Friends and family of the Alliance’s Young Professional Council gathered to celebrate the group’s first ever fundraiser, held at Patagonia Magnificent Mile last weekend. Flanked by rows of fuzzy fleeces and hiking backpacks, guests mingled, enjoyed spirits and snacks donated from local breweries and restaurants, and celebrated a common cause.

Young Professionals Paying it Forward

The Alliance’s Young Professional Council, which was started in 2016 with one goal in mind: assembling the next generation of Great Lakes leaders and stewards.

The Council, lead by co-chairs Sandy Carter and Katie Hanson, wants to identify and fund community organizations in Chicago that work towards Great Lakes health.

The Young Professional Council just opened their grant application process, which looks for creative, unconventional, and out-of-the-box Great Lakes projects to fund with mini-grants between $500 and $5,000. Funding doesn’t grow on trees, so the Council organized their first-ever fundraiser: Libations for the Lakes.

Local Businesses Support a Local Cause

Patagonia Magnificent Mile generously donated their space to host an evening of music, food, drinks, and fun.

Guests poured into Patagonia Saturday night to enjoy drinks donated from New Belgium, Goose Island, Koval, Green Sheep Water and Pipeworks brewing, and food and treats donated from Quorn Foods, Warm Belly Bakery, and Food for Thought.

Guests tested their luck with a drawing for prizes from Shedd Aquarium, Stout Barrel House, Old Town School of Folk Music, Lynfred Winery, Lou Malnati’s, Adler Planetarium, REI, and Koval Distillery.

Creating the Leaders of Tomorrow

Alliance for the Great Lakes President & CEO, Joel Brammeier, addressed the crowd of nearly 100, which filled both floors of Patagonia’s downtown retail space. “Our vision is for young people around the Great Lakes to advance water as a benefit for all, and do our part to build leaders who can carry the promise of a clean and healthy Great Lakes for decades to come,” he said. He closed with a call for local action and bi-partisan dialogue, pointing out that clean water is an issue that affects everyone.

Alliance for the Great Lakes Young Professional Council raised more $4000 to support their operations and grants.

Great Lakes issues touch all 40 million people who live on their shores and drink their water. The Council’s efforts to empower local, community-driven clean water initiatives in the Chicago area is invaluable. Small, local action from younger generations can result in big changes meaningful to everyone — and that is exactly what the YPC hopes to accomplish.