Make Room for Debate a rousing success

Make Room for Debate luncheon

Honoree Tom Wilson, CEO of Allstate, speaks to a full house at our first-ever luncheon.

On June 19th, almost 300 guests gathered at the University Club of Chicago for our first-ever fundraiser, Make Room for Debate. The event celebrated the CDC’s powerful debate programming for Chicago students and honored Tom Wilson, CEO of Allstate Corporation, with the Champion of Debate award. Among the attendees were Luncheon Chair Rick Godfrey of Kirkland & Ellis, Honorary Co-Chair J.C. Brizard, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Honorary Co-Chair Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Cook County Board, and David Vitale, President of the Chicago Board of Education.

Several of our current debaters, recent alums and coaches were present to greet guests and talk about their experiences with debate. The luncheon program featured a short Forum Debate between Carlos Ballesteros (Phoenix Military Academy) and LaDonna Miller (King College Prep), who debated the value of Presidential debates in American elections. CDL alumnus and Chief of Staff for the Cook County Board President Kurt Summers gave a moving reflection of the impact of debate on his life and the lives of others.

Allstate’s Tom Wilson, whose commitment to debate has had an extraordinary effect on the CDC’s capacity to reach more schools, teachers and students, was presented with the Champion of Debate award. Mr. Wilson’s reflections noted his staff’s deep commitment and passion for helping Chicago students improve their life opportunities through debate.

Under the leadership of Mr. Godfrey, Mr. Brizard, President Preckwinkle, Platinum Sponsors Allstate and Kirkland & Ellis, and many others, the event was a wonderful success, raising over $140,000 for debate in Chicago. Many thanks to all our sponsors (listed below), our event chairs, benefit committee members, board members, and student and alumni volunteers for contributing to the success of Make Room for Debate. More pictures here and on Flickr

More pictures here and on Flickr.

Thank you to our sponsors:



Northern Trust
Performance Trust
SNR Denton
Steans Family Foundation

Attucks Asset Management
Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.
Bob and Alice Chrismer
FTI Consulting
Leo Burnett
Linda & Jeffrey Wolfson Family Foundation
Massey & Gail LLP
Mayer Brown LLP
McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Ogilvy Public Relations
QuisLex, Inc.
Schiff Hardin LLP
The Sullivan Family

Holland & Knight, LLP
Sperling & Slater, P.C.
Topel Forman LLC
Nick Alexos
Thomas S. Souleles
Paul J. Finnegan
Ann & Pat Hughes

Camille Calabrese
Edie Canter and Fred Wellisch
Charles V. Doherty
Midtown Athletic Club
Mandee & Jonathan Polonsky
Millie Rosenbloom Simon and John B. Simon
Kurt Summers, Jr.
Duane Quaini
Mark Vend Co.
Betty & George Willhoite