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GSF Foundation Helps Expand Carousel of Possible Dreams, Raises Record $226,000

(L to r) Collin Sanderson and Lisa Sestak, representing the GSF Foundation, ride the carousel in support of the Chicago RMHC and Easter Seals Disability Services.

(L to r) Collin Sanderson and Lisa Sestak, representing the GSF Foundation, ride the carousel in support of the Chicago RMHC and Easter Seals Disability Services.

GSF Foundation volunteers hopped on a beautifully restored 19th Century Eden Palais carousel on August 4 at the Sanfilippo Estate in Barrington Hills, Ill., near Chicago. They went round and round and up and down for two outstanding causes: the Ronald McDonald House of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI) and Easter Seals Disability Services, and that’s when the fun began! Using nothing more than their cell phones, each rider was tasked with a fundraising goal before being allowed off the carousel. How long it took was up to the riders! The goal was to raise enough funds to make each charity’s dream a reality, and the event was a huge success, raising more than $226,000 – the most money raised by a Carousel of Possible Dreams to date.

“It was great to see how a simple introduction of the Segerstrom family to the Sanfilippo family could result in so much good,” says Bill Sanderson, GSF’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and GSF Foundation Board member. “Special thanks to Paul Sestak [Group Vice President, Compliance and Program Development – Distribution] for spearheading our efforts from Oakbrook [Ill.]. Doug Porter, CEO of the RMHC-CNI, was so moved, he announced at the event that he was naming one of the floors at the new Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago in honor of the Sanfilippo Foundation and the Festival of Children Foundation.”

What made this Carousel of Possible Dreams event so special was that it brought together two philanthropic families for the first time. Bill introduced Sandy Segerstrom-Daniels and Jim Sanfilippo. Sandy is Executive Director of the Festival of Children Foundation which began the Carousel of Possible Dreams, and Jim Sanfilippo, President and CEO of Clear Lam Packaging, a GSF packaging film supplier, has a Foundation that has hosted as many as 25 charitable events each year for the past 15 years. The Segerstrom family owns the South Coast Plaza shopping center in Costa Mesa, Calif., which boasts an iconic carousel, and the Sanfilippos maintain the only fully restored, operating Eden Palais carousel in the world. It was a perfect match, and the Carousel of Possible Dreams was expanded to the Sanfilippo Foundation to support charities in the Chicago area.

The Sanfilippo Estate’s “Place de la Musique” museum is well known for its magnificent and spectacular European salon carousel (which will hold 110 people), as well as collections of beautifully restored antique music machines, phonographs, arcade and gambling machines, chandeliers, art glass, the world’s largest restored pipe organ, street and tower clocks, steam engines and other functional mechanical antiques displayed within a breathtaking French Second Empire setting. The estate employs five full-time mechanics and artisans to keep the museum’s holdings in working order.

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