In The News

Jay Franke, David Herro Public Humanities Award honorees

This article originally appeared in the Windy City Times

CHICAGO, IL- January 14, 2014— The Illinois Humanities Council ( IHC ) has announced it will be honoring Jay Franke and David Herro with the 2014 Public Humanities Award at the IHC’s annual benefit luncheon on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.

Given annually by the IHC since 1984, the Public Humanities Award recognizes individuals and organizations who have helped transform lives and strengthened communities through the humanities.

Together, Jay and David have played an instrumental role in the founding and growth of the Chicago Dance Festival, the only free festival of its kind in the nation. Since 2006, the Festival has since grown to present more than 55 exceptional dance companies from Chicago and cities throughout the country as well as abroad, and performed before more than 60,000 people while maintaining free admission for all.

“Jay and David have shown a true commitment to making the arts accessible to all audiences, and to using the humanities to enrich and inform their work,” said Deborah Epstein, IHC Board Chair. “Through their philanthropy and leadership they have helped raise the profile of Chicago as a premiere cultural destination, and we are delighted to be honoring their accomplishments this May.”

Jay Franke is an accomplished professional dancer, and the Co-Artistic Director of the Chicago Dancing Festival, which he co-founded. He serves on the Cultural Advisory Council for the City of Chicago, is on the Board of Directors for Chicago High School for the Arts ( CHiArts ), the Leadership Board for the Kovler Diabetes Center and the Board of Trustees for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago ( MCA ). In addition, he was previously on the Board of the Joffrey Ballet.

David Herro serves as a Board member for the Chicago Dancing Festival, for the Economic Club of Chicago, and for the Field Museum, and is Director for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation. He also is a trustee of WTTW, and sits on the Advisory Board of After School Matters. Previously, he was on the finance committee of Human Rights Watch and on the Advisory Board for Dreams for Kids. He has achieved tremendous success as a fund manager for Oakmark International Fund, which he founded in 1992, and in 2010 was named by Morningstar, Inc. as the International-Stock Fund Manager of the Decade.

The luncheon is part of what will be a hallmark year for the IHC in 2014. The organization celebrates its 40th anniversary this year , while also welcoming new Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre. The IHC has grown to be a grant maker and a producer of free programs and initiatives that reach over 600,000 people yearly. New and upcoming projects include a humanities radio series with WSIU in southern Illinois, The Public Square’s media literacy project, Media Matters, the debut of the Smithsonian’s latest traveling exhibit, Hometown Teams, and a Chicago-based program series looking at the intersection between business and the humanities.

Past PHA awardees have included The Honorable Abner and Zoe Mikva, publisher Bruce Sagan and activist and artist Bette Cerf Hill, Carlos Tortolero, founder of the National Museum of Mexican Art, Anne Roosevelt, Boeing Vice President and John A. Wing, Chairman Emeritus of the Chicago Corporation. Last year’s recipient was Lisa Lee, Director of the School of Art and Art History at UIC.

This year’s Co-Chairs are Antonio Gracias, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Investment Officer at Valor, Equity Partners, and Sabrina Gracias, Director of Client Service at Valor, Equity Partners; Alton Harris, Partner, Ungaretti & Harris and Andrea Kramer, partner, McDermott Will & Emery LLP; civic and cultural icons Lewis and Susan Manilow; Kerryann Haase Minton, managing partner of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP and Josef Minton, of Livevol Strategy Group, LLC.

The Public Humanities Award Luncheon will take place Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at the Palmer House Hilton Chicago ( 17 E. Monroe Street ) in Chicago, Illinois. Doors open at 11:00am with the program beginning at noon. For individual reservations and sponsorship opportunities, including the purchase of tables, please call Monika Collins at 312.422.5584 or visit All proceeds from the luncheon will support the Illinois Humanities Council.

About the Illinois Humanities Council

The Illinois Humanities Council ( IHC ) is a philanthropic and educational organization dedicated to making the humanities a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities in Illinois, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. This year, it marks 40 years of developing or funding educational activities and programs throughout the state, including lectures, seminars, performances, exhibitions, films, library discussions, and written materials — all free and open to the public. Organized as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973, the IHC is now a private nonprofit ( 501 [c] 3 ) supported by state, federal, and private funds.