The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans will present Chicago Cubs executive Michael Lufrano with its prestigious Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Humanitarian Award at a gala on June 17 at the Loews Hotel in Rosemont.
“During his 12-year tenure with the world champion Chicago Cubs, Mr. Lufrano has built strong bonds of trust with the community and has vastly expanded the team’s charitable reach,” says event chairman Jonathan Zivojnovic. “In his words and deeds, he reflects the spirit of our beloved late cardinal.”
Lufrano serves as executive vice president, community affairs and chief legal officer for the Chicago Cubs. He joined the team in July 2004 and is responsible for community affairs, government relations, communications, neighborhood relations and charitable activities. He also serves as chief legal counsel for the team.
In his time with the Cubs, Lufrano has led efforts to develop and maintain positive relations with the community around Wrigley Field, working closely with elected officials, residents and businesses. These relationships have helped gain City Council and Landmarks Commission approval for renovations to Wrigley Field and other improvements. They include $750 million in private investment in development inside and outside the ballpark and the passage of a new night game and neighborhood protection ordinance authorizing additional night baseball games and bringing musical concerts to Wrigley Field while protecting the community.
Lufrano is actively involved in community service and has spearheaded significant expansion of Cubs Charities. Investments in projects such as Kerry Wood Cubs Field and Margaret Donahue Park are lasting legacies in the Lake View community. Cubs Charities’ three signature programs — the Diamond Project, Cubs Scholars and Cubs on the Move Fitness Program — promote health, fitness and education throughout the city. Support for baseball diamonds like Little Cubs Field at Humboldt Park and Cubs Care Legends Field at Hamlin Park and renovations to Thillens Stadium have enhanced the team’s partnership with the City of Chicago. Since Lufrano joined the team, Cubs charitable efforts have generated more than $1 million in donations a year, including more than $3 million each of the last two years, to help organizations serving Chicago and its communities. He also initiated the annual Race to Wrigley, which promotes health and fitness while raising funds to support Cubs Charities.
From 1993 to 1995, Lufrano served in the White House as special assistant to the President and deputy director of advance. He helped coordinate and implement daily and long-term schedules for the President and First Lady, and helped produce and design White House trips and events, including President Clinton’s trip to Normandy in 1994 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. Lufrano has worked on national presidential campaigns and served as Convention Hall Director for the Democratic National Convention at the United Center in 1996.
Lufrano is also an active participant in community activities. He served as past chair of the Board of Trustees of the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Lakeview. He is a member of the American Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association; has served on the board of directors of the Lakeview Citizens Council and the East Lakeview Neighbors Association; and is past president of the Wrightwood Neighbors community association. He is a graduate of the Leadership Greater Chicago Class of 2002.
Prior to joining the Cubs, Lufrano worked as an attorney in the Chicago office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal where his practice focused on intellectual property, media and First Amendment law, Internet law and commercial litigation. He has also worked in the office of the corporation counsel for the city of Atlanta, Georgia.
Lufrano is a longtime resident of Chicago and a graduate of Lane Technical High School. He graduated magna cum laude with a BA in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and cum laude from Harvard Law School.
The event will feature cocktails and reception at 6:30 p.m., dinner and award presentation at 7:30 p.m., and an after-party celebration at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $150 and sponsorships range from $500 to $10,000.
“Our Bernardin gala is a major fundraiser for the JCCIA,” Zivojnovic says. “We’re looking forward to the community’s support in our efforts to take the JCCIA to the next level.”
For details, call 708-450-9050 or visit https://jccia.wordpress.com.