The Cove School Finds Its “Outstanding” at Benefit Gala

The Cove School Finds Its “Outstanding” at Benefit Gala

Attendees participate in the Paddle Raise.

Under the theme of “Find Your Outstanding,” The Cove School and its unbelievable community did that and much more at their record-breaking Annual Benefit. The event drew together Cove parents, alumni, faculty, board members, and corporate sponsors, as well as friends and guests, to celebrate and raise funds for a school that for over 70 years has continued to provide the highest level of support for students with learning disabilities.

The event took place on Saturday, February 24th at The Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, IL. With over 550 people in attendance, the room was filled with an incredible joy and spirit. Cove is so grateful for its many supporters, most of whom have had their lives touched by the school in one or more ways. During the evening, benefit attendees had the opportunity to bid on silent and live auction items. Electronic bidding made the silent auction lively and competitive until the very last minute, raising over $70,000! Live auction packages this year included golf, wine, and unique travel experiences, as well as Taylor Swift tickets and a dugout hangout with Theo Epstein! This year’s “Golden Paddle Raffle” winners were Glenn and Ellie Johnson of Wilmette, who won a paddle valued at $5,000, which they used to bid on a music package. Dinner, a paddle raise, and dancing to the sounds of “Standing Room Only” were also part of the evening. The Benefit grossed over $690,000, a new high for the event.

Leading the way as the Event Chair this year was Debra Johnson of Barrington. The live auction was chaired by Howard and Betsy Ellen of Vernon Hills. The silent auction chair was Courtney Jack of Winnetka. The alumni chairs were Rebecca Blase of Northbrook and Betsy Crosswhite of Wilmette. The Benefit advisors were Lisa Flanagan of Winnetka and Beverly Petersen of Winnetka. Finally, the Young Professionals for Cove (YPC) chair this year was Sean Regan of Chicago. All of these individuals have worked incredibly hard to bring in larger than ever donations for this year’s event.

The Cove School is grateful for its corporate sponsors who helped underwrite the event. They included: Academic Approach, Barnett Capital, BMO Wealth Management, American Chemet Corporation, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HCI Equity Partners, Vedder Price, Drinker Biddle and G&O Thermal. “Friends of Cove” included: Eyes on the Lake, The Medel/Wiedmayer Family, Paul and Mary Lee Puccini, and Queue Marketing Communications Group.

This year, Cove honored longtime board member and former Board President Dean Gerber of Chicago with its annual Prism Award. Mr. Gerber served on The Cove School board from 2005-2015 and was President of the Board from 2012-2015. He is the Chair of the Global Transportation Finance team at Vedder Price and serves on the firm’s Executive Committee. Dean lives with his wife of 27 years Minda and his sons, Justin and Noah.

To support Cove or get more information, visit, or contact Stephanie Sanderman, Director of Development, at