CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs celebrated their commitment to the Lakeview community and Chicago during the annual tree lighting ceremony at Gallagher Way. Chicago Cubs Board Member and Cubs Charities Board Chair Laura Ricketts was on hand to light the 30-foot Norway Spruce tree from Kaneville, Illinois, with help from the 2019 Cubs Scholars. The Norway Spruce tree is the tallest tree to date at Winterland at Gallagher Way. Hundreds of neighborhood residents and fans attended the annual tradition in front of the Wrigley Field Marquee.
The tree lighting ceremony also featured performances by Hamilton Elementary School, Senn Arts Advanced Vocal Ensemble and Chicago Red Line, a local synchronized skating team. During the ceremony, Ricketts highlighted the Cubs’ efforts to be a good neighbor by making Gallagher Way a family-friendly destination.
“We made a promise 10 years ago to be a good neighbor to the local Lakeview community and we stand by that promise today,” said Ricketts. “Creating this space for neighborhood residents and all of Chicago to enjoy is one of the many ways we are staying true to our commitment.”
Cubs Scholar and Lake View High School student Alexandra Nevarez shared her personal experience with Cubs Charities at the tree lighting ceremony during a heartfelt speech.
“As a young girl, I dreamed about reaching up to the sky and touching the stars which seemed impossible back then,” said Nevarez. “But now, with the help from Cubs Charities, no limit is too high to reach. So, thank you to all who are here and thank you to all in the organization for making Chicago a city of opportunities for teens like me.”
Ricketts also highlighted the impactful work Cubs Charities is doing across Chicago and in the local Lakeview community.
“The generous donations Cubs Charities receives from fans, neighbors and community members allows us to serve Chicago’s youth through charitable programs like Cubs Scholars and the Diamond Project,” said Ricketts. “We look forward to continuing this work and making a greater impact on the children and youth in Chicago.”
Through the Diamond Project, Cubs Charities is focused on the power of sport to transform lives through quality programming with skilled coaches and providing safe and accessible places to play the game. In 2019, Cubs Charities contributed to 12 capital improvement projects at parks throughout Chicago and served more than 3,700 youth through Cubs Junior All-Stars, a program for children blending diamond sport instruction with activities that build social emotional skills.
Cubs Charities, in partnership with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, also contributed more than $4.7 million to programs strengthening youth health, wellness and education. A total of $500,000 was granted to Lakeview-area preschools and elementary schools for the third-straight year through All-Star Grants.
This holiday season, Cubs Charities will have supported children and families in need by donating toys to children at Children’s Home & Aid, serving Thanksgiving dinner to homeless youth in Lakeview with the National Runaway Safeline and creating flower arrangements to donate to patients at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, to name a few.
After the ceremony, fans and neighbors skated with Clark the Cub, shopped at Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville and enjoyed the many surrounding restaurants at Gallagher Way.