Fore the Macs: Playing it Forward Golf Outing 2019
Thank you for joining us at our annual
Fore the Macs: Playing it Forward Golf Outing
on Thursday, August 29, 2019 at Ridge Country Club
This annual fundraiser raises money for the Tradition of Excellence Scholarship at Mother McAuley. We are grateful to all who supported our students by participating, sponsoring, or donating to the event!
Mother McAuley presented the 2019 Caring Heart Award to Anne Czarnecki '98
Anne received the Caring Heart Award during the Dinner Par-tee. The Caring Heart Award was created in celebration of the spirited life of Caroline Griffin '12, a Mighty Mac golfer who passed away in 2015. The award is presented each year to members of the McAuley community who show courage and perseverance in the face of hardship, just as Caroline did.
"Thank you for sharing Caroline’s story with us. Her positive attitude is an inspiration, even during her biggest struggles, she was encouraging others, fiercely courageous, and grateful for her friends and most importantly, her family.
When Mary called me to let me know that I had been chosen for the Caroline Griffin Caring Heart award, she spoke about Caroline and those characteristics she held throughout her illness as a child, into her time at St. Ambrose, and in her final days here on earth. While I am lucky enough to stand here today and say I have not had to face adversity with such grace and poise as Caroline, I can tell you that I have been humbly keeping families together in the most unimaginable stressful moments of their lives over the past 12 years with Ronald McDonald House Charities.
For those of you in the room who don’t know who we are- Ronald McDonald House began in 1977 here in Chicago when a family whose daughter had leukemia saw a need for housing for parents of hospitalized children. They fundraised alongside a terrific partner like McDonald’s, to buy a beautiful 21 bedroom home, blocks from what was then Children’s Memorial Hospital. Since then, our goal is simple- keep 158 families well rested, well fed and as stress free as possible, each night throughout Chicagoland, so they can make decisions for their hospitalized child. Providing housing near children's hospitals around the world (we have over 300 Houses globally now) gives families the opportunity to choose the BEST doctor treating their child’s illness, not just the closest. Because we believe: when a child is sick, a family is sick.
I'm sure everyone in this room can agree, we would give just about anything for our children. To position our children on the BEST path to a thriving, successful and joy-filled life. I’ve seen Moms and Dads in their weakest hours, working off adrenaline and caffeine, muster courage they never knew they had until they needed it, to fight for their children. Advocate for treatment options. Champion for the best care from the best hospitals in this city. What an honor it has been to be a chapter in their book, supporting them in their fierce quest for their child’s safety, happiness and success.
You know, McAuley and Ronald McDonald House are alike in many ways. And no, not just for our love of the color RED. We both believe in the future. We believe that providing a solid foundation sets the stage for successful outcomes. We believe in the power of family.
McAuley has long been proud member of the RMH family, even before our local House in Oak Lawn was built in 2008. McAuley has been cooking meals monthly, providing Spring Cleanup activities in our yard, crafting pillows and fleece blankets for our families, nominating service-minded women to our Teen Advisory, sponsoring Bowl-a-thons, and most recently, learning the ropes within a non-profit as a summer intern. Oh, and collected a pop tab or two!
My Dad used to have this saying when it came to my Mom and I: “Beware, the bearer of the Shield” which referenced our McAuley rings- the traditional ones with the McAuley shield on them. Heading into my junior year, there was no question I would order the same exact ring my Mom had worked so hard to purchase some 25 years prior. At the time, I would roll my eyes. UGH. DAD JOKES. But looking back, I can see now he would say that phrase right when my Mom or I were about to do something hard, something courageous, something bold. I can see now it wasn’t pure teasing, it was admiration. It was his way of saying 'Wow- you gals are a force to be reckoned with!' And you know what, he was right. No regrets.
With me tonight is my Mom, who sacrificed along with my Dad to send me to McAuley because they knew a McAuley education gives a woman a lifetime advantage. I will be forever grateful Mom, thank you. Some of my classmates from 1998, whom inspire me, each having their own courageous stories worth sharing related to the medical field and beyond. My RMH family, my team at the House (with a McAuley- Cincinnati gal in the House!). My Program Director squad, made up of some of the most selfless women I’ve had the privilege of working alongside. Each of these women manage a House in the Chicagoland area and have the incredible task of vacillating from heartache to happiness within moments. I’m lucky to have your camaraderie and friendship tonight and always. And our VP team who provide wisdom and encouragement to try new things and think outside of the box. And some wonderful women leading the way in engineering, education and law, strong examples to underclass women here tonight that you can do anything you set your mind to. And my husband, Nick, who danced the night away with me on our 'first date' at my Senior Dance on 99th street 21 years ago and never looked back.
Thanks to all of you for your support and love. Thank you."
Anne Czarnecki '98 is the Program Director for Ronald McDonald House® near Advocate Children’s Hospital. She leads a team of staff, an army of volunteers, oversees family care matters, hospital relations, community outreach, fundraising and facility maintenance; all the while keeping families and children at the heart of her decisions.
Anne began her career with Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana in 2007 as Program Director for Ronald McDonald House® near Children’s Memorial Hospital. In 2012, she assumed the role of Volunteer Programs Director of Ronald McDonald House® near Lurie Children’s Hospital, a 66 bedroom House (the largest in the world at that time) in the heart of downtown Chicago. In that role, Anne directed the strategic recruitment effort and training program that prepared a philanthropic army of over 400 new volunteers, while also focusing on unique opportunities to engage businesses and organizations within the House. On average, Anne and her team coordinated 60 volunteers each day.
Today, in addition to her responsibilities at the House in Oak Lawn, Anne sits on the leadership team for the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®- which in partnership with Advocate Children’s Hospital- provides preventative and primary medical care to over 2,000 under-served children annually throughout Chicagoland. In March, 2019, Anne lead a million dollar expansion project funded by AbbVie which, among other renovations, added 5 more guest bedrooms and sustainable HVAC initiatives.
Far from a stranger of the nonprofit world, Anne brings extensive management and development experience to RMHC-CNI, raising over $15 million for cancer fighting organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training Program, American Cancer Society and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Sociology and concentration in Women’s Studies from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Caring Heart Award was created in celebration of the spirited life of Caroline Griffin, a member of the Mother McAuley Class of 2012. Caroline grew up in the Beverly community where she attended St. Barnabas. She was an avid golfer, and was part of both the Mother McAuley and St. Ambrose University golf teams. She always played with great zest and happiness for the Mighty Macs and Fighting Bees! She also was a heart transplant recipient who never let her congenital heart condition get in the way of enjoying life. While a sophomore at St. Ambrose, Caroline passed away as a result of ongoing heart issues. She is remembered for her courage and perseverance in the face of hardship, and for bringing light to all around her.
2018 - Live Like John Service and Leadership Institute
2017 - Brian and Amy O'Connell Bonner '89
Tradition of Excellence Scholarship
With proceeds from the 2018 Fore the Macs: Playing it Forward Golf Outing, the alumnae office awarded $1,000 Tradition of Excellence Scholarships to 57 members of the Class of 2023. Your assistance helps make the dream of a Mother McAuley education a reality for many families. Thank you for continuing to support the mission of Mother McAuley and all that our history and heritage commands so we remain an exceptional center of learning for young women across Chicagoland.