Writing love letters to a broken world

“We’re writing love letters to a broken world.” – Bonnie McElveen-Hunter

My favorite sentence of the entire, incredible Tiffany Circle International Weekend came from Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, American Red Cross Chair, former US Ambassador to Finland and Founder and CEO of Pace Communications as she described the gathering and the work of the Red Cross:

“We’re writing love letters to a broken world.”

Isn’t that the work we are all meant to do? Amplify the good in our lives with love and help those less fortunate than us?

How proud I am to return home and realize that our Make It Better Philanthropy Award videos and other content do just that! Please see and enjoy too:


I thank MatchCut Video – particularly Producer Adam Rubin and Founding Partner David Canada – and Make It Better staff – CoFounder & VP Mindy Fauntleroy, EIC Julie Chernoff, Editors Lindsay Roseman, Coco Keevan and Anna Carlson, COO Sandy Tsuchida, Art Director Sarah Philippart, Graphic Artist Lesley Smith and Director Of Community Development Denise Borkowski, Ad Sales Manager Megan Holbrook and her talented staff of Patti Augustyn, Julie Carter and Jenny Newman. Their work is extraordinary.

This is my love letter to them. Their good work makes me want to jump for joy, just like these students at Philanthropy Award Winner Y.O.U.:

Dream Big & Like, Friend, Follow, Fan, Connect & Subscribe

Dream Big & Like, Friend, Follow, Fan, Connect & Subscribe

“Dream big, connect to Make It Better, and we’ll help.”

– Susan B. Noyes, Mindy Fauntleroy, Julie Chernoff, Kimberly Carroll, Sarah Philippart, Lindsay Roseman, Coco Keevan, Leslie Smith, Anna Carlson et al

Please connect here:

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I’m Thankful For You Too

I’m thankful for my healthy family gathering around our Thanksgiving table tomorrow.

I am also thankful for my work family – the talented, dedicated Make It Better staff, editors and advertising partners.

I’m particularly thankful for this executive team. They work miracles large and small each day:

Mindy Fauntleroy

Sandy Tschida

Megan Holbrook

She Who Must Not Be Named

And I am most thankful for you, too. Your attention is valuable, your intentions powerful. Happy Thanksgiving.

Changed For The Better

Because we know the multitudinously talented Julie Chernoff – our Editor In Chief – we’re changed for the better too.

Julie Chernoff and Matthew Hunter sang a beautiful rendition of Wicked’s “For Good” at a Cabaret benefitting the Evanston Dance Ensemble. Matthew Hunter teaches Music at King Literary and Fine Arts School and Chute Middle School in Evanston, IL. Read his full bio here: http://mhuntermusic.weebly.com/bio.html 

The performance:

Sunshine In A Glass

Sometimes, all you need to make it better is a good cocktail.

The name of this drink, recommended by uber-talented Julie Chernoff, says it all – “Sunshine In A Glass.” And it is so easy to make!

Serves 2:

2 ounces gin
2 ounces Lillet Blanc
3 ounces fresh grapefruit juice (preferably pink)
Combine ingredients in a large shaker with ice. Shake and strain into two ice-cold martini glasses. Garnish each glass with a wheel of pink grapefruit. Imbibe and enjoy.

Julie also recommends the book “The Drunken Botanist” by Amy Stewart for more “aahhh” inspiration. Learn more here.

Recommended – The Dinner Party, by Fear No Art

The Dinner Party Host and Producer – Elizabeth Alfano

Once a month, Elizabeth Alfano hosts the ultimate social networking, entertaining dinner party at “Mayne Stage.” The Dinner Party showcases great Chicago chefs and three accomplished Chicago artists from various genres – music, theatre, visual arts, media.

Audience members tweet questions to the guests and win prizes, Time Out Chicago streams it live, everyone has a blast.

Watch for Julie Chernoff’s upcoming interview of Elizabeth. And log on to purchase tickets for the February 25 show featuring Chicago Opera Theater, ABC’s The Practice Michael Patrick Thornton, Artistic Director of The Seldoms Carrie Hanson, food by Homaro Cantu of MOTO, and opening act Dolly Varden here.

Alfano is doing all she can to nurture passions and creativity that will make the world a more artistic and better place through Fear No Art. We hope to nurture Alfano.

Latke Fest

A biting wit and decades of culinary experience accompany every bite Make It Better’s Julie Chernoff makes, takes or serves – making her a most discriminating and entertaining chef, writer, diner, hostess, and friend.

My favorite foodie does so much more too. Julie is also an accomplished singer and community leader who lovingly tends her historic Daniel Burham home — as well as a Yale graduate, rock star chef, galas galore chairwoman, former Evanston School Board member & Woman’s Club President, and Community Foundation board member.

With her talents, heart and social network, it’s no surprise that Julie and family throw a fabulous Latke Fest, where the best flavors of Hanukkah combine with a most engaging group of friends. Thank you Julie for shining your Hanukkah light on me and making my holidays better!

The Real Stars Last Night

Bart & Catherine Rocca, Lyric General Director Anthony Freud, my mother Virginia Blankenbaker, Brian Mulligan (performs Father), me, Josh and Julie Chernoff, my husband Nick.

Hansel and Gretel opened last night at Lyric Opera. It’s fabulous.

Above are Bart & Catherine Rocca, Lyric General Director Anthony Freud, Virginia Blankenbaker, Brian Mulligan (performs Father), me, Josh and Julie Chernoff, Nick.

The performances, staging, orchestra were sublime. But the true star of this show is Anthony Freud, for creating the original production when he was General Director of Welsh National Opera, in partnership with Lyric, and now bringing it to life here with such passion.

 Anthony Freud, me, delightfully wicked witch Jill Grove, Lyric President Ken Piggott and his wife Jane.

Anthony Freud, me, delightfully wicked witch Jill Grove, Lyric President Ken Piggott and his wife Jane.

The other star of the evening, for me, was my mom – for being there.

Our IWPA Award Winners

Congratulations to our very talented Make It Better staff who won oodles of Illinois Women’s Press Association awards! Go Team!

Art Director Jessica DeJong – 1st place: Newspaper, trade paper, magazine, newsletter, or website campaign: nuHaus campaign

Art Director Jessica DeJong – 1st place: Page layout, publication, magazine, supplement

Graphic Arts Department Kari Owens, Jessica DeJong and Sarah Phillipart (joint award) – 1st place: Public Relations/Promotions/Publicity: Cause ‘N Effect

Editor In Chief Laura Hine – 1st place: Publications Regularly Edited by Entrant, Magazine (submitted the May & December 2011 issues)

Design Assistant and Illustrator Megan Aronsen– 1st place: Headlines and Original Graphics: Cover, 2011 Guide to Giving and Blended Family History Article Installation

Design Assistant and Illustrator Megan Aronsen – 2nd place: Advertising, Print Media Advertising – Institutional: Better Letter Web Ad

Designer Sarah Phillipart – 2nd place: Advertising, Print Media Advertising – Retail Product: Forest Bootery Campaign

Founder Susan B. Noyes – 2nd place: Columns, Person Opinion: SOS Shop Our Stores, Be Inspired By Nancy

Food Editor – Julie Chernoff – 1st place: specialty articles, food; 1st place: Personality Profile, 500 words or less; 1st place: Specialty articles, reviews