When you’re serving 20,000 area alumni and friends, it helps to break things down. That’s why the Notre Dame Club of Chicago has several target categories of events among the 150 it hosts per year.
Classic social events build camaraderie. Those range from hockey games and wine tastings for the Young Alumni subgroup, to yoga nights and book-club meetings for the newer Women Connect affinity group. Even fun events often have a charitable purpose, such as Bookstore Basketball, a five-on-five competition modeled after the annual campus tournament. The club sponsored the tournament annually in the ’90s, then brought it back in 2014. Proceeds benefit the club’s operations and scholarships.
Direct-service events are mainstays as well. Every month, dedicated members serve dinner at the Ronald McDonald House and the Lincoln Park Community Shelter, along with the West Side’s Mission of Our Lady of the Angels, where they also help distribute food-pantry items and clothing. Partnerships with Catholic Charities are also frequent; last fall the club held a friendly competition with Boston College’s local alumni club to see who could pack Catholic Charities’ senior-citizen food boxes faster.
And of course, professional networking abounds. “Because we are situated downtown and working with a lot of working professionals, networking is a hallmark of our club,” says director Lauren McCallick (ND ’11). Around 100 participants attend the breakfast mixers held every other month. Popular Mendoza professor Carl Ackermann spoke about personal finance at one recent event.
Underpinning all of the club’s activities is help for the next generation of Notre Dame students. Founded in 1897, the Notre Dame Club of Chicago is its own 501(c)3 nonprofit, supporting 80 ND students per year with scholarships. That motivates president Kristen Magee (ND ’05). “It’s really fulfilling to help plan events, give back, and raise money so that other people have the same opportunities,” she says.
Current President: Kristen Magee (ND ’05)
Number of Members: 1,265
Year Established: 1897
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