Something’s Cooking Celebration Highlights

5 volunteers smile at camera with orange table in foreground at Something's Cooking celebrationThank you to everyone who came to support Center for Independent Futures at our sixteenth annual Something’s Cooking celebration! From the music to the laughter – and, of course, the food – we enjoyed every last minute of the evening, thanks to all of you.

Wonderful Space and Support

This year’s fundraiser was our second being hosted by the Woman’s Club of Evanston. Their beautiful, historic building kept us sheltered from the rainy weather outside and made the evening a definite success. We couldn’t have had such a wonderful evening without the help of their amazing staff!

Exciting Prizes to Take Home

Board member and a volunteer draw names for raffle on stage at Something's Cooking celebrationInstead of a silent auction, we held a raffle this year, featuring eight grand prizes. From hand-painted Adirondack chairs and brand new bicycle to a weeklong stay at a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains, these raffle prizes were items we definitely wished we could take home ourselves! After all, there’s nothing like a great Cubs game in Chicago or a relaxing, therapeutic care package.

Congratulations to each of the fabulous winners! Of course, thank you to the support of all who purchased raffle tickets to play along with us on Sunday as well. Your support never goes unnoticed!

Good Food and Great Company

Celtic Knot Public House employees serving food and waving at cameraLast, but certainly not least, we want to thank all of our phenomenal restaurant, beverage, and dessert sponsors. Something’s Cooking could not happen without all of you donating your delicious food, drinks, and time.

Did you miss Something’s Cooking? Check out what these restaurants provided below, and make sure to mark your calendars early next year!

See You Next Year!

We are already looking forward to next year’s Something’s Cooking celebration when we get to spend another lovely Sunday afternoon with our favorite people! For now, we are getting ready for #GivingTuesday and helping our community give back. To join us, learn more at bit.ly/CIF2018GT.

Restaurant List

Bagel Art Cafe: Assorted Bagel Bites

Celtic Knot Public House: Mini Shepherd Pie

Edzo’s Burger Shop: Nutella Shakes

Farmhouse: Baked Mac-n-Cheese

Firehouse Grill: Burger Bites, Veggie Sloppy Joe’s, Chicken & Waffle Sliders

Flat Top Grill: Chilled Edamame, Pot Stickers

Gigio’s Pizzeria: Sausage, cheese, and veggie pizzas

Koi: Vegetable Maki with Mango Sauce

La Macchina Cafe: Vegetarian and Meat Lasagnas

Lulu’s: Cold Sesame Peanut Noodles

Peckish Pig: Bacon Wrapped Dates

Table to Stix: Truffle Pecorino Smoke Pickle Onion Salmon

Taco Diablo: Corn Esquite with Queso Fresco and Chilipiquin

Ten Mile House: Vegetarian Mediterranean Bruschetta

That Little Mexican Cafe: Shrimp Empanadas, Pork Taquitos

Trattoria D.O.C.: Orecchiette con Spinaci

Something’s Cooking Features New Evanston Restaurants

Two participants enjoy Something's Cooking with new Evanston restaurants.Have you heard? Something’s Cooking is heating up, and we have a bunch of great additions to this fall favorite! At Something’s Cooking, new Evanston restaurants are participating, plus you can look forward to raffle prizes and live music. Don’t miss this great event at the Woman’s Club of Evanston on Sunday, November 4th from 3:00-6:00.

Something’s Cooking New Evanston Restaurants

This year we have three new participating restaurants or beverage sponsors, and we are excited to welcome them into this fall tradition!

Firehouse Grill is a woodsy restored early 1900s firehouse, serving American standards. Get lunch or dinner seven days a week. With a new owner, a new menu, and new options, you’re in for a good meal.

Taco Diablo gives a respectful nod to Mexican cuisine, rooted in authentic Mexican cooking techniques. They serve traditional moles, freshly made salsas, and tacos in a lively and casual place.

Fruitbelt Sparkling Fruit Tonic is a wholesome, refreshing tonic made with sparkling water, a splash of Michigan fruit juice, a drop of honey, and a sprinkling of aromatic bitters. With only 60 calories and no artificial ingredients, this is delicious on its own or as a mixer.

Raffle and Auction Items Delight

Like always, we will have plenty of prizes to raffle off – and you do not need to be present to win! In addition to the raffle, you have the chance to take home some wonderful bottles of wine through the wine grab.

Beautiful photo of Great Smoky Mountains with orange sunset over mountains covered with evergreen trees.Plus, the event features some amazing auction items, like a 7-night stay at Blue Smoke Cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Nights at the cabin typically rent at $196-$346 per night. The cabin is surrounded by spectacular mountain views featuring Mount LeConte and Greenbrier Pinnacle. In the cabin, you will find a pool table, foosball, a vintage arcade game console, and large screen TVs featuring premium movie and sports channels. And if that isn’t enough, there is also a hot tub overlooking the mountains to enjoy after a long hike.

