For Elizabeth Borland Blodgett of Lake Forest, being a part of the Woman’s Board of Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) is all about continuing a family legacy and honoring cherished childhood memories.
Blodgett, who serves as co-chair of the board’s September 7 “A Night Under the Big Top” fundraiser along with Holly Cortes and Abra Wilkin, fondly recalls tagging along with mother Suzy Borland to the Passavant gift shop on East Superior Street in Chicago.
“Over the years I watched my mother’s involvement in the hospital and Woman’s Board, from running the cotillion to serving as president,” says Blodgett, also emphasizing her longtime connection to both Cortes and Wilkin. “I have known Abra for nearly my whole life as I grew up around the corner from her in Chicago. Holly is one of my oldest and dearest friends and was my freshman year roommate in high school. What we all have in common is our high school — the Ethel Walker School, an all-girls school in Connecticut which we all hold dear in our hearts.”
Another commonality Blodgett and Wilkin share is their family’s involvement with the hospital through the decades, dating back to the 1970s when it was known as Passavant Memorial Hospital.
“My parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Rockefeller Prentice were both involved when Northwestern Memorial was known as Passavant,” says Wilkin, who also serves on the NMH board of directors. “My mother Abbie was a member and former head of the Passavant Woman’s Board, and my father was on what was then called The Men’s Board. I joined the Woman’s Board in 1965 after coming out at the Passavant Cotillion in 1961. Over the years I’ve been active in many facets of the hospital including Prentice Women’s Hospital — which was named for my parents.”
Cortes says she was welcomed into the Woman’s Board by Blodgett when she moved to Chicago.
Together, the trio promises an affair to remember. Billed as a night to benefit “the greatest hospital on Earth,” funds raised at the event support the Evergreen Invitational Grants Initiative, providing much-needed (and historically underfunded) programs to benefit low-income women, infants and girls. These grants have provided $4.3 million to 82 initiatives that advance the patient-centered mission and improve health outcomes for women of all ages.
“We are planning a night of fabulous entertainment for all of our guests. With a circus theme, the sky was the limit and we have truly reached for the sky!” says Cortes. “However, Abra, Elizabeth and I have a group of our Ethel Walker School friends flying in for the event. I’m sure it won’t take long for this group to be taking a swing on the trapeze.”
Tickets are $150 per person and include an array of circus performers and aerial acrobats along with circus-inspired cuisine and creative cocktails. Starting at 6:30 p.m., a ringmaster will welcome guests at an entrance to a private club flanked by two bejeweled elephants — a spectacle that continues inside with a trapeze artist, tightrope walker and fortune tellers.
“I am looking forward to the energy of the night,” adds Blodgett. “It is going to be a theatrical evening with plenty of surprises all for a great cause.”
For more information, including location, call 312-926-9138 or visit wbnorthwestern.org.