We are excited to announce that tickets for the SPARK 2022: Building a Brighter Future Benefit are now on sale! Invitations are hitting the mailboxes this week, but digital sales are already open.
Please join us for an evening of celebration honoring Center for Independent Futures’ 20 years of supporting full lives on Thursday, October 27 at the Hilton Chicago/Northbrook, 2855 Milwaukee Avenue, Northbrook, Illinois.
The reception will begin at 6:30 pm, followed by dinner and the program at 7:00. After the program concludes, we will hit the dance floor with Euphoria Band until 9:45.
Your long weekend experience begins with a three-night stay in a lovely contemporary 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom house located in the heart of The Galena Territory. Relax in the private hot tub and enjoy the spectacular views from either the new deck or the fire pit.
Your stay includes passes to The Galena Territory Owners Club, with a state-of-the-art fitness center, café with indoor and outdoor patio seating, and three great pools!
We are excited to announce that Brews & Bites is moving to summer! For years, Center for Independent Futures hosted “Something’s Cooking” each fall. In 2019, Something’s Cooking became Brews & Bites to sample the best beers Chicagoland has to offer. Now in our 20th anniversary year, Brews & Bites moves to summer for the ultimate indoor-outdoor experience!
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This year, Brews & Bites will be held at Evanston’s newest brewery – Double Clutch Brewing Company, 2121 Ashland Avenue, Evanston. Double Clutch is more than just a brewery. It has on display an extensive collection of rare and vintage classic cars. This large, relaxed venue will give us the chance to taste all kinds of beers, eat a delicious summer dinner, play Brews & Bites bingo, and much more!
Come and celebrate the past 20 years while supporting Center for Independent Futures’ next steps into the future, supporting full lives!
TeamCIF is a community of adults with and without disabilities who participate in the Fifth Third Bike the Drive every year. This group is committed to raising funds for Center for Independent Futures, which supports adults with disabilities living full, independent lives.
Every dollar raised supports our efforts to provide virtual and in-person social opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Our activities are giving a lifeline to so many of our participants during these challenging times. Please donate today and support individuals with disabilities living their full lives!
On September 5th, our bike riders will join thousands of others on Lake Shore Drive. The entire length of this gorgeous route will be closed to regular traffic, open only to cyclists. It is an honor for our participants to take part in this Chicago tradition.
Please donate today and support individuals with disabilities living their full lives!
On Saturday, November 7th, Independent Futures hosted our first ever virtual SPARK! This community has grown so much over the past year. It was time to celebrate! Whether you were able to join us or not, you can watch the video on YouTube. Until then, check out the recap of a night we will never forget.
Wonderful Performances At SPARK
Did you know that the Independent Futures community is fortunate to have artists of all types? At SPARK, three individuals treated us to performances of their talents. Sheila Serota sang an original song for us. Adrian Drower performed an original poetry reading. Finally, Carlos Coleman played a lovely piano duet. Check out the performances and learn more about these artists in the clip below.
Our Awesome Community
Like always, we announced the recipients of the Jane Doyle Awesome Awards at SPARK. First, our outstanding Community Partner has always offered their support during our events. Dennis Clarkson and Gigio’s Pizzeria are like a family, and they have always helped out whenever they could.
The Staff recipient puts equity and access at the forefront of all that she does. In her work with the Evanston Township High School Transition House, students develop important life skills before leaving school. Sharon Purdy truly embodies what it means to be community focused.
Finally, the Participant recipient is someone who has a vibrant social life and is always willing to lend a hand. Jenny Mottola serves on the Advisory Council and has been part of our community for many years.
Aiming For The Stars
At the end of the evening, we were joined by our favorite Chicagoland band, Euphoria! With a 45 minute set, Euphoria helped us make SPARK 2020 an evening to remember. Audience members got out of their seats and danced through every song Euphoria played!
And to make the evening even better, we met our fundraising goal thanks to all of your support! Not only did we reach our goal, but we were also able to fulfill the match offered by generous donors. Now we are ready to take on 2021 and everything the new year will bring.
We don’t have all of the information about SPARK 2021 yet, but we expect to hold the event in the fall. We hope to see you all there!
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Independent Futures hosted SPARK every April for more than a decade. Like many other organizations, this year has presented us with opportunities to try new things, like moving to a virtual SPARK! We are working hard to make our virtual celebration as much fun as our typical annual celebration.
How To Attend SPARK
Head over to our SPARK event page to RSVP. Because SPARK will be online, Independent Futures will not sell tickets. For the first time, SPARK is free to attend for all – even our post-celebration dance party.
When you RSVP for SPARK, you will receive a confirmation email that includes a Zoom link. Save this email or add it to your calendar to make sure you don’t lose the link. We will also send reminder emails starting the week before November 7th. Those emails will also include the Zoom link in case your original email goes missing!
