Putting the ‘fun’ in fundraising.
Stephanie Lieber’s day job at the Chicago Children’s Museum on Navy Pier is vice president of individual giving. Recently celebrating a decade-long career at the museum, Ms. Lieber has raised funds for countless projects.
What is the highlight of working at the museum? Ms. Lieber shares, “The museum’s offices are not separated by walls. Every day I hear the laughter, the tears, and the screams of delight. It is an instant reminder about why I raise funds for the museum.”
As an anchor tenant at Navy Pier, the museum recently signed a 90-year lease with plans to grow significantly. “As we grow in terms of square footage, the museum will focus on the universal pursuits of childhood, including what children do across time regardless of ability, where they come from, or what resources they possess,” says Ms. Lieber. “The projects will include water, building, arts, and nature – what childhood should and could be. Every child has the right to play. Chicago Children’s Museum’s commitment is to offer access to all children, especially those that need us most.”
Ms. Lieber is passionate about volunteerism, serving as the current board chair of the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation. She became involved with the organization at a very young age – her mother, Charlene Lieber, was a sorority sister of Lynn Sage. The close friends were diagnosed with breast cancer at about the same time. Charlene was lucky and overcame the disease; Lynn did not. Within a year or two of her death, family and friends launched the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation and have raised more than $28 million since its inception 28 years ago.
“I started out stuffing envelopes and attending events as a young child,” recalls Ms. Lieber. “I began serving on the board eight years ago. At the time, the board was trying to transition from founding members to the next generation of leaders, I was a logical choice to take the helm representing the next generation.”
Ms. Lieber also values the time she spends serving on the board of Francis W. Parker School. “I attended Francis Parker for 14 years. I loved it,” she says. “It was my home away from home. One of the principles and requirements at Francis Parker is community service. Parker instilled a sense of responsibility in my peers, and the community. A lot of who I am today, and why I work at Chicago Children’s Museum is from my community service work at Francis W. Parker, where I volunteered from the age of 12 through 14. My experience made a huge impression on me as a teenager.”
And in her spare time? “My guilty pleasures include dining out, cooking and trying new recipes, while being surrounded by my family and friends. Quite often I frequent Avec, Little Goat and shop at the Green City Market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings by the Lincoln Park Zoo,” she says, adding, “I love food!” She’s also an avid reader, a sucker for romantic comedies (i.e. the John Hughes era) and political junkie for television shows such as Homeland and The West Wing.
Don’t be late when meeting up with Ms. Lieber, for her biggest pet peeve is tardiness. That just happens to be her motto: Always be on time or arrive 10 minutes early.
Joy is what Ms. Lieber aspires to, and that happens to be her middle name. Ms. Lieber shares, “There can never be enough joy in this world and you can never have too much.” The museum gives Ms. Lieber the opportunity to spread joy to the millions of children that visit the museum every year.