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IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    Contact: Willa Voss

June 13, 2019                                       Development & Communications Manager

                                                                 Chicago Debates


                                                                 Direct: (312) 300-3441

Chicago Debates 8th Annual Luncheon honoring former Attorney General Lisa Madigan a Success

Chicago Debates celebrated 21 years of providing debate to Chicago Public School students at its 8th Annual Make Room for Debate Luncheon yesterday, June 12th. Former Attorney General Lisa Madigan was honored at the event with the 2019 Champion of Debate award as they celebrated the Chicago students who are becoming the next generation of leaders through the transformative activity of debate. Joining Chicago Debates and former Attorney General Madigan were Attorney General Kwame Raoul, States Attorney Kim Foxx, and CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson.

The event raised over $46,000 in less than an hour through day-of giving, with help from a matching gift of $10,000 from Third Coast Underwriters President, Marguerite Dixen, who sits on the Board of Directors. The money raised yesterday from the event will help Chicago Debates expand debate into two new schools next year, ensuring Chicago Debates reaches their goal of bringing the benefits of debate into 95 schools by 2020.

Chicago Debates’ unique program allows students to learn and engage in debate, significantly improving academic achievement. Debate is research-proven to increase GPAs, graduation rates, college readiness, and school engagement. Students develop powerful skills that help them succeed in college and career, along with leadership skills that inform every aspect of their lives. Young people who find it hard to express themselves find their voice, learn to be tenacious and resilient, and grow into leaders in their communities.

“At Chicago Debates, we are focused on Chicago and its youth.  We are committed to supporting and cultivating the academic, career, and leadership success of Chicago students,” said Dr. Toinette Gunn, Chicago Debates Executive Director. “By supporting debaters, you are investing in Chicago, our neighborhoods and helping to build a pipeline of future business, community and civic leaders.  Without a doubt, the voices of today’s debaters are those of our future leaders.”

Chicago Debates provides this form of communication learning to students in neighborhoods across the City, including some of the area’s most disadvantaged to help close the achievement gap. In total, 85 Chicago Public Schools were served and nearly 1,600 students participated during the 2018-2019 academic year. Students debate current topics and world issues, especially those subjects that affect them now and will impact their futures.

“We need everyone’s engagement and commitment to civil and productive debate to understand the problems and create the solution,” said former Attorney General Madigan in her remarks at the luncheon. “Youth who have access to the Chicago Debates program are going to be ready to take on those responsibilities. They are going to be our leaders now and in the future. It is my greatest hope that Chicago Debates’ students recognize and use their power to make our world – their world – a better place.”

The 8th Annual Make Room for Debate luncheon was co-chaired by Rishi Agrawal, Founder, The Agrawal Firm; Farissa Knox, Founder & CEO, RLM Media & WRUW Productions; and Lerry Knox, Co-Founder & CEO, Sovereign Infrastructure Group.  The event was Platinum sponsored by Allstate and Gold sponsored by Husch Blackwell, iManage, Jenner & Block, Kirkland & Ellis, Massey & Gail, Performance Trust, and Third Coast Underwriters.