Annual Event - Metropolitan Planning Council

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The Annual Event: An MPC tradition

MPC is known for convenings, and every year we host one that is our biggest, most diverse, and most elegant: Our Annual Event. The 1,000-guest banquet is a crossroads of influential decision makers and grassroots change makers from across sectors and industries. Tech entrepreneurs mingle with public radio hosts, elected officials, environmentalists, and C-suite executives in any corner of the room. 

The Annual Event centers compelling programming, thanks in part to longtime sponsor, PNC Bank. Past speakers include MacArthur "Genius" Raj Chetty, who illuminated how children's earliest lived experiences impact their economic advancement and Lonnie G. Bunch III, Founding Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, who told colorful stories behind the objects in the famed "Blacksonian". Past speakers also include President Barack Obama (during his 2004 campaign for U.S. Senate); Julia Stasch, President of The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. Honorees include King Harris, Patrick G. Ryan, John W. Rowe, Miles D. White, Andrew J. McKenna, Frank Clark and Lester Crown. 

Previous Annual Event events

Sep 21, 2022 Wednesday
Annual Event: Honor The Heritage, Embrace The Future

Morgan Manufacturing, 401 N. Morgan St. Chicago

Sep 21, 2021 Tuesday
Better//Together: Ingredients for an Equitable Recovery


Hosted by: Metropolitan Planning Council
Sep 15, 2020 Tuesday

Virtual Event

Hosted by: Metropolitan Planning Council

Speaker & Honoree:  John W. Rogers, Jr., Chairman, Co-CEO & Chief Investment Officer, Ariel Investments LLC
Moderator: Melody Spann Cooper, Chairman of Midway Broadcasting Corporation

Sep 19, 2019 Thursday
Making Positive Change

Hilton Chicago

Speaker: Raj Chetty, the William A. Ackman Professor of Economics at Harvard University and Director of Opportunity Insights
Honoree: John W. Rowe, Champion Fighter Award
Burnham Award Winner: Austin Coming Together

Sep 12, 2018 Wednesday
The Creativity Factor: How Art and Culture Impact Communities

Hilton Chicago

Speaker: Lonnie G. Bunch III, Founding Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Moderator: Joy Bivins, Chief Curator of the International African American Museum
Honoree: Patrick G. Ryan, Champion Fighter Award
Burnham Award Winner: Space to Grow

Sep 22, 2017 Friday
Creating A Winning City: The Team. The Town. The Region.

Hilton Chicago

Speaker: Tom Ricketts, Executive Chairman of the Chicago Cubs
Moderator: Natalie Moore, WBEZ’s South Side Reporter
Honoree: John A. Canning, Jr., Champion Fighter Award
Burnham Award Winner: Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail and the Cal-Sag Coalition for their plan and implementation of the Cal-Sag Trail

Jan 9, 2017 Monday
Challenging Inequality, Driving Growth: The Economic Implications of Segregation

Sheraton Grand Hotel

Speakers: Darren Walker, President of Ford Foundation, and Julia Stasch, President of MacArthur Foundation
Honoree: Chairman King Harris, Champion Fighter Award
Burnham Award Winner: The Pullman Community

Jun 3, 2015 Wednesday
Investing in Chicago's Future

Regency Ballroom, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Speakers: JB Pritzker
Honoree: Miles D. White, Champion Fighter Award
Burnham Award Winner: City of Chicago, Trust for Public Land, Chicago Park District and Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail—The 606

Aug 28, 2014 Thursday
Pat Quinn & Bruce Rauner answer

Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park

Speakers: Illinois Governor Candidates Gov. Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner 
Honoree:  W. James Farrell, Champion Fighter Award
Burnham Award Winner: City of Chicago, Trust for Public Land, Chicago Park District and Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail—The 606

Nov 1, 2013 Friday
Accelerating Change

Hyatt Regency Chicago

Speaker: Margo Georgiadis, President, Americas, Google
Honoree: Andrew J. McKenna, Champion Fighter Award
Burnham Award Winner: City of Chicago’s Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events for the Chicago Cultural Plan

Jul 25, 2012 Wednesday
The Cities That Work

Hyatt Regency Chicago

Speakers: Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
Honoree: Frank Clark, Jean Allard Regional Trailblazer Award
Burnham Award Winner: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for its GO TO 2040 regional plan

Jun 27, 2011 Monday
What, Where and How? Rethinking the Retail Landscape

Hyatt Regency Chicago

Speaker: Tom Mars, Executive VP and CAO, Walmart U.S
Moderator: Jesse Ruiz, Vice Chair of MPC’s Board of Governors
Burnham Award Winner: Magellan Development for their Lakeshore East master plan

Jun 21, 2010 Monday
Illinois: Is there a cure?

Hyatt Regency Chicago

Speakers: Illinois’ U.S. Senate Candidates Alexi Giannoulias, Mark Kirk, & LeAlan Jones
Moderator: Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief
Burnham Award Winner: Whistler Crossing, Riverdale, Ill.

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Chicago, Ill. 60603
312 922 5616

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For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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