Why SOAR Matters

On behalf of the SOAR Board of Directors we wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. We are fortunate that the year has been one of prosperity in our Streeterville community despite uncertainty around the world. As we celebrate the holidays and 2017 begins, our priority continues to be to represent residents of Streeterville and ensure our neighborhood remains a world class neighborhood with a truly high quality of life for all.
SOAR has a 40+ year history of connecting Streeterville residents through advocacy, information, service, cultural and social programs. Our plan is to continue to be relevant, responsible, reliable and responsive to issues and opportunities that affect the community. We have developed an impactful 2017 calendar of activities and causes, some repeats and some new ones. Stay tuned for more information.
That is why I ask again for your support of the 2016 SOAR annual appeal. Please contribute what you can online at Or phone 312.280.2596 to discuss your gift with our staff. If you wish to contribute by check there is a self-addressed envelope enclosed in the package you received in the mail. SOAR is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and annual appeal contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Thank you so much to the members and friends who have already made a contribution.
In celebration of the New Year, SOAR members are invited to the SOAR Annual New Year Kick-Off and Volunteer Recognition Party. Tuesday January 10, 2017 from 6:00-8:00 PM., at the acclaimed Green River restaurant recently awarded a coveted Michelin star. Please RSVP by January 6th to Please note this is a members only event.
Happy Holidays! As always, I will be happy to respond to your questions and comments when you reach me by email.
Sincerely yours,


Think Global, Act Local

 Message from the President

Streeterville stakeholders are never very far from national and global concerns. With thought and care, issues and actions at the community level are a microcosm of the hopes and dreams for a world at its best.  

Just last month, the SOAR Board of Directors took a hard look at our committees and task forces. Do they reflect the most important concerns in our community today? Have we struck the right balance of advocacy, education, information, cultural and social activities? Are we continuing to live up to the mission to "work on behalf of Streeterville residents by preserving, promoting, and enhancing the quality of life and community in Streeterville." Are our five goals-to build and celebrate community, ensure thoughtful development, promote safety and well-being, connect building leadership and partner with local businesses-as relevant as they were when we first set them down?
And another question: Can our resources support the mission and goals of the organization? That depends, in great part, on your making a year-end donation to SOAR, the only local advocacy organization of, by and for you and your neighbors. You soon will receive SOAR's 2016 annual appeal package. If you wish to contribute by check there will be a self addressed envelope enclosed with the package. You can also contribute online at  Or you can call the SOAR office (312) 280-2596 and we can process your donation. On behalf of the Board and staff, thank you for your consideration. SOAR is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and annual appeal contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
We will be preparing and delivering the annual report for 2015-16 soon. Members of a Board Planning Task Force will meet soon to lay out priorities and programs for 2017. I look forward to sharing with you the results of the past year and the outlook for next. As always, I will be happy to respond to your questions and comments when you reach me
Deborah Gershbein
Board News

SOAR Board officers for 2016-17 are Deborah Gershbein, President; David Lewin, Vice President; Robert Levin, Secretary, and Howard W. Melton, Treasurer.
The Board re-appointed and in some cases, named newly-appointed, chairs for committees and task forces. Names and contact information is reported elsewhere in eNews.

Our Sympathy

We send our sympathy to Congressman Danny Davis on the tragic death of his grandson and 
to the family, friends and fans of Skyline's Ann Gerber

New Members

Welcome to Residents:                       
Carolyn Dickenson                               
Warren Honaberger                            
Theodore & Patricia Schmidt  

Keep Streeterville a Neighborhood

Join SOAR or Renew Now!
Benefits and annual dues information at:  SOARChicago  
Tell your neighbors!

Staff News

Best of Luck
Associate Director Martha Music recently left SOAR to pursue new interests. We wish her well.

Adminstrative Manager Position

SOAR is seeking professional candidates for the part-time on-site Administrative Manager position.
 Interested candidates should email to receive a copy of the job description. The Administrative Manager need not live in Streeterville but experience working for a small membership-driven nonprofit preferred. Strong computer skills a must as well as familiarity with membership database management. 

SOAR Hours
To reach SOAR between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm during the week, contact Office Administrator Carole Thomas or 312.280.2596 



Message From the President

First Year of the Fifth Decade and SOAR Soars! 

On behalf of the Board of Directors and members, I want to express thanks to Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner and all the staff members who so graciously hosted SOAR's 41st Annual Meeting on October 5. And to Marilynn for sharing Navy Pier's past, present and future in an informative, creative presentation. Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas looked back at her role in organizing the SOAR Lake Shore Park Garden Club and basked in the glory of the Club's 20th Anniversary, as did Alderman Brian Hopkins (Ward 2), who took time from a busy day in the Chicago City Council to eloquently salute the Club's volunteer founders and today's volunteers.
By all measures, including membership, sponsorships, volunteers, special events, task forces and committees, FY 2015-16 saw growth in SOAR. It is said that "No one of us is as strong as all of us." I truly believe that it's the spirit and hard work of the entire volunteer team that is responsible for building the organization and "Keeping Streeterville a Neighborhood." In particular, it was a thrill to see three stellar volunteers win this year's P.I.V. (Positively Incredible Volunteers) Award: Linda Levin (Chair, 2015 SOAR Artisan Market), Jay Lubinsky (Chair, Greening and Sustainability Task Force) and Barbara Ward (SOAR Farmers Market Committee.) And it was an honor to present the 2016 SOAR Beautification Awards to Northwestern University, Perennial Award, Abbott Hall, and Axis, Mixed-Use Award, East Erie. 
For many years, Maury Fantus served on the SOAR Board with loyalty, generosity and experience. Maury chose not to run for another term and we will miss his good humor on the Board. We are grateful for the good counsel of Phyllis Mitzen over many years, particularly with regard to her sensitivity for senior issues, which she continues advocating as President of Skyline Village Chicago. Larry Brown, a Board member for several years, also chose not to run. Thank you for your service, Larry. 
We will be preparing and delivering an annual report in the coming months. As always, I will be happy to respond to your questions and comments when you reach me at Deborah Gershbein 
Deborah Gershbein