What To Expect At Virtual SPARK
While SPARK usually entails dancing, dinner, auctions, and games, our program will be shorter this year. The program will also be driven by individuals in our community who want to share their talents.
When you tune in, you can expect to hear from Ann Sickon, our Executive Director, and watch performances arranged and filmed by participants or tutors. In between these accomplished artists, we will announce our 2020 Awesome Award honorees!
Our Exclusive After Party
After we end our virtual SPARK program, Independent Futures is thrilled to announce that we will be hosting an after party!
Join us and our favorite band, Euphoria, for a 45 minute dance party! All you need to do is stay on the Zoom call during a 5 minute intermission. After intermission, we will return with Euphoria ready to play some of your favorite songs.
You Can Help Independent Futures
If you are able, the best way to help Independent Futures right now is by donating to SPARK. No gift is too small – or too great. You can donate online or via text by texting SPARK20 to 44-321.
Don’t forget: RSVP today to be part of this unique celebration. We hope to see you online on November 7th!
Saturday, November 7th | Create Your Journey
Independent Futures is throwing our annual SPARK benefit, an event where guests can witness Independent Futures’ impact firsthand. Throughout the
Saturday, November 7th | Create Your Journey
Independent Futures is throwing our annual SPARK benefit, an event where guests can witness Independent Futures’ impact firsthand. Throughout the evening, SPARK guests get to know our community, our participants, and our mission.
Since the pandemic began, we have needed to alter SPARK to meet this moment, moving from our original April date to a virtual November 7th celebration.
Our evening will feature talents from our wonderful participants, plus updates on Independent Futures as we look toward what the future will bring for us and our community. Stay tuned after our program for a fun dance party with our favorite band, EUPHORIA!
Join the Evanston community in making a real difference in the lives of people with disabilities. Are you ready to get involved? Start by RSVPing to SPARK today.
For more information, please email Niki Moe or call (847) 328-2044. To sponsor SPARK, please ask for information regarding sponsorship levels.
“I’m in my bed right now – actually I’m not in my bed, but there’s no reason I couldn’t be!” – Alexis Bevels, kicking off the evening
At the end of August, our Young Professionals Board hosted a virtual bingo night from home. In an average year, Independent Futures attends Hambingo at Hamburger Mary’s, but this year looked quite a bit different.
More than 30 members of this community joined us from places close to home like Wilmette, Chicago, and Evanston as well as locations far away like Florida, Texas, and California. Hosted by a Hamburger Mary’s favorite, Alexis Bevels, we laughed and joked the night away.
Bingo Night From Home In The Time of COVID
As many of us know now, it can be hard to entertain folks on a Zoom call. At Hamburger Mary’s, attending Hambingo is like getting dinner and a show. Performers such as Alexis call the bingo numbers with a flare, and then they entertain guests with song and dance.
Alexis managed to make virtual bingo feel almost as good as gathering in person. With her own soundboard and some great background music, our attendees remained upbeat and excited to play.
Playing To Win
Independent Futures was able to attain several gift cards as prizes for winners. These included cards for Five & Dime, Unabridged Bookstore, Wheel & Sprocket, and more. One extremely lucky family even won 3 times!
After each winner confirmed their bingo numbers, Alexis asked, “What have you been doing at home?” We learned that some folks are mostly working from home right now, while others are teaching and learning French. Thankfully, our community is staying home as much as possible to protect themselves and their families.
Join Us Next Time!
We all had so much fun at virtual bingo that we are thinking about hosting at least one more this year. Let us know: would you join us again?
Have you heard about how much fun our Evanston events are from your friends? Do you want to experience an event that illustrates what it means to fully include people with disabilities? Join us at SPARK on Saturday, November 7th to join the movement.
For the first time ever, Independent Futures is partnering with The Autobarn of Evanston as a host for this year’s theme, Create Your Journey. At Independent Futures, we support adults with disabilities as they explore the paths open to them, crafting their own futures. When you join us at SPARK, you will become part of the journey to inclusion.
What To Expect At This Evanston Event
We view SPARK as an opportunity to celebrate our whole community, including Independent Futures’ participants, families, employees, donors, and community partners. That means there will be dancing, dinner, and a lot of chances for fun!
The evening will begin with the chance to bid on some of Chicago and Evanston’s favorite stores, restaurants, and experiences. Past auction items include tickets to Cubs games, classic Chicago artwork, and handmade woodworking from local artisans.
The reception will be followed by dinner and a live auction. At last year’s live auction, winners took home trips to Costa Rica, a golf outing with a pro, gorgeous artwork from a local artist, and more! Plus, you won’t want to miss our favorite game, Heads or Tails. We will finish the evening by dancing our hearts out to a favorite of ours, Euphoria Band!
