Shedd Aquarium’s annual black-tie gala, Underwater Beauty, brought together Chicago’s top philanthropic leaders to raise $1.9 million, proving to be a party with real depth.
THE PARTY Welcomed with a rhythmic drumline, guests entered a decked-out Shedd Aquarium for an inspirational evening full of surprises. Partygoers took delight in interacting with an array of species such as an incubating zebra shark egg and a parade of penguins who appeared dressed for the occasion. An aquatic presentation with a musical performance and motivational call to action encouraged guests to help the cause. Dinner was followed by towers of desserts, dancing, exhibit viewing and more.
THE PEOPLE Thanks to the aquarium’s board of trustees and co-chairs Dixie and Rick Erwin, 600 of Chicago’s leading philanthropists came together to support species from waters around the globe. Shedd President and CEO Dr. Bridget Coughlin spoke of the impact of the crowd’s generosity.
THE PINNACLE Attendees gathered in the Abbott Oceanarium for an inspiring paddle raise that generated $365,000 in contributions. These funds will support Shedd’s animal rescue, conservation and rehabilitation programs. The event ultimately raised $1.9 million, lending a helping hand to the 32,000 aquatic animals that call Shedd their home. -Chelsea Vaccaro
Photos by Bob Carl, Brenna Hernandez and Haidi Zeiger