We are thrilled to be planning an in-person event for our 26th Annual Top Hat Ball on Saturday, February 5, 2022, at the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile.

Our Evening in the Emerald City will follow all local COVID-19 guidelines, and we will share our safety protocols in the months ahead. We will also offer a virtual experience for those who want to make a difference – from a distance from their homes, and across the miles. Check back often for event updates.


February 5, 2022

6:30 pm – 12:30 am


540 North Michigan Avenue,
Chicago, Illinois 60611 USA

Sleek comfort awaits at
Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile,
a trendy destination on Michigan Avenue.



Contact Jeannine Zupo at
jzupo@marklund.org or call (630) 593-5445.

Event Chairs

We are thrilled to once again welcome our good friends, Catie and Max Schmidt, as Event Chairs of this year’s gala. We are so confident that they will bring so much to this event through their generous circle of influence and through Catie’s great eye for decoration and style.  We are excited to see another successful year unfold under their leadership.

Event Committee

Event Vice Chairs:
Kelly & Tom Roule
Abbie Armbruster
Ana Armbruster
Jim Armbruster
Lindsey Burnette
Kim Delort
Carol Donahue
Karen J. Golden

Mike Herlihy
Sandy Herlihy
Mike Jones
Tim Kueker
Natalie Miller
Binna Porter
Bud Porter
Stacey Prentis
Zach Prentis
Cheryl Simoncelli

Auction Committee

Heather Beck
Peggy Szarzynski
Sue Wick

Friends of the Year


Sandy & Mike Herlihy

2021 – Peg and John Haskins
2020 — Becky and John Duffey
2019 — David Pierro
2018 — Jeanne and George Webster
2017 — Aon
2016 — Karen J. Golden
2015 — The Foglia Family Foundation
2014 — Bud and Jim Porter
2013 — Carol and Mike Donahue
2012 — Andrea Billhardt
2011 — Gary, Jean & Beth Lederer
2010 — George and Pam Rion
2009 — Greg Osko
2008 — Jim and Lynn Armbruster
2007 — Joel Thompson
2006 — Robert Paddock/Paddock Publications

2005 — Bruce Jensen and Gail Ludewig/Total Works
2004 — Kevin Acker/West Suburban Bank
2003 — Senator James “Pate” Philip
2002 — Everett Van Der Molen
2001 — Congressman Henry Hyde
2000 — Robert Bernard
1999 — Dennis Langley and Peter Cyrus
1999 — Senator Steven J. Rauschenberger
1998 — Robert Smetana
1998 — Gwendolyn S. Henry
1997 — Father John Guiney
1996 — James D. Anderson
1995 — Jean Jordan

1994 — Jim Ford
1993 — Dennis Zimmerman
1992 — Michael Brenan
1991 — Richard Theriault
1990 — Gale Sayers
1989 — John P. Frazee
1988 — Birger Nyborg
1987 — Paul Greening
1986 — Thomas O. Myers, Jr.
1985 — Doris Whitney
1984 — Erhardt Weidmann
1983 — Richard Rathman
1982 — Edwin Deicke
1981 — Hiriam Sibley

Top Hat History

The ball was established in 1997 when donors Jim Ford and Len Patyka chaired Marklund’s first-ever black tie gala. The event was held at the Shedd Aquarium and net $50,000, a great accomplishment for a first-year event! The ball immediately outgrew the Shedd space the following year and has moved to many venues since then, including the Field Museum, Union Station, Navy Pier, and Marriott hotels.

Since its inception, the ball has raised more than $7,591,261 in net proceeds, which has supported Marklund’s general operating and endowment funds.

Looking Back at the Top Hat Ball…
Top Hat Ball 2017
Top Hat Ball 2018
Top Hat Ball 2019
Top Hat Ball 2020