One Million Degrees (OMD) celebrated its Chicago-area community college scholars at the 8th Annual Food & Wine Tasting on Friday, May 29. More than 450 OMD Scholars, alumni, civic and business leaders, and guests attended the annual fundraiser. This year’s event, held at Morgan Manufacturing, was chaired by Deb Gross and Rose Lizarraga. Mayor Rahm Emanuel served as the event’s honorary chair.
The Food & Wine Tasting featured the culinary talents of some of Chicago’s most well-known chefs who prepared savory dishes for the tasting receptions and dinner, and desserts to end the evening. Sommelier Dan Pilkey of Champagne Cattier was on hand to advise guests on a variety of wine selections throughout the evening.
At the event, City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman was presented with the OMD Civic Award in recognition of her innovative leadership and for improving the education and career opportunities for community college students in Chicago.
“Community college students often face many obstacles beyond finances that can derail them on their paths to graduation, including academic, professional and personal challenges,” said Paige Ponder, chief executive officer of One Million Degrees. “OMD has been a pioneer in this space, offering low-income community college students critical, holistic supports to help them succeed in college and beyond. We are grateful for the support we’ve received here tonight, which will help us to grow significantly over the next few years and serve thousands of community college students in Chicago and the Collar Counties.”
Lavada Smith, a mother of two and OMD Scholar at Kennedy-King College, was also a speaker during the program. She said that One Million Degrees gives people the opportunity to have hope to further their education, and that they provided her with a motivation that she did not have previously.
“The organization is an incredible support system that helped me gain confidence to take risks and try new things. I have recently been accepted to a few four-year colleges and universities, and look forward to pursuing my bachelor’s degree in the future.”
To learn more about One Million Degrees, please visit www.onemilliondegrees.org.