Helping Rahm Help Kids

Rahm Emanuel’s goal to unite the city’s business community to raise $50 million to help our at risk kids is spot on.

Courtesy of the Sun Times

Chicago is great because Chicago is good and our civic community knows how to collaborate for the better. Focusing that effort on our most important resource – our kids – is brilliant.

We will help and we recommend that you do too.

We also want to point out that many outstanding organizations are already in place which are already doing this important work, like the By The Hand Club For Kids, and World Sport Chicago, which was represented at Obama’s Hyde Park School gathering last Friday.

Hopefully, Chicago won’t try to reinvent the wheel, but rather will use the funds raised to grow programs which have already proven their effectiveness.

Picasso and Chicago at The Art Institute

Chicago established Picasso as a great artist in the United States.

Picasso proved Chicago knew great art.

The new exhibit at the Art Institute brings the prolific artist to life, and reminds us of our great city’s visionary and taste making history.

Don’t miss it!


Thanks to Lili Gaubin and Laura Bay for Chairing Last Night’s Opening Gala, and to BMO Harris for sponsoring the blockbuster exhibit.

Learning From and Cheering Mark Falanga

Venture philanthropists and capitalists alike can learn from Mark Falanga. In only 1/1/2 years the MMPI President reorganized Chicago’s flagship property to return it to 96% capacity and exceed income expectations, as well as turn it into a tech and venture philanthropy hub.

Not to gloat, but we predicted this kind of success when we wrote about him in the article linked below.

Mark just announced that he will be moving on to new ventures. Whatever they are, we will continue to learn from and cheer him on too.

Link to Make It Better article here.

Compassion for Others and Stronger Gun Laws

Compassion for others and stronger gun laws will Make It Better.

Guns killing children (most recently the Chicago Honor Student Hadiya Pendleton)…

Police Officers committing suicide (three in Waukegan alone recently)…,0,1239556.story

Compassion for others and stronger gun laws will Make It Better. Please act now.

HADIYA PENDLETON, Courtesy of her family via NPR and Chicago Tribune

And Suzy’s Voice Made a Difference for Over 2.7 Million Children!

Here’s a bittersweet follow-up to my prior post and invitation to write to change the world.

Rest In Peace Suzy Yehl Marta. You made a tremendous difference, healing children across the country and around the world. May your example inspire others.

Susan Yehl Marta, Founder of Rainbows For All Children.

Founder of the World’s Largest Grief Support Charity Passes Away

Suzy Yehl Marta, founder of Rainbows For All Children™, Helped Millions of Youth Grieve and Grow after Their Own Losses

Suzy Yehl Marta, founder of Rainbows For All Children, and author of Healing the Hurt, Restoring the Hope. passed away on Jan. 13, 2013 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Millions of children worldwide have Suzy to thank for building an international support network to help them through their most challenging life struggles, whether they were grieving the loss of a parent, a divorce, or some other life-altering event, such as incarceration of a loved one or having a parent deployed overseas.

Suzy’s mission to heal the hearts of children started in the Chicago area more than 30 years ago after going through her own divorce. As a single mom and working several part-time jobs, Suzy knew her sons were hurting just as much as she was ─ and her divorce was to blame. Frustrated by professionals who told her kids were resilient and discovering a void in outreach to grieving children, Suzy gathered other parent volunteers and launched weekend retreats for grieving youth through her local church and the Chicago archdiocese. In three years, 800 kids came – each one broken-hearted, angry, confused and isolated in pain.

Holding these children in her arms, and wiping away their tears, Suzy encouraged them to share and then (more importantly) listened to what they had to say. This vivid understanding of the need to reach hurting children compelled Suzy to write a curriculum that was later picked up in three Chicago-area schools. Suzy named the program “Rainbows” to note the great promise of life after one comes through the storm of hurt and grief.

The effectiveness of the program coupled with the great needs of hurting children has moved Rainbows far beyond the Chicago area. Nearly 30 years since those weekend retreats, Rainbows is now in all 50 states and 18 countries. All told, Rainbows has helped more than 2.7 million children grieve and grow after loss.

Suzy received numerous media honors including Family Circle’s “Women Who Make a Difference,” USA Today’s “People Who Make a Difference in the USA,” Newsweek’s “A New American Hero,” Woman’s Day’s “Outstanding Woman Award” and NBC’s Jefferson Award. Suzy also was the recipient of several organizational awards, including but not limited to the Mercedes Mentor Award, American Cardinals Encouragement Award from Catholic University of America and the Distinguished Service to Families Award from the Illinois Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. In 2011, Ireland’s President, Mary McAleese, honored 40 Rainbows directors and Suzy at Áras an Uachtaráin, Ireland’s White House.

Sneak Peek & Holiday Theatre Guide

My daughter, Emma, and me

Emma and me – backstage at Goodman Theatre, in costume for our December 29th matinee roles in “A Christmas Carol.” Please come and cheer us on. Emma will be the scene-stealer!

Learn more about this quintessential Chicago holiday show and other outstanding theatre options during the holidays in Make It Better’s Guide To Holiday Theatre:

The Hunger Network

Image from the Chicago Food Depository

The Chicago Food Depository is trying to raise support for 1 million meals this holiday season through” One City, One Food Drive.” One example of this collaborative effort to feed our city healthful meals is by the Lyric Opera Young Professionals Board food drive. Bring a bag of groceries, receive a discounted ticket to Hansel & Gretel. Or just bring a bag of groceries and leave it in the lobby.

Chicago is great, because Chicago is good. We know how to do world class opera and feed the hungry at the same time!

Thankful for This and You

You must also believe in the power of family, collaboration and love to make the world better, if you are reading this. Therefore, I’m most thankful for you.

I’m also most thankful that 22 family members dine together tomorrow. Below are the first 5 to arrive – from Tokyo, Chicago and London. I am blessed to have them and you in my life.

Most of my kids, home for Thanksgiving.

The Gift That Gives Your Family a Great Chicago Bond

For as little as $35, you can connect your family to Chicago’s most enduring holiday tradition forever – by endowing part of the Goodman Theatre’s classic production of A Christmas Carol.

Bonus: to create an amazing memory, give a more substantial gift and earn walk-on roles for 2 of your family members.

Learn more here: