500 Guests Helped Erikson Institute Celebrate 40th Anniversary at Prism Ball

Black-tie affair honoring J.B. Pritzker raised a record $1.1 million

More than 500 notables in education, finance, philanthropy and real estate gathered at the Museum of Science & Industry on Saturday, May 19, to help Erikson Institute celebrate 40 years as leaders in child development at its annual Prism Ball. The black-tie benefit for the Institute’s education and research programs raised more than $1.1 million—a new record.

“The generous outpouring of support at the Prism Ball reflects both a growing recognition that the first years of a child’s life are the most important, and a deep commitment to improving care and education in those years,” said Erikson Institute President Samuel J. Meisels.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Spirit of Erikson Institute Award to Chicago philanthropist J.B. Pritzker, in recognition of his work on the Children’s Initiative, a project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation. The Spirit of Erikson Institute Award is presented each year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the education and healthy development of young children.

Presiding over the black-tie affair were Prism Ball Chairs Sunny and Gery Chico, former president of the Chicago Board of Education. Michael W. Ferro, Jr., founder and CEO of Merrick Ventures, LLC, and Erikson Institute Board of Trustees Chair Richard P. Kiphart were cochairs.

Over cocktails and after an elegant dinner, guests bid on silent auction packages that included a luxury vacation to Narita, Japan; a spa and golf resort package in Ojai, Calif.; airfare to Europe; and exquisite jewelry. They danced the night away to music by the Gentlemen of Leisure.

Past recipients of the Spirit of Erikson Institute Award include Irving B. Harris; Marjorie Craig Benton; Gery J. Chico; Martin J. Koldyke; John W. Rogers, Jr.; Sandra P. Guthman; Barbara T. Bowman; Michael J. and Shirley R. Madigan; Michael P. Krasny and CDW; Harrison I. Steans; James C. Tyree; and John W. Rowe.

About Erikson Institute: As the nation’s only graduate school to focus exclusively on child development from birth to age eight, Erikson Institute is an independent institution of higher education that prepares child development professionals for leadership through its academic programs, applied research and community involvement. Now in its 40th year, Erikson Institute advances the ability of educators, practitioners, researchers and decision-makers to improve the lives of children and their families.