GCYC Benefit Luncheon was a Huge Success!

Redefining Possible on Chicago's South Side

Nearly 600 guests attended the luncheon to invest in a truly local mission at a time when our city’s young people need critical interventions. Watch our video and see event photos below.

Our speakers and special guests

Juan Salgado

Juan Salgado, Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago, has focused his 20-year career on improving education and economic opportunities for residents in low-income communities. In his current role, he oversees City Colleges of Chicago, where more than 90,000 students are enrolled across seven colleges. His background includes serving as CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino from 2001 to 2017, opening Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy charter school, and serving as Program Director for The Resurrection Project. In 2015, Juan was nationally recognized as a recipient of the prestigious “MacArthur Genius” award. Juan is a community college graduate himself, receiving an AA (1989) from Moraine Valley Community College, a BA (1991) from Illinois Wesleyan University, and a MUP (1993) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Topel A. Wright

Topel met the late Gary Comer in 2000 when she graduated from his alma mater Paul Revere Elementary. After graduating from Kenwood Academy, Topel earned her BA (2009) from Loyola University Chicago on a special scholarship from the Comer Foundation. Topel worked as a tutor at GCYC throughout college and continues to mentor GCYC students and give back to the community.  Comer invited and supported her application for a professional internship, where, Topel landed her first employment opportunity in banking. Topel is now an Officer at CIBC Bank USA working in the risk/data analytics group.

Musa Killins

Musa was a member of GCYC throughout high school, attending programs in video and film editing, journalism, urban agriculture and technology. He graduated from Walter Payton College Prep in 2014 and entered college to study technology and network security. Musa became a Year Up Graduate in 2016 and was hired by ZS Associates as an IT Operations Assistant. Musa continues to work in this role full time and pursue his degree in Computer Engineering at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Breana Brown

Breana graduated from Gary Comer College Prep in the inaugural class of 2012. She went on to become the first in her family to graduate from college, earning her bachelor’s degree in English Studies from Illinois State University (2017). The leadership skills she developed at GCYC and as an UtmostU Peer Alumni Coordinator for ISU Freshmen have positioned her for a fulfilling career. She is currently a Student Experience Coordinator at National Louis University.

Thank you to our sponsors


Berbee Walsh Foundation

Comer Family Foundation

Walter & Karla Goldschmidt Foundation

Patrick G. & Shirley W. Ryan Foundation

Silvio B. Troianello & The Koropp Family


Rooney Family

Rosenfield Family

Urban Partnership Bank


BMO Harris Bank

Kay & Fred Krehbiel

Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation

Annamarie Weaver


Ariel Investments

Bernstein Private Wealth Management


Guy & Courtney Comer

Stephanie Comer & Rob Craigie

Craig J. Duchossois

Diverse Facility Solutions

Dixon Midland Company


GCM Grosvenor

Harris Family Foundation

Karen Z. Gray-Krehbiel & John H. Krehbiel, Jr. 

William Jentes

Loeb & Loeb LLP

McClain & Canoy

Merit Advisors 

William E. Wolf & Meredith Bluhm-Wolf


Erin McDonald Design

Anna Posey



Thanks to our many supporters and inspiring speakers who helped "Locally Grown" become our largest and most successful luncheon to date.

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