2017 Birdie Ball raises more than $45,000 for ESF

The Evans Scholars Foundation’s Leadership Council celebrated five years of helping send caddies to college during the fourth annual Birdie Ball at Lincoln Hall in Chicago on Saturday, April 29.

More than 300 people attended the event, which is hosted annually by the Leadership Council as part of its efforts to raise awareness of, and funds for, the Evans Scholars Foundation. The Leadership Council was established in 2013 as a board of young professionals who serve as ambassadors for the Evans Scholars Program through fundraising and Scholar mentoring.

This year’s Birdie Ball raised more than $45,000 for the Evans Scholars Foundation — a record for the event — and it has raised more than $145,000 since its inception in 2014. The night featured live entertainment by the Bluewater Kings Band, a silent auction and a video about Purdue University Evans Scholar Zack Sielck’s path to earning the life-changing Evans Scholarship.

A short program included speeches from Leadership Council President Mary Moran and Evans Scholars Foundation Director of Development Matt Starr. Moran and Starr are both Alumni of the Evans Scholars Program. Starr outlined how much the Evans Scholars Foundation — with the help of the Leadership Council — has grown over the past five years.

Among the Leadership Council’s many achievements is the development of a mentorship program to keep Evans Scholars and young Alumni engaged with one another and with the Evans Scholars Foundation. Two hundred current Scholars enrolled in the mentorship program for the 2016-17 academic year. 

“Five years ago, we didn’t have the Leadership Council. Now, we look to this group as our next generation of leaders,” Starr said. “Thanks to the Leadership Council, we have a robust program that is helping our Evans Scholars find internships and jobs. This is taking our mission to the next level — caddies, to college, to careers.”

Attendees also got to hear about the experiences of current Northwestern University Evans Scholars Kristy Spratt, Ethan Dlugie, Connor Murray, Emily Maxwell, Griffin Bourjaily, Natalie Burg and Vanida Vesuntia.

Event sponsors included RCP Advisors and Viacom at the “Honor Caddie” level; BMO Capital Markets, CDW, The Garrison Family and PwC at the “A Caddie” level; and Iluminus Group, KPMG, Lendlease, Lockton, MacLean-Fogg, MB Financial, Mercer, Nuveen, Ropes & Gray and Wintrust at the “B Caddie” level.

“It’s been amazing to see the Birdie Ball grow each year,” event chair Mike Rice said. “The support we’ve received has allowed us to raise even more money for the Evans Scholars Foundation, and we look forward to doing more in the future.”

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About the Leadership Council

The Leadership Council was formed in 2013 with a goal of bringing together a diverse, young group of emerging business and civic leaders for networking and professional development opportunities. Members, who are between the ages of 25-40 and mostly live in the Chicago area, serve as ambassadors for the Evans Scholars Foundation through fundraising and Scholar mentoring.

For more information on the Leadership Council, please visit www.wgaesf.org/council.

Did you know?

  • There are now 985 Evans Scholars in school
  • There are more than 10,830 Evans Alumni across the country
  • Evans Scholars are enrolled at 18 universities across the nation, including 16 where the Foundation owns and operates Scholarship Houses