The After School Matters Annual Gala, held on Monday, September 19, 2016, brought approximately 1,000 civic, corporate and community leaders to Navy Pier.

The event celebrated 25 years of successfully providing afterschool and summer programs to Chicago teenagers, during which more than 200,000 teens have participated in the nonprofit organization’s hands-on, project-based afterschool and summer programs in the arts, communications, science, sports, and technology. This year alone, After School Matters provided 23,000 opportunities for Chicago teenagers to participate in the organization’s programs, which provide youth with an opportunity to explore and develop their talents while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond.

The gala was presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and hosted by the After School Matters Board of Directors. Gala Co-Chairs included Mellody Hobson and George Lucas, Denise and Matt Gibson, D’Rita and Robbie Robinson, and Dona and Sam Scott. Honorary Chairs included Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Amy Rule, and Richard M. Daley. 

1. After School Matters Annual Gala

Chicago teens Alex, Jada, Juan, and Dorinda from After School Matters programs in science, technology and art joined by CEO Mary Ellen Caron and Board Chair Mellody Hobson at the After School Matters Annual Gala on September 19, 2016 at Navy Pier.

2. After School Matters Annual Gala

Maurice Smith, CEO of presenting sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, speaks with a teen in a glassblowing program about her work at the After School Matters Annual Gala.

3. After School Matters Annual Gala

Board member Nora Daley with an After School Matters teen in a graphic design program during in the teen gallery reception of the After School Matters Annual Gala at Navy Pier on September 19, 2016.

4. After School Matters Annual Gala

After School Matters Life Director Cheryl Thomas (far left), Gala Arrangements Committee Chair Deborah Marchese (left center), Sharon Rice (left right), and Gala Arrangements Committee member Charlie Rice-Minoso (right) enjoy the reception at After School Matters Gala at Navy Pier.

5. After School Matters Annual Gala

After School Matters Board Member Matt Gibson (left) speaks with After School Matters alumnus Jeff Lock (center) and guest Helena Yeatman during the reception of the After School Matters Annual Gala on September 19, 2016.

6. After School Matters Annual Gala

After School Matters Honorary Gala Chair and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel with After School Matters CEO Mary Ellen Caron and Chicago teens in the teen gallery at After School Matters Annual Gala at Navy Pier on September 19, 2016.

7. After School Matters Annual Gala

After School Matters supporters Marko Iglendza (far left), Linda Johnson Rice (left center), Neal Zucker (right center), and Desirée Rogers (far right) enjoy the reception at Navy Pier for After School Matters Annual Gala on September 19, 2016.

8. After School Matters Annual Gala

After School Matters Board Member Nora Daley poses with John Rogers (left) and Martin Nesbitt (right) at the After School Matters Annual Gala on September 19, 2016 at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier.

9. After School Matters Annual Gala

Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza poses with teens in a jewelry program wearing the necklaces the teens made during the reception for the After School Matters Annual Gala at Navy Pier’s Lakeview Terrace on September 19, 2016.

10. After School Matters Annual Gala

Youth advocates Fr. Michael Pfleger, After School Matters CEO Mary Ellen Caron, managing partner of Emerson Collective Arne Duncan, and After School Matters Gala Co-Chairs Dona and Sam Scott pose in the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier on September 19, 2016 at the After School Matters Annual Gala.

11. After School Matters Annual Gala

Teens in two vocal arts programs join forces for a performance at After School Matters Annual Gala on September 19, 2016.

12. After School Matters Annual Gala

After School Matters Board chair Mellody Hobson address the crowd of more than 800 supporters in Navy Pier’s Aon Grand Ballroom on September 19, 2016.

13. After School Matters Annual Gala

Chicago teen Maurice R. plays a guitar solo during the After School Matters Annual Gala teen performances at Navy Pier on September 19, 2016.

14. After School Matters Annual Gala

In honor of the Annual Gala, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield headquarters skyscraper on Randolph Street was lit up to read “AFTER SCHOOL MATTERS” during the evening of September 19, 2016 in a show of support for the organization and its mission.

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