NorthShore decides to disband its Auxiliary, known for annual craft show

The news was sent to participating artists in an email five weeks before the American…

NorthShore decides to disband its Auxiliary, known for annual craft show

The news was sent to participating artists in an email five weeks before the American Craft Exhibition (ACE) would take place at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The first two sentences of the second paragraph delivered the message concisely: 

“After much discussion, it was announced last week that the difficult decision was reached to formally sunset The Auxiliary and its associated activities, including ACE as a NorthShore sponsored event, effective as of January 1, 2023.”

NorthShore statement

On Sunday, Oct. 2, the closing day of the ACE show, the RoundTable contacted the Media department at NorthShore University HealthSystem, and late Monday afternoon received a statement from Kate Beckering, Assistant Vice President for Operations at the NorthShore Foundation. It reads:

“The Auxiliary and NorthShore Foundation leadership came to the difficult decision that this will be the last ACE show sponsored by NorthShore, given the rapidly changing healthcare landscape, volunteer sector and artist community, all amid the continually complex and demanding times in our world. We are grateful for the 38 years of the incredible talent of ACE artists and ACE’s philanthropic impact. We look forward to continuing to work with volunteers and event partners in other capacities, including through NorthShore’s Community Partner activities.”

The Auxiliary is a powerhouse fundraising organization whose primary function is to benefit NorthShore. Since 1936, The Auxiliary has raised more than $23 million for NorthShore, funding special projects like the SAVE MOMS effort targeting postpartum health, as well as distributing free diapers to local families in need and providing scholarships to selected high school seniors pursuing nursing careers. Membership in The Auxiliary, with $75 per year dues, is open to anyone willing to serve on committees and help with fundraising projects like ACE, its signature event, and the annual diaper drive.

ACE Co-Chair ‘disappointed’

Leslie Sevcik, one of the Co-Chairs of the 2022 ACE Show, was one of three names included at the end of the letter sent to the artists.

Leslie Sevcik, right, Co-Chair of this year’s American Craft Exposition, smiles at the event with fellow Co-Chair Gayle Stellas, left, and Ann Burnstine, a longtime volunteer who was an ACE Co-Chair in 2004. Credit: Wendi Kromash

Sevick, who was also an ACE Co-Chair in 2013 and 2018, has volunteered for 20 years for The Auxiliary.

“The hospital has made a decision to disband us at the end of this calendar year,” Sevcik told the RoundTable. “They have shifting priorities. And, you know, I’m a big supporter of NorthShore. They’ve always made great decisions for the communities that they serve – and you saw it during the Highland Park shooting most recently – and so while I’m disappointed, I trust their judgment for them.