Action and Advocacy Celebrated at Big Fish Ball

Board member and gala committee chair Ryan Christopher Green (left) and attendees from Waterton and Leadership Greater Chicago enjoy the festivities at the Big Fish Ball.

The beauty and vibrancy of the Chicago and Calumet rivers and their tributaries was on full display June 1 as hundreds of supporters, civic leaders, and partners gathered at the 15th Annual Big Fish Ball, our largest fundraising event of the year.

Big Fish Ball revelers – including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, numerous MWRD Commissioners, Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, and city leaders – celebrated the action and advocacy of Friends as the voice of the Chicago-Calumet River system.

“The Big Fish Ball is a special evening to reflect on our accomplishments and re-dedicate ourselves to strong advocacy, creative solutions, and bold action that have transformed the Chicago and Calumet rivers,” said Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River. “We are honored to serve as the voice for clean water, healthy habitat, public access, and investments that realize our vision of the river system as a connected, blue-green corridor of natural open space.”

At the gala event, attendees had an extraordinary opportunity to get up close to wildlife including a Canadian lynx, an alligator, a Burmese python, several species of owls, a Blanding’s turtle, a possum, and a skunk. The festivities were held at the Westin Chicago River North hotel overlooking the Chicago River. The evening was capped by a beautiful After Party Cruise on the Chicago River.

The Big Fish Ball is an accumulation of the hard work and commitment our gala committee, chaired by board member Ryan Christopher Green as well as volunteers, donors, and partners who are dedicated to the improvement and protection of the Chicago-Calumet River system.

A special thank you to our Big Fish Ball sponsors including our Presenting Sponsor McDermott Will & Emery and the nearly 40 sponsors whose generosity made the celebration possible.