Billed as the “perfect day out” and the longest occurring house walk on the North Shore, the 2017 Cooks’ Tour hosted by the Auxiliary of The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center will be held on September 27.
For more than 45 years women have enjoyed this much anticipated invitation-only event, which includes touring four distinctive North Shore homes and a luncheon at the Winnetka Community House. Proceeds from the 2017 Cooks’ Tour benefit Rush University Medical Center’s school-based mental health programs at three West Side Chicago Public Schools.
Preparation begins a full year in advance for the Cooks’ Tour, which typically includes about 600 guests. DailyNorthShore chatted with co-chairs Nora Larkin and Heather Martin, who have been busy getting ready for the big event.
DNS: How does the board choose the causes you support each year?
Larkin: Each year the Woman’s Board and the Auxiliary choose a cause from a list provided by Rush University Medical Center. This year we decided to raise money for school-based mental health programs. Rush is located in a primarily under-privileged area and the schools are all within close proximity to the hospital. Many students need out-patient mental health services that are provided in these school-based programs.
Each year the cause changes — last year we raised money to support The Road Home Program, a center dedicated to connecting veterans and their families with the care and resources they need to combat the wounds of war and ease the transition to civilian life.
DNS: How does the Auxiliary Board raise funds?
Martin: The Cooks’ Tour is the Auxiliary’s only fundraising event each year. We raise proceeds through ticket sales and sponsorships. Over the years the sponsorships have grown through the tremendous work of women on the Auxiliary. Most of the businesses are located on the North Shore and in Chicago and many are in the home construction industry such as builders, architects, and landscape designers. We’ve received the generous support from The Hudson Company as the lead sponsor of the Cooks’ Tour since 2011. Through the support of generous sponsorships, this year is on track to be the highest grossing event in our board’s history.
DNS: What type of homes are on the tour this year?
Larkin: Each year we try to showcase a variety of homes that are distinctive in style, location and age. This year the homes are located in three communities — Kenilworth, Winnetka and Glencoe. The tour includes a very modern contemporary home built within the last 10 years, a brand new home on Lake Michigan, an older home from the 1920s and an updated, renovated home. We’re one of the few tours that allows guests to tour rooms on many home levels.
Each of the homes are decorated by top North Shore home and floral designers who donate their time and materials to create distinctive table top and floral arrangements.
DNS: What’s unique about the luncheon?
Martin: The luncheon is held in the Winnetka Community House atrium garden and is catered by The Noodle. Guests can also purchase dinners from Gourmet To Go, as well as sweets and treats that are supplied by the Auxiliary board members. We also hold a raffle, which includes a donation from Rush that is always popular — the winner gets to follow a surgeon for the day.
DNS: What is The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center and the Auxiliary?
Martin: Established in 1848, The Woman’s Board is the oldest women’s hospital board in the country. The Auxiliary was established in 1945 to assist in the fundraising efforts of the Woman’s Board. Nora and I have been involved with the Auxiliary Board for about four years. The Auxiliary is made up of about 60 women and also supports a Junior Board of over 100 girls who reside in New Trier Township.
DNS: Why do you choose to volunteer for this cause?
Martin and Larkin: We are honored to be a part of the Auxiliary of The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center and co-chairs of the 2017 Cooks Tour in support of the vital programs provided by Rush University Medical Center. We are thankful to all our board members and sponsors in their generous support in making this event a success. We look forward to welcoming our guests to this beautiful tour!
For tickets and information, visit www.nscookstour.org. Tickets are $70 in advance and $85 at the door.