spark 2014

Thanks to YOU the SPARK Awards Dinner was a fantastic success!

Thanks to YOU CMHEC was able to acknowledge and celebrate several people and organizations that have supported History Fair.

Thanks to YOU CMHEC raised more than $90,000 to support its work to spark students' interest in the study of history and help them develop the critical thinking skills that prepare them for college, careers, and citizenship.

Click Here to See Photographs from SPARK

Click Here to Watch a Video and Learn More about History Fair

If you would like to get involved, please contact us at 312-255-3661 or by email.

It is not too late to make a donation in honor of the 2014 awardees. If you would like to do so, please click here.


Congratulations to the 2014 SPARK Awardees

George Javaras Corporate Award

Willard Evans and Peoples Gas

will evans

peoples gas Peoples Gas made its first donation to History Fair in 1991, and it has provided nearly annual support that has continued to the present. Willard Evans, as president of Peoples Gas from 2008 to 2014, has maintained the company's commitment to high-quality education in Chicago-including support for History Fair.

Spark Catalyst Award

Frank Gelber

Frank Gelber made an extraordinary impact in supporting History Fair. As a member of CMHEC's Board of Directors, Gelber played a central role in the success of the inaugural Spark event in 2013 and setting a new standard for CMHEC's fund-raising efforts. Meanwhile, the Gelber Foundation contributed more to CMHEC than any other individual or family foundation during his tenure on the Board. frank gelber


Richard Brown Award

Kristina Valaitis and the Illinois Humanities Council

kristina valaitis

ihcSimply put, History Fair would not exist without the long-term support of the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) and Kristina Valaitis. IHC was one of the organizations that founded History Fair in 1977 and remains the single greatest donor to History Fair. As the longtime executive director of IHC, Kristina Valaitis nurtured IHC support for History Fair and served as a member of CMHEC's Board of Directors from 1994 until 2013, where she provided wise counsel and leadership.


Spark Teacher Award

Peggy Hall-Heineman

Peggy Hall-Heineman taught History Fair brilliantly for more than 30 years, beginning at Good Counsel High School in the late 1970s and continuing at Von Steuben High School until her retirement in 2011. Hall-Heineman was twice honored with teacher of the year awards during her career, and she served on CMHEC's Teacher Advisory Board for more than 25 years. In retirement, she has remained actively involved in History Fair as an volunteer and judge. hall heineman


Spark Public Service Award

Timuel Black

tim black

Timuel Black has been a leading educator and historian of African-American history in Chicago. Not content to simply teach history, Black also made history as a pioneer in Chicago's independent black political movement. Every year, History Fair students seek him out for interviews, and he is always generous with his time, knowledge, and wisdom.



Thanks to the SPARK Benefactor, Sponsors, Patrons, and Donors!

The evening would not have been a success without their support.





bmo logo

comed logo

gelber logo

peoples gas

quantum crossing logo




cole taylor logo

intren logo

loyola logo

roderick group

strata logo

David Mason & Associates

KS Energy Services

MZI Group



Dick Brown • Anne M. Burke • Sarah & Nisan Chavkin •

Debra Dana • Maria Delton • Pat Duffy • EN Engineering •

Fountain Point Resort • Roger Fross • Daniel Greene •

Diana Hess • Karen & Herb Hill • Jane Hood • Vicki Hood •

Kathy Huff • Erin Inman •  Barbara Javaras •

John Burns Construction • Glen Johnson • Ann Durkin Keating

Joan & Robert Klaus • Henkels & McCoy • William Lawlor •

Russell Lewis • Ina Marks • Maryhelen Matijevic • AJ McGinn •

Katherine McSpadden • Primera Engineers •

Aggie & Glen Przeslicke • Spencer Foundation •

Temperence Beer Company • Marci Eisenstein & John Treece •

Debra & Mark Trembacki • Frank Valadez • Kristina Valaitis •

Gail & John Ward • Michael Warnick • Lynn Weiner

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Please contact us by telephone (312-255-3661) or by email ( for more information about SPARK or History Fair.

Thanks to all of the generous sponsors and donors for making


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