Former First Lady Michelle Obama joined Erikson Institute on November 2, 2022 to honor Cari Sacks, a long-time Erikson Trustee and alumna (M.Ed. ’91) who has spearheaded major philanthropic efforts for the Institute, including student scholarship support and critical funding to establish Erikson’s Center for Children and Families that provides infant and early childhood mental health services in Chicago’s Little Village Community.
The graduate school’s annual event raised more than $3 million and drew more than 1,200 people to the Hilton Chicago for an inspiring and heartwarming program featuring a conversation between Mrs. Obama and Michelle Collins, a Chicago business leader and Erikson Life Trustee who grew up in the South Shore community during the same time frame as Mrs. Obama. The two women discussed their own early educational experiences, current challenges facing the field, and promising approaches.
Sacks is a major supporter of efforts to improve outcomes for young children, their families, and communities. She is a member of many nonprofit boards, including Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art where she serves as Chair. President Joe Biden recently appointed Sacks to the Board of Trustees of John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.
Erikson co-founder Barbara Taylor Bowman, who has known Sacks for decades, presented her with the Spirit of Erikson award. Governor J.B. Pritzker congratulated Sacks via video message.
Dr. Mariana Souto-Manning, President of Erikson Institute, expressed her gratitude for Sacks’ dedication to Erikson programs and initiatives. “Cari is always looking toward what could be more just and equitable. She is very committed to Chicago Public Schools, to divested communities and to making sure the future is better than the present. Erikson is better because of her,” she said.
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