We are thrilled to honor Lisbeth “Liz” Stiffel with the 2023 Alice S. Pfaelzer Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts.
Liz exemplifies the values of this award in many ways, most notably through her passion for supporting Chicago’s arts and culture institutions as well as support of organizations dedicated to health and human services. She is a longtime member of the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum, the Women’s Board of the Alliance Française, and the Women’s Board of the Joffrey Ballet, to name a few. For her tremendous devotion to the Lyric Opera and her longtime service as a member of both the Lyric Opera of Chicago Women’s Board and the Guild Board of Directors, Liz was honored with the Carol Fox Award for lifetime achievement and dedication to Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2017. Beyond the arts, Liz’s philanthropy runs far and wide across our city, from her longstanding support of Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago as a member of the Founder’s Board to her participation on the Women’s Board of the Boys and Girls Club and other organizations.
We are grateful to Liz for her many years of support and dedication to the mission and students of Merit School of Music and look forward to honoring her impact.
This past year, Merit alums Nico Segal and Nikko Washington supported Merit by donating their time and talents through an interactive community art piece celebrating the power of music.
Grammy-winning trumpeter and producer Nico Segal launched his career as a founding member of highly-regarded band, Kids These Days. Since then, he has toured with Frank Ocean, founded The Social Experiment with Chance The Rapper, and performed on high-profile stages, including Saturday Night Live, the White House, and NY Jazz Fest. Nikko Washington is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work spans painting, drawing, and graphic design. He is also an artistic director and highly sought-after album cover artist, designing pieces for artists such as Joey Purp and Vic Mensa.
Created in partnership with Play Together Chicago, Nico and Nikko’s art piece consists of a stunning mural installed on the outside of Merit’s West Loop home, the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center, and an original piece of music. The mural invites passersby to participate by scanning a QR code and submitting their own music or artwork as a citywide collaboration. In supporting the community in this meaningful way through their art, Nico and Nikko embody what it means to be a citizen artist.
Richard and Helen Thomas & Family
Howard L. Gottlieb and Barbara Greis
Caroline and Charlie Huebner
The Negaunee Foundation
Zell Family Foundation
Carol Prins and John Hart
Earl Rusnak, Jr. and Sandra Rusnak
Julie and Dan Baumeister
Ginny and Peter Foreman
Janice L. Honigberg
Judy and Verne Istock
Lori Julian for the Julian Family Foundation
Thomas and Janet Leopold
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius,
Thomas Linguanti and Olivia Tyrrell
& Julie Stapel and David Kalat
Lorna and Ellard L. Pfaelzer, Jr.
David P. Thomas
Michael Andrews and Ryan Ruskin
Laurie V. Bay
Greg and Mamie Case
Ryan and Amy DeVore &
Joan and Robert Feitler
Karen Z. Gray-Krehbiel and John H. Krehbiel, Jr.
Anne L. Kaplan
JK and Marisela Lawson
Ruth Ann Gillis and Michael McGuinnis
Joe and Madeleine Glossberg
Norton Rose Fulbright
Cathy and Bill Osborn
Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan
Scott and Nancy Santi
Nancy S. Searle
Nina G. Stillman
Susie Pfaelzer Sultan and John Sultan
Jennifer Vianello and David Showalter
Duffie A. Adelson
Jeffrey Breslow and Janyce Agruss
Tim Calkins and Carol Saltoun
Chicago History Museum
Dearborn Capital Partners
Jason and Caitlin Gatchell
Anne and William Goldstein
Heidi Lukas and Charles Grode
Jennifer and Reg Montague
Joe and Hannah Musselman
Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel
Chester A. Gougis and Shelley Ochab
Nishad and Pinkey Parmar
Abiman Rajadurai and Joanna Bartold
Ann and Ray Rusnak
Penny and John Van Horn
Neil Zucker and Marko Iglendza
Merit School of Music deeply appreciates the individuals and organizations who celebrate the accomplishments of our honoree, Liz Stiffel, a devoted philanthropist and supporter of the nationally-renowned programming at Merit School of Music.
In addition to the opportunities listed below, benefactors of $5,000+ will receive special acknowledgment of their support in the Gala invitation, on the Gala webpage, and in Merit’s annual report.
Your support transforms the lives of young musicians across Chicagoland.