs right alongside the boys, but often have different traumas in their pasts - and need specialized treatment.

And then listen to this WBEZ story about “girls in gangs”, featuring Cristina, a BUILD youth telling her own story of what she has had to overcome. 


Prevention programs start working with youth as young as nine, bringing extra support, encouragement, and enrichment activities like art and science to after-school time

And even as they help with homework, BUILD Prevention mentors are also there to recognize when youth need other kinds of help, and connect them - from clinical care to intervention mentoring.

Education and College Counseling

Most of our BUILD youth have never considered college - never thought it could ever be in their future. We help change their minds. 

Whether they first came to BUILD through Prevention, Intervention, Clinical Services, or any other BUILD program, our Education Outreach Specialists help youth imagine, prepare, and BUILD Bigger Dreams.

Arts, Athletics, Enrichment

We both understand what a powerful tool of youth engagement and learning sports can be. In BUILD’s own Strong Bodies athletics program, the Donna Dudley Peace Softball League plays weekly over the summer, as does Hoops in the Hood - pop-up basketball courts across neighborhoods. Our annual touch football Turkey Bowl is a highlight of the year. For many youth, a coach is the best mentor.

BUILD's Art Academy is integrated into everything we do - from mental health to college prep. See pictures from our Annual Art Show.  In 2020, BUILD earned a MacArthur Grant for Arts, Equity, and Culture as a non-traditional arts organization, recognizing our dedication to increasing arts access and amplifying unheard voices. And Meet our Arts Academy Manager Ricardo Miranda, in one of his online art tutorials!

Donor Testimonials

Four long-time and lead donors talk about what keeps them so committed to the work, and to the BUILD family.

Our Lifetime BUILDers, Marcie and Avy Stein, talk about their own 20-year commitment to BUILD. 

Grammy-nominated songwriter and recording artist Justin Jesso gives a musical tribute to BUILD and its youth. 



The Bakalar Family Charitable Fund

Comcast NBCUniversal

Avy and Marcie Stein



Alexander and Jill Dimitrief

Larry and Carol Levy

Kenneth and Amy Viellieu


Anonymous (3)

Chicago Blackhawks Foundation    

Jim and Karen Frank

Jack Segal and Michael Halberstam

Bill and Meg Hayes

John Nitschke & Jean McLaren



Ariel Investments LLC

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois - Health Care Services Corporation

Cresset Wealth Advisors LLC

Paul and Mary Finnegan

J. Thomas Hurvis

Bruce and Laurie Kaden

Livingstone Partners

William Main

Howard and Diane Schwarzbach

John and Sue Wilson


Baird Capital

Mats and Jessica Lederhausen




Adam Alonso and Lorena Levy Alonso

Bank of America

Eric and Jill Becker

Paul Beckwith

Richard and Gene Bindler

Robert J. Emanuel

Norman and Virginia Bobins

Christopher and Amy Boehm

John and Jackie Bucksbaum

Jeff Cherner


Shannel Clubb

Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone, PLC Control

Hyatt Corporation

Curran Group Inc.

Steve and Judi Fader

FT Cares Foundation 

Fifth Third Bank

Jeff and Cidney Golman

HR Midwest & Fortis Insurance Associates

Hispanic Housing Development

Joseph and Jin Ivacic

Justin Jesso

Rodrigo and Pamela Levy

The Barbara and Frank Lieber Family Charitable Trust

Stephen Miles

Gerry Maguire

Jim and Kelly McShane

Steve and Ellen Mendell

Terry and Carol Moritz

Brian Musso and Heather Headley-Musso

Pepper Construction Group 


Larry Richman

Meryl Rosen

Bill and Lisa Rudnick

Siobhan Sanders

Jordan Stein

Mark Stern

Joseph and Judith Weil

Founded in 1969 to face gang violence on Chicago’s West Side, BUILD has grown into a leading youth development organization, helping thousands of vulnerable young people in Chicago escape gangs, overcome trauma, and achieve safe and bright futures. Our teams interrupt street violence and surround youth with the support and opportunity they deserve, from tutoring and summer jobs to mental health care and art.

Our annual gala has always been BUILD’s fundraising lifeblood – so we went virtualThank you to everyone who joined us here and on all our social media for our week of online storytelling, celebration, and youth voices, Friday April 24 - Friday May 1. 

4/24 Day 1:  Gala Kickoff: Welcome, Silent Auctions & BUILD's Arts Academy

4/25 Day 2:  Keeping Communities SafeDeputy Chief Ernest Cato, CPD

4/26 Day 3:  BUILDing Resilience: Mental Health and Wellness

4/27 Day 4:  Sponsor Spotlights and Donor Appreciation

4/28 Day 5:  BUILDing Futures: Prevention to Education 

4/29 Day 6: Corporate AngelComcast NBCUniversal

4/30 Day 7: Philanthropy LeadershipThe Blackhawks Foundation

5/01 Day 8: Youth Voices (feat. Justin Jesso)Marcie and Avy Stein, Lifetime BUILDers

When our youth needed you most, this community answered. Thank you for being their lifelines, and for standing up for our city's most vulnerable families in this extraordinary time.

To catch up on everything we shared, see highlights below!