Message from the President: Centennial Hosts Welcome SOAR

Through a wonderful coincidence, the next two major events on the SOAR calendar will be at two neighboring institutions marking their Centennials in Streeterville this year. On Wednesday, October 5, SOAR's 41st Annual Meeting will be held at Navy Pier. Wednesday, November 2, The Arts Club of Chicago will host our Blueprints annual fundraiser.
It is fitting for this event to take place at Navy Pier because SOAR has worked with Pier leaders at every step of the transformation from unused sheds to a recreational and cultural attraction to more than nine million annual visitors. Our relationships there are noteworthy examples of the "staying power" of SOAR over more than four decades. At the annual meeting we will review the numerous and varied achievements of the past year. In particular, the Lake Shore Park Garden Club celebrates 20 seasons at Lake Shore Park; we will give special recognition to these volunteers-who also will choose and present the winners of the 2016 SOAR Beautification Awards, the 36th consecutive year they have been distributed to residential, public and institutional neighbors. We also will present the annual P.I.V. (Positively Invaluable Volunteer) awards-I can tell you that choosing only three was a challenge this year! After the program, Navy Pier is hosting a reception. The Annual Meeting is a members-only event.
                 Navy Pier 100 arts Club  
            Happy 100th Birthday to Navy Pier and The Arts Club of Chicago!

Blueprints is "going global" this year, with a Passport theme. We will honor two Streeterville residents (and SOAR members) who travel the world as architectural ambassadors: interior designer Nada Andric and architect James (Jim) Goettsch, who will each receive the 2016 Vision Into Reality Award. This is the first time the award has been given to two people-and we are thrilled to recognize these neighbors. Nada is Associate Director at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), focusing her extensive talent and experience on the firm's large-scale global architecture and interior design projects. The Arts Club is hosting this event in honor of Nada, who is on their Board of Directors. Jim is Chairman and CEO of Goettsch Partners, as well as the design director, leading the direction and quality of design for the office. The festive evening will include Champagne, wine, heavy buffet, and a raffle.
More details on both events will be sent shortly. But I wanted to give you a "sneak preview," and also encourage you to "Save the Dates."
As always, I will be happy to respond to your questions and comments when you reach me at

Deborah Gershbein



P.S. SOAR eNews now will be delivered once a month, the last week of every month. We will soon introduce SOAR eWeekly, a brief calendar of upcoming events. I will appreciate your comments on both  publications.

To read the August, 2016, edition of SOAR eNews in entirety   CLICK HERE.

To access the SOAR eNews archives CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE to sign up to receive a copy of eNews directly to your inbox.


Message from the President: Keeping SOAR a Voice for Streeterville

SOAR is consistently recognized as the "Voice of Streeterville." SOAR is the go-­to resident organization in Streeterville. When our aldermen plan community meetings, SOAR is the go-­to co-­sponsor. When developers propose new or repurposed buildings, SOAR is the go-­to organization. When the City wanted to transfer management of the Streeterville Farmers Market to the local level, SOAR was the go-­to organization. When the Mayor's Office created a new approach to neighborhoods, Chicago Neighborhoods Now, SOAR was appointed the go­-to residential representative.

As SOAR interacts with stakeholders in the Streeterville community, we are always shown respect for SOAR's relevant, responsible, responsive and resilient approaches to priorities.  As a volunteer, Board member and now President, I am proud that SOAR's grassroots efforts are seen as setting high standards for a resident advocacy organization. Along with all Board members and task force leaders, we are grateful to take the support of our members as we meet with community and City leaders.  The more members we have, the louder our voice to support our community.  If you have not renewed your membership in SOAR please renew now at Renew Membership.    And if you are reading this and are not a member please consider joining now Membership.  Our members are the heart and soul of SOAR. 

It is astonishing to remember that residential development has thoroughly turned a swampy Chicago industrial and institutional area called Streeterville into a mixed­-use neighborhood in fewer than 50 years, almost as long as SOAR has existed. Since 1975, SOAR has been a continuing presence regarding issues emerging in and between all four corners of the neighborhood: from Lake Michigan on the north to the Chicago River on the south, from Navy Pier on the east to the Magnificent Mile to Rush Street on the west.

Last week SOAR sponsored a major safety meeting, "Living in a Safe Environment in Streeterville," and the first in a new series of "First Wednesday" social events planned each month. There's more to come, as you'll read in this issue. I want to offer special thanks to the sponsors, speakers, volunteers and staff--the go-­to people!--for their time, talent and enthusiasm. 
As always, I will be happy to respond to your questions and comments when you reach me at

Deborah Gershbein



To read the July 30, 2016, edition of SOAR eNews in entirety   CLICK HERE.

To access the SOAR eNews archives CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE to sign up to receive a copy of eNews directly to your inbox.