My name is Michael Horvich. My husband Gregory Maire and I are the founders of La Casa Norte’s More Than Ever Education Scholarship Fund.
Gregory … my husband of 41 years … lived with Alzheimer’s for 12 years. He died 4 years ago.
His passing was the catalyst for beginning the Casa Norte Annual Scholarship Luncheon and the More Than Ever Education Scholarship Fund supporting La Casa Norte’s Youth in College Program.
When Gregory and I were a young couple, like probably everyone in this room has done, we talked about what it would be like to win the lottery. We talked about how wonderful it would be to be able to do significant good for others with our winnings.
We talked about how that might look and we decided that probably the best gift one could offer, would be helping a person, who otherwise might not be able to afford it, to get a college education.
Before we knew it, Gregory and I were old, and we were at the point in our life where we could do significant good for others. We met with La Casa Norte and offered a bequest on our death for a scholarship fund as well as some of Gregory’s insurance money to begin the fund immediately.
Today we are honored to celebrate our quest with La Casa Norte, the students who are part of the Youth In College Program, and everyone here at this luncheon.
I would like to propose a toast using this year's theme: Education, The Key to Success.
To you, our honored guests and supporters of the La Casa Education Scholarship Fund. You are the keys which make the fund work.
To the staff and volunteers of La Casa Norte for the tireless hours you spend in making La Casa Norte’s work the success it is. You help provide the keys which keep the doors open and help provide safe secure housing and many supportive services available every day.
To Jill Meinzer, let her rest in peace, and her family who has created a new spoke in the Education Scholarship Fund Umbrella, which will allow even more students to have access to the keys to success.
To Gregory, who in his own quiet way helped begin the More Than Ever Education Fund with the simple turning the one key by which he lived his life … compassion for self and others.
Some of our Youth in College Program Students and Staff
To our hard-working students in the Youth in College Program who astonish us with their stories, hopes, desires, passions, and hard studies. You hold close the educational keys to your True North.
Finally, we are so pleased to be able to acknowledge and celebrate the first six graduates of the Youth in College Program, please stand when I call your name.
Ricardo Delgado: Bachelors in Education December 2018.
Hasanati Zarif: Associates in Human Sciences, May 2019.
Marcelo Sandoval: Bachelors in Business administration with a minor in Accounting. July 2019.
Marksaysa Lipscomb: Associates in Liberal Arts, August 2019.
Rebecca Poit Givens: Associates in Theater Arts, Spring 2019.
Monique Harvey: Associates in Television Broadcasting, May 2019.
All of these students hold the keys to their aspirations and hopes as they walk proudly into their futures.
Gregory Maire Leadership Award Presentation
Gregory Maire, in whose memory the Annual Education Luncheon was founded, was a leader in his professional field of Architecture and Interior Design.
The Gregory Maire Leadership Award was created to recognize Chicago Area leaders and organizations in fields which reflect the work of La Casa Norte: Confronting Homelessness, Providing Education Opportunities, Support in Dementia Care, and/or LBGTQ Issues.
In 2017 the first Gregory Maire Leadership Award went to The North Shore Exchange. The organization runs two resale shops in Chicago suburbs which feature luxury and contemporary women's designer fashions and accessories, as well as stunning furniture and home décor.
One hundred percent of their proceeds go to support Chicagoland charities providing human services for children and families below the poverty level.
Thanks to their shoppers, consignors and donors; they have given away $1,500,000 in grants and in-kind giving to well-deserving charities since they opened in 2013. Several of these grants have come to La Casa Norte. A third resale shop will open in June at the Westfield Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie.
In 2018 the second Gregory Maire Leadership Award was given to The Full Bloomed Lotus Center for Self-Awareness and its founder Ramaa Krishnan.
The Full Bloomed Lotus has as it mission the integration of the intellectual strengths of the West with the intuitive gifts of the East. By addressing not just the mind, but the body and one’s energy as well, you can release your fears, and realize your dreams.
The Full Bloomed Lotus Center has supported La Casa Norte financially as well as with “hands on love.” They supported a student new winter coat drive, put together “college student care packages,” provided several meditation experiences for the Youth in College Program, and helped raise funds for the Education Scholarship Fund.
Here to present the third annual award … is my Annual Scholarship Fund Luncheon co-chairperson and friend Patti Morelle.