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Northwestern hosts seventh annual Evanston MashUp

Sponsored by City, University and Evanston Chamber of Commerce

  • The annual MashUp brings all of Evanston under one big tent
  • Co-captains are Northwestern President Schapiro and Evanston Mayor Tisdahl
  • Honorees include Northwestern/Evanston Skilled Trades Training Program
  • Also honored were Colonel Jennifer Pritzker and Dawn Overend of Tawani

EVANSTON - The seventh annual Evanston MashUp brought all of Evanston under one big tent again this year on Northwestern University’s lakefront, and this year’s event honored the Northwestern and Evanston Skilled Trades Training Program.

Evanston MashUp, co-captained by Northwestern President Morton Schapiro and Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, is a festive evening of conversation and connections, fine food and music, bringing together more than 500 individuals -- from entrepreneurs to executives, artists to accountants and city leaders to CEOs.

“A community that connects and knows each other has a high chance of doing well,” said one of the MashUp’s co-chairs, Patrick Hughes, owner of Inclusion Solutions, a small business in West Evanston. “We produced the MashUp to bring different circles of influence together and to just see what magic would happen.”

“Seven years ago when we launched the MashUp, Evanston and Northwestern faced some challenges in their town/gown relationship,” Hughes added. “The mayor, the president and many others have worked diligently to improve relations, and they have had great success. This is a big deal. We’d like to think that the MashUp and all it stands for — bringing Evanstonians together under one big tent — has helped a little to bridge the gap.”

The Evanston MashUp was co-chaired by 10 Evanstonians including representatives from the business community, the City, philanthropy and the University, and it boasted 160 hosts —including former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley Braun — who served as MashUp ambassadors.

President Schapiro and Mayor Tisdahl embody the spirit of collaboration and demonstrated the positive impact of powerful partnership that is just one of Evanston’s unique characteristics. Each year they present the Catalyst Award to a person or organization in Evanston that embodies this spirit and is a spark for positive impact.

Coordinated by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, the MashUp featured a “Taste of Evanston” with delectable bites and drinks from more than 30 of Evanston’s most popular restaurants — from Amanacer Breakfast Tacos to Andy’s Frozen Custard, from Boltwood to Farmhouse, Vinic Wine Company to World of Beer and many more.

Evanston DJ Craig Likhite spun MashUp tunes, and guests enjoyed lawn fun and games: ping pong, giant jenga and a hula hoop contest, as well as WTTW’s “Wild Chicago” host, Ben Hollis. Talented entertainers from The Actors Gymnasium regaled guests with stilt walking and glow dancing.

A MashUp highlight was the award presentations to the winners of the Evanston/Northwestern Catalyst Award and the Corrine Passage Spirit of Evanston Award. The MashUp also awarded its first philanthropic gift this year, granting support to an outstanding organization.   

The Evanston/Northwestern Catalyst Award was presented to the Northwestern/Evanston Skilled Trades Training Program for its unique and extraordinary commitment to training and employing Evanston’s young adults. Its inaugural cohort in April of 2015 trained six young Evanstonians in Northwestern’s painting and carpentry divisions. All six of the trainees have since received full-time employment in stable careers, four of them hired at Northwestern. The next cohort of six is underway now, and they are working in the engineering and electrical divisions of the University. 

Colonel Jennifer Pritzker and Dawn Overend of Tawani Enterprises and the Tawani Foundation was recognized with the Corrine Passage Spirit of Evanston Award. Pritzker and Overend’s investment in Evanston is evidenced by their support of such organizations as the Evanston Art Center, Evanston Community Foundation, McGaw YMCA, The Mitchell Museum of American Art, Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) and many more. MashUp organizers solicited nominees from the community for the Corrine Passage Spirit of Evanston Award via social media.

Chairs of the MashUp included Alan Anderson, Northwestern University; Adrian Brewington, Hilton Garden Inn; Monique Brunson Jones, Evanston Community Foundation; Carole Cahill, Kellogg School of Management; Joseph Flanagan, Acquirent; Steve Hagerty, Hagerty Consulting; Patrick Hughes, Jr., Inclusion Solutions; Elaine Kemna-Irish, Evanston Chamber of Commerce; Johanna Leonard, City of Evanston; and Jay Ryan, Accuity. Leadership of the MashUp includes Annie Coakley, Downtown Evanston; Vincent Doyle, Bagel Art; Ahmadou Drame, Evanston Township High School; Keith Glantz, Glantz Design; Jeff Klug, Zephyr Media Group; Lisa McGowan, A Wondrous Affair; and Maureen Palchak, Northwestern Athletics.

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