After School Matters celebrates Gala 2014 and Chicago Bull Derrick Rose's $1 million donation

After School Matters is $1 million richer!  Chicago Bulls point guard and three-time NBA All-Star, Derrick Rose donated this gift, his largest ever, to the non-profit that offers Chicago high school teens out-of-school activities.  E. Robbie Robinson, vice chairman of After School Matters, announced the surprise donation at the charity’s annual gala Tuesday, September 23. “There was a conversation around what would be the best way to build a relationship. He and his family concluded this is what they wanted to do and to make a big statement,” Robinson said.

The event was attended by over 1,000 civic, corporate and community sponsors and included a variety of teen performances as well as teen visual art, science and technology displays. Held in the Lakeview Terrace and Grand Ballroom of Navy Pier, the Gala was hosted by Mellody Hobson Lucas, chair of After School Matters and president of Ariel Investments.  Nora Daley, Mayor Emanuel and his wife Amy Rule once again served as honorary chairs.

The event's program included song and dance performances by teens from across the city in a variety of After School Matters programs, including ”Oklahoma!” from the musical Oklahoma! as well as a unique version of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” which concluded the evening.

For the first time in its history, the ASM Gala featured a live auction of two unique pieces of art that included a hand-painted Beatles-themed bench created by an After School Matters teen and signed by Sir Paul McCartney, as well as a first-of-its-kind drawing by renowned filmmakers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas of their iconic movie characters E.T. and R2-D2.

In honor of the Gala, presenting sponsor Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois projected After School Matters’ initials, “ASM”, in lights on the facade of their building in Chicago’s Loop for the evening.

"For more than two decades, After School Matters has offered Chicago high school teens high quality out-of-school time opportunities in the arts, communications, science, sports and technology that allow them to explore and develop their talents, while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond," said Mayor Emanuel.

After School Matters is the largest provider of after-school and summer programs for high school students in the nation, creating 22,000 opportunities annually for Chicago teens of whom 97 percent are minority and 86 percent are living at or below the federal poverty level.

(An After School Matters program is offered at Simeon Career Academy, Derrick Rose's alma mater.   #GivingBack)

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