Getting Tickets to SPARK
Let all your friends know you’re busy on Saturday, November 7th now, and get your tickets online today. You’ll want to get your tickets fast because SPARK sold out 3 weeks early last year!
Did you get your tickets for our hot, new event? Early bird prices have flown by, but we still have room for you and all your friends at Brews & Bites! Read on for more reasons to attend Brews & Bites!
Join us on a lovely Sunday afternoon for delicious bites and cool brews. On October 20 at the Evanston Art Center, learn how Center for Independent Futures and our participants help make Evanston an inclusive community for people with disabilities.
Opportunities To Win For Independence
Thanks to generous donors and our wonderful community, there are many opportunities for guests at Brews & Bites to win while supporting people with disabilities in Evanston. These opportunities include 4 raffle baskets, 2 gift card trees, and a beer & wine pull.
Seasonal, Unique Raffle Baskets
Instead of a silent auction, we are offering four fall & winter raffle baskets to keep you busy throughout the colder months coming. Tickets are $20 or 6 for $100, available for purchase at the event.
Want to have an exclusive dinner party with your closest friends or a few family members? One raffle basket includes a 3-course dinner for 8, prepared by local chefs Bonnie Dohogne and Chris Baer. The menu and date will be decided with the winner of this basket. An added bonus? You will also win a $50 gift card for some tasty desserts!
You could also choose to throw your raffle tickets into the Kitchen Basket, featuring unique kitchen tools, cookbooks, and a brand new KitchenAid mixer. This $600 value could be all yours for holiday baking and more.
Your third raffle option is the Christmas Bar Basket. This $500+ value includes all the tools you need to make your favorite Christmas drinks, plus the alcohol and garnishes for the true classics of each great holiday party.
Finally, learn how to make your favorite brews at home! The last raffle basket option is the Home Brew Kit. You could win your very own “Best Brew Award” at home by wowing your friends and family with unique beer creations.
Life Skills Gift Card Tree
Once you have entered your raffle tickets, what’s next?
Check out our *two* gift card trees this year! For either $25 or $50, you will take home a gift card guaranteed to be at least equal to the amount you spent. The gift cards come from a wide range of local and chain businesses. They range from nights out for dinner to home stores to health and wellness activities.
This year, the gift card tree will represent our Full Life Model. The model guides our work as tutors support participants in learning the life skills necessary to live independently. The 8 circles represent areas of a full life, which the leaves of the gift card trees will also represent.
Local Support From Evanston Community
Brews & Bites is being supported by many local favorites! The event will feature 14 restaurants, 6 bakeries, and 10 breweries. Whether you wake up on October 20th feeling like having sushi, pizza, lasagna, or taquitos, Brews & Bites has you covered. Check out our partners for Brews & Bites!
This year there are two ticket levels: regular adult tickets & young adult tickets. The difference between these two are the number of drink tickets allotted and pricing. While adult ticket purchases come with 9 drink tickets, the young adult tickets receive 3.
In addition to drink tickets, attendees will receive the chance to vote in our 1st ever Best Brew Award, unlimited access to all food vendors, and a commemorative tasting glass.
At Independent Futures, we are delighted to announce that Brews & Bites will be taking the place of our annual Something’s Cooking fundraiser. On October 20th, join us at Evanston Art Center from 3:00 – 6:00 for a great time! Read more to find out what’s new in 2019, the cost of tickets, and who you’ll find at Brews & Bites.
What’s New in 2019?
While we hope the community enjoyed attending Something’s Cooking for the past 15 years, we decided it was time for some exciting changes – starting with its name. This new, updated event is now Brews & Bites, a community gathering of Evanston’s favorite local restaurants with one more big addition.
Brews & Bites will also feature local Chicagoland breweries. Each participating brewery is donating tastings of their favorite fall beers! We will be joined by 9 local breweries including: Adams Street Brewery, Kings & Convicts, Ravinia Beer Company, Revolution Beer, Sketchbook Brewing, Smylie Bros., Temperance Beer Co., The Lagunitas Brewing Co, and Ten Ninety.
The tasting portion of Brews & Bites is possible largely thanks to Byline Bank. Thanks to Byline Bank, we are able to expand Something’s Cooking into an even more engaging community event celebrating Evanston’s vibrant food scene.
How To Get Your Tickets to Brews & Bites
We are offering an early bird price for limited duration of 3 weeks this year. From now until October 6th, the early bird adult tickets will be $60. Adult tickets will then be $75 until the day before Brews & Bites. Day-of tickets purchased at the door will be $85.
For students and young adults under 26, tickets will be $30. Children 10 and under may attend free of charge.
As Independent Futures looks toward this organization’s own future, we are exploring ways to stay true to our mission while updating our work for the new decade. Brews & Bites is one of the first steps we are taking to move into the future, successfully supporting as many individuals as we can.