Get Down with Van Go Go

Van Go Go performs under stage lights in front of silhouetted crowd.If you were at Something’s Cooking last year, you probably saw Van Go Go putting on a show for us. Van Go Go is a group of individuals with and without developmental disabilities creating fun, foot stomping music! Come to the Woman’s Club of Evanston to enjoy the music with our wonderful community of supporters.

Buy Something’s Cooking Tickets Now!

Ready to find out what our favorite Something’s Cooking new Evanston restaurants have to offer? Don’t wait any longer! Buy your tickets online today. Tickets are $75, and you can even buy your raffle tickets online. For more information, contact Niki Moe at nmoe@independentfutures.com or (847) 328-2044.

Something’s Cooking Features Evanston Restaurants

Photo of two women smiling at Something's Cooking featuring Evanston restaurantsIn two months, Center for Independent Futures’ community will be at the Woman’s Club of Evanston enjoying the culinary standouts in our neighborhood. We are joined by fifteen Evanston restaurants, five local bakeries, and four unique beverage suppliers. Join us from 3-6 pm on Sunday, November 4th to partake in the delectable tastes of Evanston! Get tickets online now!

Our Friendly Little Neighborhood

We are excited to be joined at Something’s Cooking by some neighbors near our office. These Evanston restaurants know us and our program participants, and they support Center for Independent Futures’ mission throughout the year.

Firehouse Grill

This woodsy restored early 1900s firehouse is a restaurant and bar, serving American standards. Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, plus Sunday brunch, Firehouse Grill has a new owner, a new menu, and gluten-free menu options. Make sure you try out the new offerings at Something’s Cooking!

Gigio’s Pizzeria

This Evanston staple has been serving the community since 1968, making it the oldest pizza place in Evanston. Gigio’s specializes in New York style thin-crust pizza, and their menu offers burgers, hot dogs, Italian beef & sausages, tacos, burritos, salads, and homemade soups. Gigio’s supports Center for Independent Futures throughout the year with fundraisers and participation in this event.

Table to Stix

Photo of woman with child at past Something's Cooking eventTaking pride in the simple things like great food, service, and atmosphere, Table to Stix Ramen aims to bring all of these important elements to the table with good old-fashioned ramen. Don’t miss the chance to try some of this great Asian cuisine!

Full List of Something’s Cooking Participants:

Bagel Art Cafe

Blind Faith Cafe

Celtic Knot Public House

Edzo’s Burger Shop

Eli’s Cheesecake

Farmhouse

Few Spirits

Firehouse Grill

Flat Top Grill

Fruitbelt Sparking Fruit Tonic

Gigio’s Pizzeria

I Love Sweets

Koi

La Macchina Cafe

Lulu’s & Taco Diablo

Misericordia Hearts & Flour Bakery

Nothing Bundt Cakes

Peckish Pig

Sketchbook Brewing Company

Table to Stix

Temperance Beer Co.

Buy Dinner to Support Chicago Marathon Team

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is coming at us fast! Our eighteen person team is busy training and fundraising their $1,000 minimum, but we want to help them as much as we can! So we are hosting two fundraisers at restaurants in Evanston! Read more for the details..

Chipotle Fundraiser

Chipotle fundraiser flyerFirst up, visit the Chipotle at 711 Church St. in Evanston on Tuesday, September 11th! From 4-8 pm, you can buy dinner for yourself and your family or friends. As an added bonus, a whole 33% of the proceeds will benefit our Chicago Marathon team!

Bring in your phone with this post to make sure the donation goes to Center for Independent Futures. Show the cashier this flyer, and they will take care of everything else!

Potbelly Fundraiser

Then, on Tuesday, October 9th, Potbelly will be hosting a fundraiser to benefit the team just after the Marathon is over.  25% of the proceeds will be donated to our Marathon team’s efforts from 5-8 pm. Visit the location at 630 Davis St. to participate!

Just mention the fundraiser, and you are all set! Potbelly will forward your support for our marathon runners!

What Other Ways Can You Support the Team?

Are you looking for other ways to support Team CIF? Check out this blog post where you can donate to our current team members, or put the Marathon on your calendar! We will be cheering on our runners from the Charity Block Party all morning, and we would love to have you join us!

If you are interested in running the 2019 Chicago Marathon, let us know! We will be looking for team members starting in late October or early November.

Want to find out more? Email Connor Larsen with your question, and she will get back to you as soon as possible.

