Making Dreams Come True

Carousel of Possible Dreams Raises $301,000 for Children’s Charities


story by lisa stamos | Photo by Linda M. Barrett

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Carousel of Possible Dreams Guests Enjoy A Carousel Ride Aboard The Eden Palais, A Spectacular 19th Century European Salon Carousel at the Sanfilippo Estate. Festival of Children Foundation Staff (In Front) Inge Thorton And Cassady Taylor. In Back, From Left: Sarkis Boghjalian, Jade Porter, Tanya Stephens, Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, Noah Mcmahon, Jan Jacoby, And Trey Jarvis.

The 8th Annual Carousel of Possible Dreams- Chicago has raised $301,000 to help fund the specific individual needs, or dreams, of six children’s charities, including: The Chicago Academy for the Arts, Golden State Foods Foundation, Jessie Rees Foundation, Royal Family KIDS–Cook & Lake Counties Inc., Spirito! Singers, and Turning Pointe Autism Foundation. Created and produced by Festival of Children Foundation in partnership with the Sanfilippo Foundation, the event was held at the Sanfilippo Estate in Barrington Hills on the evening of Saturday, October 5, 2019. More than 250 guests attended the event that featured entertainment by students from The Chicago Academy for the Arts, estate tours, and a cocktail reception.

The event is quite unique as it serves as a central fundraising effort to amplify and optimize procedes for each charity. Following six weeks of peer-to-peer fundraising, local civic, business, and philanthropic leaders representing each charity climbed aboard the “Eden Palais,” a spectacular 19th century European Salon carousel meticulously restored by the Sanfilippo family. As they rode the carousel up to 50 times around each, guests pledged donations to help the charities reach or surpass their individual fundraising goals.

“We are tremendously grateful for the support of the Sanfilippo family to make this fundraiser magical and successful,” said Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, founder and executive director of the Festival of Children Foundation. “Each of these six charities is exceptional in how they provide programs that have a profound impact for so many children. We are honored to support them in this way.”

The event is produced each year in partnership with the Sanfilippo Foundation of Barrington Hills by Festival of Children Foundation (FOCF), a national non-profit organization based in Orange County, California, that serves and supports nearly 500 children’s charities across the country. FOCF has also produced several other Carousel of Possible Dreams in Central Park in New York City, in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, at the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco, and Disneyland. To date, the initiative has raised $4.2M to fund 188 high-impact programs for children’s charities across the United States.

The six children’s charities of this year’s event are:

  • The Chicago Academy for the Arts, whose Possible Dream is to provide a full scholarship through the Young Men’s Dance Initiative, which provides scholarship support to selected elite-level male dancers, who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend The
  • Academy’s life-changing program.
  • Golden State Foods Foundation’s Possible Dream is to provide 2,000 elementary school students with backpacks filled with essential school supplies.
  • Jessie Rees Foundation, whose Possible Dream is to provide 500 families with a child who is fighting cancer a financial gift during the month of December, to not just get through the holidays, but to enjoy them with all the fun, hope, and togetherness that the season brings.
  • Royal Family KIDS–Cook & Lake Counties Inc., whose Possible Dream is to provide camp at no cost to 100 kids in foster care, plus the volunteers needed to nurture and care for them.
  • Spirito! Singers, whose Possible Dream is to fund outreach events and offer financial assistance to even more deserving girls and young women. This dream will mean that girls who might not otherwise have had the ability to access this invaluable program will now have their voices heard and nurtured through the magic of music.
  • Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, whose Possible Dream is to purchase a school bus that will take their students on community outings and expose them to new opportunities they might otherwise have missed in life, ensuring that these students get every chance to learn vital new skills, grow socially, and greatly expand their worlds.

About Festival of Children Foundation

Festival of Children Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves to bring together and coordinate the efforts of charities, companies, and individuals who work to improve the lives of children. One hundred percent of administrative costs are covered by designated funding, allowing donations to go further in direct support of programs and services that improve the lives of children nationwide. For more information, visit

Left: George and Andrea Hutchinson, Philip Riegle, And Mary Jean Adkins are from Spirito! Singers. Right: Carrie Provenzale from Turning Pointe Autism Foundation joins Sandy Segerstrom Daniels and Sanfilippo Foundation Executive Director Greg Leifel.

Far right: The Chicago Academy for the Arts Students Aleko Lionikis and Luci Mancari Performed.

Left to Right: Eric Rees from the Jessie Rees Foundation with Sandy Segerstrom Daniels. Photo 2: Avani and Dhaval Patel. Photo 3: Al and Rocelyn Caviles. Photo 4: Kate and Allan Parungao