5/17/2017, noon | Updated on 5/17/2017, noon



CHICAGO, IL – The impact of local nonprofit SGA Youth & Family Services (SGA) will be made stronger in the coming year, thanks to the Building on Promise Challenge Grant announced at the agency’s Annual Benefit Dinner on Thursday, May 4, 2017.

Made possible by the Joseph Pedott Family Fund, this new grant is a dollar for- dollar match, up to $1 Million, for all new and increased gifts to SGA made by May 4, 2018. Through this generous gift, SGA will be empowered to expand its services for Chicago’s most vulnerable children, youth and families through its cradle to career programs.

For Chicago-native Joe Pedott, founder of the Chia Pet and The Clapper,

this grant is personal. “I’ll never forget how, at 16 years old, I left home. I was sleeping on a cot and living off of a hot plate. A friend found me and told me about SGA. I started meeting with a counselor—someone who I could tell my grief, my problems, my frustrations.

Someone who could guide me. I will never forget where I came from. SGA was my life line and continues to be a lifeline to youth living in Chicago’s most impoverished neighborhoods.”

With more than $500,000 raised at the May 4 Benefit, a portion of which will be matched by the grant, SGA is off to a strong start towards reaching its goal of raising the full $1 Million. Gifts may be made online at sga youth.org/donate or by calling 312-447-4353.

Dr. Bruce Perry, a leader in children’s neuroscience and keynote speaker at the agency’s Benefit, spoke on the importance of interpersonal

relationships in the healthy development of an individual and society. He closed by saying, “Relationships are ultimately the glue that makes

businesses work, that makes education work, that makes mental health work, that makes family work, that makes community work. SGA creates integrated, relationally-based programs. It’s about building and maintaining enduring, meaningful relationships— and this organization is doing just that. Investing in SGA is a smart choice, not just a good choice.”

Terry Mazany, President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, was recognized at the Benefit with the Jean S. Meltzer Award for his outstanding contributions to the betterment of Chicago-area children, youth and families. In his acceptance speech, Mazany said, “During the course

of my career, there are certain organizations that deeply touch my heart, because they touch the hearts of so many others in such a humane and caring, respectful and dignified way. SGA embodies the spirit of Chicago.”

SGA also recognized Mark Stone, engineer and creator of expanded metal, with the Founders Award for his leadership in philanthropy. The inaugural Joseph Pedott Youth Leadership Award was given to Wendell Phillips Academy High School student Ibukunoluwa Shodiya for her exceptional resilience and leadership skills. CBS2 Traffic Reporter Derrick

Young served as Master of Ceremonies. Among the nearly 300 attendees at the event were Deputy Mayor Steve Koch, WBBM General Manager Marty Wilke and Tribune Media’s President/Broadcast Media Larry Wert.


Founded in 1911 by Hull House reformers, SGA helps children, families and communities facing great challenges to realize their potential. As one of the largest and most well-established human services agencies working in Chicago today, SGA serves more than 17,000 vulnerable children, youth, and families each year. With concentrated services on Chicago’s South and West sides, SGA is replacing the cycle of poverty with the Cycle of Opportunity through wraparound support services from cradle

to career. While SGA’s programs reach across the greater Chicagoland area, concentrated services are offered in the Roseland, Woodlawn and Brighton Park communities. Visit sga-youth.org to learn