With more than 300 in attendance for the BGA’s first fully in-person luncheon since 2019, the BGA’s Demanding Answers-themed luncheon held on September 28 was a rousing success.
The Better Government Association’s signature fundraising event raised more than $1.1 million.
Board Chair Paulette Dodson kicked off the festivities by acknowledging those who have made significant philanthropic gifts to support the BGA’s work, those who have championed its mission to friends and those who have answered the call to serve and to strive to make a positive impact on our state.
David Greising, BGA President and CEO provided the year’s highlights. The year’s seminal achievement was receiving the Pulitzer Prize for the first time in the BGA’s history. That high honor recognized the BGA and its partner, the Chicago Tribune for the powerful story about negligent oversight of fire safety in Chicago that led to 61 deaths.
Greising also spotlighted:
The Milking Medicaid series which uncovered ways that insurance industry behemoths unfairly denied and delayed payments, putting safety-net hospitals on the verge of insolvency and their patients at risk.
The Circuit: A database developed in partnership with Injustice Watch, turned up new revelations about injustice and inequity in the Cook County Courts.
BGA Policy played a key role in the passage of the Chicago City Council’s 2022 ethics ordinance. Starting as a draft from the BGA’s policy experts, City Council unanimously passed the overhauled ethics ordinance in July 2022.
Greising also announced the BGA’s new journalism venture, the Illinois Answers Project. Transformative support from the Robert H. McCormick Foundation is funding this pioneering project that will showcase some of the most powerful investigative and solutions journalism in the state of Illinois.
Longtime supporter and former BGA board member, Dan Goodwin, Chairman and CEO of the Inland Group, LLC presented the Daniel L. Goodwin Watchdog Award to the Chicago Community Trust for providing over $2.3 million to 21 organizations– including the BGA–to ensure that community-centered media are able to fully participate in Chicago’s news ecosystem. Chicago Community Trust Interim President Andrea Saenz accepted the award on behalf of the Trust.
The event also featured a discussion between Greising and The New Yorker journalist and author Evan Osnos. In a surprise gesture, Osnos closed the discussion by presenting Greising with a commemorative matchbook from the BGA’s heralded 1977 Mirage Tavern sting operation.
We are grateful to the following BGA luncheon supporters whose generosity directly funds the BGA’s general operations.
John A. Canning, Jr. Daniel L. Goodwin Heather Steans
John A. Canning, Jr. Mary and Paul Finnegan Jim and Karen Frank Daniel L. Goodwin, The Inland Real Estate Group, LLC Joseph Mansueto
Edwardson Family Foundation GCM Grosvenor Heather Steans and Leo Smith
Ed Bachrach Chicago Cubs Gary Elden and Phyllis Mandler The Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation Robert R. McCormick Foundation Steve Miller Jim Perry Kathleen and Jim Skinner
Barnes & Thornburg LLP Carol Lavin Bernick Family Foundation Winnie & Bob Crawford, Jr. The Crown Family Paulette Dodson Bill Donnell Andrew J. McKenna Carroll Joynes and Abby O’Neil Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Peter and Alicia Pond Mark Rust Sidley Austin Foundation Barbara Speer Jill and John Svoboda Wade Thomson, Jenner & Block LLP Wintrust
ABC 7 Chicago Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP BMO Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP Charles River Associates Edelman Ernst & Young LLP M. Hill Hammock, Verit Advisors Italian Village Restaurants Robert and Linda Levin David and Amanda Mabie/Chicago Capital John and Judy McCarter Medill School, Northwestern University Richard and Martha Melman Foundation Dudley and Ann Onderdonk Oppenheimer Family Foundation Mark and Marcella Peterson Shook, Hardy & Bacon