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Meet our 2019 Cara Gala Honorees

Cara is pleased to announce it will honor entrepreneurs and philanthropists Amy and Pete Kadens as well as Cara alumna JaShawn Hill at the upcoming Cara Gala presented by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and The Kadens Family Foundation on Friday, April 5, 2019.

Pete and Amy Kadens
Trailblazer Award
Amy and Pete Kadens were both raised in Toledo, Ohio. They are dedicated philanthropists and together lead the Kadens Family Foundation, whose mission is to make an impact for the underserved, low income, and homeless communities and to ultimately transform lives with dignity.

A serial entrepreneur, Pete has started three companies that have employed thousands of people over the past 16 years. In 2008, he founded one of the largest commercial solar companies in the nation, SoCore Energy. Under his leadership, SoCore grew into a company with operations across 17 states. Pete is also a co-founder and former CEO of Green Thumb Industries (GTI), one of the largest legal cannabis operators in the United States. The company is publicly traded and today has a market capitalization of over $1.5 billion and was named the highest-performing stock in Illinois in 2018 by Crains Chicago. He retired from GTI in August 2018 at the age of 40.

In 2011, Amy founded Share Our Spare, an organization committed to ensuring that every child in Chicago has the essentials they need to thrive in the first five years of life. Share Our Spare collects new and gently used baby items and distributes them to families living in poverty through a sustainable network of volunteers, community stakeholders, and social service agencies. Today, Share Our Spare has a warehouse distribution center downtown, which allows them to serve over 500 families per month. Since its inception, Share Our Spare has distributed almost two million infant and toddler items across Chicagoland.

Prior to founding Share Our Spare, Amy worked for a small start-up in the ad specialty industry and before that, utilized her degree in early childhood education to teach preschool in the city.

Amy and Pete believe deeply in organizations that seek to create opportunities and strengthen communities for the disadvantaged. Pete served as Chairman or Vice Chairman of StreetWise from 2009 – 2018 and presently serves as Chairman Emeritus. Pete also served on the Cara Board of Directors from 2014 – 2016 and, at present, serves on the Board of Directors of the Cannabis Trade Federation, Chicago Innovation, and several corporate boards. In addition to serving on the board of Share Our Spare, Amy currently serves on the board of BUILD, an organization in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood serving at-risk youth.

JaShawn Hill
Jesse Teverbaugh Award
JaShawn Hill first came to Cara in April 2007, following five years of battling addiction and homelessness. She grew up in Chicago and attended the University of Iowa in the late ’90s. However, the pressures to succeed in her new surroundings found her turning to drugs and alcohol. Upon her return to Chicago she spiraled further into addiction and found herself homeless.

In 2006, she was ready to find sobriety at SisterHouse, a temporary home for women seeking recovery from substance abuse, and soon after, was referred to Cara. It was at Cara that JaShawn learned the deepest truth of who she was and tapped into her true potential. She joined the Cleanslate crew, cleaning Chicago streets and neighborhoods and was placed in a part-time receptionist position with Cabrini Green Legal Aid, eventually working her way up to a client support specialist.

Through Cara’s retention and advancement services, JaShawn was able to go back to school. She earned her bachelors in social work from Northeastern Illinois University and her masters in social work from Loyola University. She is a licensed clinical social worker and a reverend with the City of Praise Church.

Today, JaShawn is a Youth Program Manager for Chicago Survivors, an organization that provides support services to surviving family members of Chicago homicide victims. She currently lives in the Auburn-Gresham community with her husband and three children.

The 2019 Cara Gala will be held at its new location, the Four Seasons Chicago Hotel on Friday, April 5. Click here to support the Gala.