Streetwise 23rd Fundraising Gala Preview - Star Eugene Monroe will Share his Personal Story

On Thursday, October 6th, 2016 from 5:30 to 8:45 p.m., StreetWise hosts their 23rd Annual Fundraising Gala at the Museum of Broadcast Communications.  More than just a magazine, the benefit supports StreetWise in helping homeless and at-risk individuals seeking to build a better life with employment opportunities,  job training and supportive social services.  Expecting more than 350 attendees, the gala will include a reception with passed hors d’oeuvres and hosted bar, raffle and live auction, a three course dinner and live music by local rock band CoverGurl.


Julie Youngquist

This year’s event features two speakers raised in poverty who overcame tremendous odds to become exceedingly successful in their professions, as well as tireless advocates for the most vulnerable in our communities.  Eugene Monroe grew up the youngest of 16 children in total poverty, and through hard work and discipline, earned millions of dollars in the NFL.  Kim Foxx was raised in the Cabrini Green housing complex, and overcame poverty to pursue a prestigious career in public service as an accomplished leader and prosecutor.


“The fundamental path to resolving poverty is to provide income generating opportunities and the dignity of employment to people facing poverty,” says Eugene Monroe.  “StreetWise does that as well as anyone and I’m excited to share my story of hope and opportunity with the Gala attendees.”


Enjoying the gala last year

Within 24 hours of entering the StreetWise door, an individual can start earning income.  Well-known on the streets of Chicago, Streetwise vendors make their own way to the Streetwise office where they pay $0.90 for the magazine they sell for $2.00, making a $1.10 profit on each sale. These are men and women who have experienced many difficult circumstances, including losing a job, death of a spouse, or a struggle with a health issue.


When they are not out selling the magazines, StreetWise vendors also receive interview training, job training, job placement, as well as housing, social services, and legal support.


Peter Kadens

"Streetwise is an incredibly special organization that provides a dignified means of addressing the crisis of poverty and homelessness, and allows individuals with immediate access to a respectable and legitimate earned income through their own hard work," said Kim Foxx.  My personal life experiences struggling with poverty taught me the importance of perseverance and dedication.  These are qualities that I see in the hard-working Streetwise vendors throughout the city, pushing to make ends meet. I am proud to celebrate these enterprising vendors at the Streetwise Gala.


Number, please

The live auction features coveted tickets to upcoming United Center concerts, a getaway to a stunning Breckenridge log cabin, a White Sox VIP experience, a trip to charming Galena, the adoption of an adorable and loving animal from the Anti-Cruelty Society, and more.  


Last year’s event raised more than $100,000, which enabled StreetWise to continue providing essential support services such as employment training, housing assistance, and financial literacy to Chicagoans fighting the crisis of poverty.


Russell Adams

Tickets are priced at $175 per adult or $1,500 for a table of ten. Streetwise is still accepting sponsors. For more details or to buy your tickets, please visit the streetwisegala website.  If you have questions, please contact [email protected]

Eugene Monroe Bio


Eugene Monroe grew up in the projects of Plainfield, NJ, the youngest of 16 children. At a young age his father lost a battle with cancer and Eugene swiftly became a man to help his mom head the household.  He had a desire to make it out of the city and poverty by using academics and football as his tools.  While the skills to play the game of football came natural, Eugene knew to separate himself he’d need to work tirelessly.  He graduated in the top 10 of his high school class and was widely regarded as the number one high school lineman (top 3 player) in the country as a senior. 


As a  four-year letterman and three-year starter at the University of Virginia, Eugene was a unanimous All-ACC selection, was voted top blocker in the conference and was regarded as the most dominating offensive lineman in college football. Drafted 8th overall by the Jaguars in the 2009 NFL Draft, Eugene started 13 of 15 games as left tackle for Jacksonville in his first year, only missing two contests due to injury.


Eugene’s value and domination on the field were confirmed yet again when the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens orchestrated a trade to acquire the star left tackle in October 2013. Eugene enjoyed great success in his time as a Raven, consistently grading as one of the best pass blockers in the NFL.


Eugene and his wife Nureya have 3 children and are Maryland residents. Eugene is an entrepreneur and investor focusing on the real estate and marijuana industries.  He now advocates for marijuana policy reform in the NFL, specifically as a natural health care alternative to opioids. Eugene dedicates a good deal of his free time to charitable endeavors geared towards lifting children out of poverty.


Photos: Courtesy of Streetwise


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