Save the Date: Something’s Cooking 2018

Two participants attend Something's Cooking, smiling at eventOur favorite fall activity is just around the corner! On Sunday, November 4th, join us at the Woman’s Club of Evanston from 3:00-6:00 pm for Something’s Cooking. We will be joined by the North Shore’s favorite local restaurants, bakeries, and breweries for a tasty evening with delightful treats! Mark your calendars today to guarantee you won’t miss out on this fun fall favorite!

We are looking forward to the signature dishes available to sample, giving us all a taste of Chicago and the North Shore’s best offerings. From pasta to pizza and tacos to cupcakes, a ticket to Something’s Cooking provides you the opportunity to find some new favorites! Plus, don’t miss the event’s silent auction for the chance to place the winning bid on some excellent items.

How Can You Help Out?

Want to help us prepare at this fun event? Volunteers help us plan and run the event while taking part in all the fun! To learn more about available volunteer opportunities, contact Jamie Annenberg by email or call the office at (847) 328-2044. We are also seeking community businesses to support our silent auction. Contact Niki Moe Horrell or call the office number to learn more about this business opportunity.

Something's Cooking attendees smiling in front of barAs always, all funds raised at Something’s Cooking will go toward continuing to support our vision of a future where all people have access to the opportunities of a full, independent life. Watch for more blogs about Something’s Cooking to learn about our featured partners, restaurant partners at the event, and a link to buy tickets online in a new, streamlined format.

Thank you to our sponsors who make Something’s Cooking and our other events possible every year! Once again, we also want to thank our wonderful community for coming out to support the hopes and dreams of our participants every year.

Inclusive Fun at Charity Night HamBingo

Hamburger Mary’s is a staple in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, featuring a dining room, an upstairs cabaret with karaoke, and a brewing company next door. On July 1st, participants, family, board members, and staff gathered at Hamburger Mary’s in Andersonville for a fun evening of charity night HamBingo.

Fun With Charity Night HamBingo

Participant poses with Granny at Hamburger Mary's charity night HamBingo in front of a curtain with a brocade design. We rounded out June’s LGBTQ Pride month with this inclusive fundraiser. At HamBingo, bingo players pay $15 for 10 games of bingo or $25 for 20 games, and the numbers are called by Hamburger Mary’s in-house drag queen divas.

The bingo callers are not the only part of HamBingo that is unique though. There are nearly two dozen different ways to win bingo at Hamburger Mary’s, depending on the caller’s choice before the round begins. There was a performance at intermission, but first our bingo caller, Granny, left the stage to prepare for the performance.

While Granny was gone, two members of the Auxiliary Board took the stage. David Jacob called a round of simple bingo, while Auxiliary Board Chair Anu Rajendran called a more complicated game. “It was great to see the Auxiliary Board take charge of this event,” shared Development Director Niki Moe Horrell.

We played ten rounds of HamBingo with Granny’s intermission performance in between. Granny entertained us with a fun rendition of “Believe” by Cher. After throwing in an impressive high kick out on Hamburger Mary’s patio, Granny returned to finish calling our bingo games.

Thanks to Chicagoland Community

We ended the night with lots of laughter as our community fully enjoyed the offerings of Hamburger Mary’s. This evening of fun and fundraising included a diverse crowd of attendees offering support to Center for Independent Futures. We want to extend a large thanks to each of our attendees, as well as to Hamburger Mary’s. Thanks to their hospitality and space, we raised over $1,000, which will support our growing community.

The First Annual Backyard BBQ

When summer finally comes to the Chicago area, we all have to maximize the fun we have in the sun. Now that temperatures are finally rising, it is time to get outside and see all our friends in the community. Whether you and your friends are ready to hit the beach or go for a long bike ride, the one thing most of us can agree on is BBQs.

Group chats at first Backyard BBQ, surrounded by colorful balloons to celebrate.That’s why our Advisory Council put together Center for Independent Futures’ first annual Backyard BBQ. At Hub 930, members of the Advisory Council gathered with community members, staff, our Board of Directors, and family members. We had a great afternoon together, complete with refreshing beverages and satisfying meals.

Board of Director co-chair Ira Mitchell acted as our grill master, flipping burgers and hot dogs with ease. Members of the Advisory Council helped Development Director Niki Moe Horrell prep the rest of the food, including fruit, veggies, and – of course – delicious desserts. By the end of the BBQ, there was almost no food left – a sure sign of a successful cookout!

The Backyard BBQ was an opportunity for the Advisory Council to work as a group planning, organizing, and decorating for a fundraiser entirely their own. Many members of the council help set up for other events at Center for Independent Futures, like SPARK, but this was the first fundraiser the group planned.

