A Message From the Gala Chairs

Please mark your calendar and commit your support to the Elijah Glenn Ward Family Foundation for Saturday, March 3, 2018 at the stunning LACUNA Artist Lofts in Pilsen, Chicago. With your support, we can continue the great educational work that has already begun to champion and empower the men and women of Chicago’s South Side communities and to implement a bright vision of health and well-being for these communities and their individual residents.

As co-chairs of this year’s event, we personally invite you to join us as a sponsor, donor and/or attendee. Your backing of the Inaugural Ward Family Foundation Gala will support the Foundation’s educational, social, and economic support initiatives serving South Side residents.

With our deep appreciation and warmest regards,

Nancy W. Bentley
Board Member & Gala Chair

Katherine Foreman
Board Secretary

& Gala Co-Chair

Revella Ward M’Poko
Gala Co-Chair


The vision of the Foundation is to foster, among our brothers and sisters in need of second chances in life, a deepened and more effective integration into family, community and society through the optimal development of personal, creative, academic and professional potential. The Foundation nurtures this potential by adopting culturally-relevant approaches leading to outcomes that ultimately serve to nourish, stabilize and strengthen all of our communities. Our vision emerges from a deep sense of participation in, and commitment to, social processes that seek to bring to all people truth and a greater life.


The mission of the Elijah Glenn Ward Family Foundation is to develop and implement educational, social and economic support initiatives for men, women, and children living in low-income and minority communities on Chicago’s South Side.


The Elijah Glenn Ward Family Foundation will kick off its largest fundraiser to date with a celebratory, black-tie (optional) gala on Saturday, March 3, in the spectacular LACUNA Artist Lofts building that has served as the home of the Foundation since March 2017. The evening’s theme is inspired by the culture of the South Side African American communities of Chicago, which the Foundation was established primarily to serve. In keeping with the Foundation’s philosophy of inclusiveness, the executive directors of several non-governmental organizations serving Chicago’s South Side as well as a few Ward program participants will be invited to attend and network with sponsors.

Proceeds from the Inaugural Gala will provide support to the Foundation’s educational, health and cultural initiatives and to the Ward Institute of Technology. Corporate benefits will be extended to our sponsors throughout the year.

We hope you will join us!

Tickets are on sale for $150 per person.

Split-the-Pot Gala Raffle Tickets Are On Sale Now!

Tickets are $5 each or 6 for $25. You can purchase tickets from any foundation board or gala committee member, at the gala, or through the following locations: 

Lacuna Artist Lofts Rental Office, 2150 S. Canalport, Chicago

Richard Kirkpatrick, Autobarn Volvo, 1140 Garfield St., Oak Park (Call ahead at 847-942-9024)


VIP Event

5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Select sponsors will be invited to a V.I.P. reception in the Susan M. Sanders, R.S.M. Teaching and Learning Center, the initial teaching and learning center of the Foundation and the site through which it operates current programming.

Main Event

6:30 - 10:00 p.m.

A scrumptious soul food dinner with live entertainment and cocktails in the dazzling Reverie Gallery of Lacuna Artist Lofts will be the focus of the gala’s African American theme for the evening. Peruse silent auction items at this festive event honoring the rich cultural heritage of Chicago’s South Side.



Mercy is a noun. Mercying is a gerund.

It implies action. #mercying is mercy in action.


– Susan M. Sanders, R.S.M.


Lacuna Artist Lofts
2150 S. Canalport Ave, Chicago, IL 60608

LACUNA Lofts is the Premier, upscale, trendy loft work-space and is the newest addition to the growing artist community located in the Pilsen Art District. Jos-Cacciatore & Co. transformed LACUNA from raw open space, into a jaw-dropping vision which is unlike any other.

LACUNA, conveniently located at 2150 S. Canalport, is situated in what was once the world’s largest macaroni factory. Housed within the warehouse facility, LACUNA Tenants occupy the 2nd thru the 5th floor, with additional event space on the 1st floor and throughout the building. Guests will have access to a private parking lot when attending LACUNA events.


Your sponsorship and donations support the future of the Elijah Glenn Ward Foundation. The Foundation’s programs are growing to meet the needs of the communities we serve and your support will help our plans become realities.

Ward Institute of Technology is currently in development to operate as a private, independent, nonprofit institution of higher education inspired by the Ward Family story and the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. It will provide developmental education coursework and career and workforce development training to low-income and minority residents on Chicago’s South Side.

The Institute will begin with an advanced certificate program in construction technology for formerly incarcerated and low-income adults living in South Side neighborhoods. This industry-certified program will ground students in the basic knowledge and principles of masonry, carpentry, electrical, HVAC and plumbing work, preparing them to get work as skilled laborers or helpers to contractors, to apply for apprenticeships, for further education in a specific craft, or to explore becoming licensed as general contractors. The goal is to financially stabilize residents by training them, through renovation or new construction, to produce high-quality, environmentally-green, affordable dwelling units to be made available to Chicago’s South Side communities.

Plans are in development for future certificate training programs in day care service and management, paralegal work, and allied health occupations including phlebotomy and Certified Nursing Assistant service.

Ward Institute of Technology is being designed to address, directly and effectively, the educational and workforce development needs of adults in Chicago’s South Side communities.

It will address these needs through providing superior quality, flexibly accessible and easily affordable academic and certificate programs to low-income and minority adult residents of the South Side communities of Chicago. These programs will prepare residents for gainful permanent employment, for career advancement within the workplace, for further academic preparation, and to make meaningful contributions to the community and the world.

Wider Impact

In a commitment to serve educational, health, social and cultural needs in its target communities, the Foundation, in consultation with community partners, is considering the development of a variety of community programs, including a mobile health clinic, Science Saturdays, a children’s reading program, summer youth jobs programs, and a youth arts program.

The Foundation’s larger goal is to establish a scalable, new paradigm for student-centered, community-based higher education that is grounded in developing innovative, 21st-century pedagogies for serving the educational needs of low-income and minority communities, particularly men and women who have been incarcerated.

The Ward Family Foundation is firmly committed to achieving its goals through productive collaborations with a host of local and regional partners in the governmental, non-governmental, religious, business and philanthropic sectors.


Chicago P.R.I.D.E. Program

The Purpose, Restoration, Integrity, Determination and Excellence Program provides people recently released from incarceration with pathways to a postsecondary education through intensive college readiness instruction and access to existing community services aligned directly with postsecondary academic instruction.

Adelaide F. Ward GED Program

This is our most productive and innovative program. Over 12 weeks, staff and volunteers support students in GED prep courses. All former students in this new program have gone on to pass the GED exam and become eligible for promotions with their employer.

Mercy Job Bank

Through this program, low-income residents are placed in jobs with a variety of local businesses. The job bank is an excellent resource for low-income and minority individuals residing on the South Side of Chicago who seek placement in the workforce. Though priority is given to South Side residents, all citizens living in Chicago are eligible for placement.

My Brother’s/Sister’s Keeper

Developed for African American males and females ages 16-24, the program’s goal is the building of positive role models via a network of volunteer mentors from across Chicago. Participants meet twice a week at the Sanders TLC for a minimum of 2 hours each week for 24 weeks.

The My Brother’s/Sister’s Keeper program is funded by a grant from the Chicago Community Trust.


Choose Your Sponsorship/Donor Level

Make A Donation

Purchase Gala Tickets Online

*Fee applies

Purchase Gala Tickets By Mail

Tickets will be emailed unless otherwise specified