MPC's 2017 Annual Luncheon - Metropolitan Planning Council

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MPC's 2017 Annual Luncheon

Creating A Winning City: The Team. The Town. The Region.

Tom Ricketts and Natalie Moore in conversation

Tom Ricketts, Executive Chairman of the Chicago Cubs, and Natalie Moore, WBEZ’s South Side Reporter, sat down for a conversation on the Cubs, inspiration and economic growth in Chicago at the Metropolitan Planning Council’s (MPC) Annual Luncheon on Friday, Sept. 22, at the Hilton Chicago. Nearly 800 business, government, civic and community leaders attended the luncheon, which raised more than $900,000, to hear two leaders discuss how the Cubs’ comeback story offers lessons for civic improvement in Chicagoland.

“The Cubs’ World Series victory united our region,” said MPC President MarySue Barrett. “When we cheer for shared goals, as Cubs fans did in 2016, we score big wins—whether making Chicagoland more equitable or our riverfronts more inviting, productive and living.”   

Also at the luncheon, MPC presented John A. Canning, Jr., Chairman of Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC, with an award for his extraordinary civic contributions to philanthropy and scholarship in our region.

Board member Tyronne Stoudemire leads the audience in singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"


“What does it Take to Create a Winning City?” Tom Ricketts reflected on the theme of MPC’s 2017 Annual Luncheon, responding to questions submitted via social media and curated by Natalie Moore. Ricketts discussed how the temporary unity of sport can translate into meaningful action, how to leverage excitement into investment, and how the Cubs can be the best possible neighbors to Lakeview and Chicago. 

"We’re not the Lakeview Cubs, the Wrigleyville Cubs, we’re the Chicago Cubs," Ricketts said. "We give money. We’re trying to do something in every neighborhood, in every ward. It’s not just dollars. Our associates donated 1700 hours of community service this year."

Moore and Ricketts discussed Chicagoland's larger social issues. “Segregation is something that we live and breathe," Moore said. "MPC’s [Cost of Segregation] report talks about how we’re leaving people behind—whether you live in the heart of Chicago or in an exurb, you’re impacted by it."

“When Tom [Ricketts] and his family were introduced as the new owners [of the Chicago Cubs], he outlined three goals for the organization: win the World Series; preserve and improve Wrigley Field for future generations; and be good neighbors, giving back to the city and the team’s North Side neighborhood,” said Scott Swanson, President of PNC Bank of Illinois, who introduced the keynote.

Since 1934, MPC has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area’s toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow.


MPC proudly presented John A. Canning, Jr., Chairman of Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC, with the Champion Fighter Award for his determined work to ensure a sustainable, equitable and competitive future for the Chicago region. King Harris—Chairman of the Illinois Housing Development Authority and Harris Holdings, Inc., President of the Harris Family Foundation, MPC senior fellow, and MPC’s 2016 Champion Fighter—presented the award to Canning.

John Canning accepts the Champion Fighter Award

At Madison Dearborn Partners, John has “made huge impact on companies looking to transform, grow or improve their businesses,” Harris said. “But outside the board room, he—along with his wife Rita—have transformed thousands of lives of those who face some of the toughest challenges imaginable. 

Throughout John’s 35+ years in private equity investing, he and Rita Canning have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to philanthropy and scholarship. The Cannings provide 100 scholarships each year to parochial schools for students who wish to attend but can’t afford to do so. And they fund undergraduate and community college scholarships for students who have surmounted hurdles posed by socioeconomic hardship and domestic violence to help secure their future success. The Cannings generously support WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger) which provides shelter and services to abused women and their children.

John’s commitments range from corporate boards like Corning, Exelon and the Milwaukee Brewers to civic institutions like Northwestern University, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Museum of Science and Industry, and the Economic Club of Chicago. He is a former Trustee and Chairman of the Chicago Community Trust, a Trustee and former Chairman of The Field Museum, and former Director and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

John A. Canning, Jr. is also Co-Chairman of the Big Shoulders Fund. In this role, John has helped raise more than $100 million for urban parochial schools which serve 24,000 students, 80 percent of color and 62 percent from families that are living at or below the poverty level.

MPC established the Champion Fighter Award in 1959, as a special honor for individuals who have exemplified the concept of responsible leadership on behalf of the public interest. Previous award winners include Mayor Richard J. Daley; Ferd Kramer, founder, Draper and Kramer; Dorothy J. Rubel, longtime MPC executive director; Lester Crown, chairman, Henry Crown & Company; and W. James Farrell, former CEO, Illinois Tool Works Inc. 


The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is pleased to honor the Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail and the Cal-Sag Coalition with the 2017 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning.

Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail, delighted to accept the 2017 Burnham Award for Excellence In Planning

Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail is a dedicated group of volunteers, trail users, trail advocates, business people, bicyclists, walkers and naturalists. The Cal-Sag Coalition is an intergovernmental, public-private partnership between 14 communities.

Together these organizations are building the Cal-Sag Trail, a multi-use path along the banks of the Cal-Sag Channel and Calumet River that will one day extend from Lemont to Calumet City. The 26-mile-long trail will connect 185,000 people to jobs, open space, and each other.

The story of the Cal-Sag Trail’s development exemplifies the power of volunteers and governments to advance a shared strategic vision that builds community and enriches Chicagoland’s underutilized spaces.

“The Cal-Sag Trail demonstrates the value of wonderful, large-scale projects that result from residents and government working together,” said MPC President MarySue Barrett.

Since 1988, MPC’s Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning—named in honor of Daniel H. Burnham, creator of the 1909 Plan of Chicago—has encouraged sensible growth by honoring innovative and visionary planning and implementation in the Chicago metropolitan region.


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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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