Aerial view of Backyard BBQ attendees chatting outside near a tree.Niki says, “Our first annual Backyard BBQ was so much fun! The Advisory Council did so well planning and prepping for the event.” There was plenty of food for everyone, and all the brightly colored decorations were perfect for a summer event.

We are already looking forward to the second Backyard BBQ next year. We plan to make this an annual event where everyone is welcome. Hope to see you all next time!

Gigio’s Pizzeria Fundraiser for Center for Independent Futures

Photo of pizza. Support independent futures at Gigio's Pizzeria through June. This June, you can support Center for Independent Futures at your favorite neighborhood pizza place, Gigio’s Pizzeria! For every extra-large pizza ordered during the month, Gigio’s will donate two dollars to Center for Independent Futures.

This year will be the third that Gigo’s is supporting our community. Last year, their efforts raised over $500 for hopes and dreams. To order your extra-large pizza during the month of June to support Center for Independent Futures, call Gigio’s at (847) 328-0990 or visit them at 1001 Davis Street in downtown Evanston, just down the block from our office.

Gigio’s Pizzeria has been serving the community since 1968, making it the oldest pizza place in Evanston. Gigio’s specializes in New York-style, thin-crust pizza, and the menu offers burgers, hot dogs, Italian beef and sausages, tacos and burritos, salads, homemade soups, and more. Your participation in this fundraiser supports our work toward a future where individuals with disabilities have access to all opportunities of a full life.

Attend Our Annual SPARK Celebration

Performers pose at a past annual SPARK celebrationOn Friday, April 27, the Center for Independent Futures community celebrates a stellar year at our signature event, an annual SPARK gala, hosted at the Hilton Orrington in downtown Evanston.

Great Event & Dessert Sponsors

We are grateful to our annual SPARK sponsors PSAVSidley Austin LLPFirst Bank & TrustNorthwesternInland BankMonahan Law Group, and Brian Rubin and Associates, for their support. This year, craft beer will be supplied by Revolution Brewing and Temperance Beer Company, and desserts will be provided by Flat Top GrillNothing Bundt CakesBennison’s BakeryLawrence Deans Bakery, and Beth’s Little Bake Shop.

Experience Chicago with exciting city getaways featured in our silent and live auctions. This year’s packages include tickets to see Ed Sheeran, Elton John’s Farewell Tour, and U2. We will also be auctioning an original Monet-inspired piece painted by staff member and artist Rob Larson.

PSAV  will help us set the scene for a fun night of dancing, and Collaboraction will provide our entertainment for this star-studded night. At the end of the night, be ready to dance to the sounds of Euphoria Band!

How to Join the Fun

For more updates, join the Facebook event here. As our largest fundraiser of the year, all proceeds from this event directly contribute to programming, services, and sustainability.

If you’re interested in getting involved with SPARK by volunteering, contributing, or learning about sponsorship opportunities, contact Niki Moe at (847) 328-2044 or nmoe@independentfutures.com.

Purchase your tickets today!

 

Team CIF Reaches the Finish Line

Participants, staff, and runners enjoy the pre-race pasta partyOn Sunday, October 8, eight runners representing Team CIF took the 26.2 mile journey from the start to the finish line of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Every step of their route supported the journeys individuals with disabilities take along the way to full, independent lives.

Race weekend kicked off with a Pasta Party at the Center for Independent Futures office, where runners, staff, board members, and participants gathered for a meal. Thanks to a generous donation from the Lincolnwood

On Sunday morning, a cheering squad of participants and staff members set up a tent at the marathon’s Charity Block Party. As the runners ran by at mile 14, the group kept their energy up with their encouragement. Despite the heat, all eight Team CIF runners crossed the finish line.

During their months of training for the race, our runners raised over $11,000 for Center for Independent Futures. Celebrate the team’s success by visiting their Crowdrise page here and clicking on the red button on the right that says “Donate to this fundraiser,” or donate to an individual runner by clicking on the names at the bottom of the page.

Team CIF will be back at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October A runner smiles with supporters at Chicago Marathon7, 2018. If you or anyone you know would like to achieve the dream of running a marathon while helping others reach their own dreams, contact Elizabeth at (847) 328-2044 or emale@independentfutures.com.

Registration opens on October 24, and spots are limited, so call or email today to guarantee your entry into this incredible event!

Success Stories

wed12dec6:30 pmwed8:00 pmSexuality & Safety - Men's Group

thu13dec6:00 pmthu8:00 pmAnime Club

fri14dec6:00 pmfri8:00 pmLadies' Night

sun16dec11:00 amsun12:15 pmBowling

mon17dec5:00 pmmon6:00 pmBook Club

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