Hands of Peace Transforms 'Magic Happens' Spring Benefit into Virtual Fundraising Event

Updated 3/27/2020 10:39 AM

Due to widespread health concerns regarding COVID-19, the 2020 "Magic Happens" Hands of Peace Chicago Benefit scheduled for April 5 at the Chicago Botanic Garden will not take place as originally planned and instead is being magically transformed into a two-week online fundraising event. The "Magic Happens Online" 2020 Chicago Virtual Benefit starts Sunday, April 5, 2020, and ends Sunday, April 19, 2020. Supporters can go to www.handsofpeace.org to bid online for auction items, as well as make a Monthly Giving Circle recurring gift or a one-time donation.

Additionally, the 2020 Hands of Peace Summer Program is canceled for the first time since its inception 18 years ago. Each year, the annual teen leadership program brings together Israeli, Palestinian and American youth for facilitated dialogue sessions and leadership development.


"I had hoped to greet everyone personally at the Chicago Benefit, but as we all know now, the world had other plans," said Hands of Peace Founder Gretchen Grad, who created the first Hands of Peace program in 2003. "Whether they are American, Israeli or Palestinian, the younger generation is crying out to have their voices heard. And we won't stop supporting them, even if planes aren't flying and we can't gather in the same room."

Since the first Hands of Peace Summer Program in 2003, many of its more than 650 alumni have become lawyers, engineers, doctors and environmentalists. Others are legislators, diplomats, entrepreneurs and journalists. All of them are creating change around the world. During the two-week "Magic Happens Online" virtual fundraising event, the Chicago community will be able to connect online with some of those inspiring youth leaders and bid for auction items to continue its support of Hands of Peace programs.

"We are living in uncertain times, and Chicago's support is now more important than ever," said Peg Lee, Hands of Peace Board Chair. "As we shift to virtual communications with our participants around the world, we will use this time to identify ways in which we can deepen connection, strengthen dialogue and increase their impact in the years to come."

To connect with our Hands of Peace alumni and register for a bidding account for the Virtual Benefit, go to www.handsofpeace.org.

Started in the Chicago suburbs, Hands of Peace is a non-profit 501(c)(3) interfaith organization that was founded in 2003 by Gretchen Grad, who believed that peace could be nurtured, person by person. Since then, Hands of Peace has expanded in size, strength and scope. The Chicago and San Diego Programs now serve nearly 90 teens each summer. Hands of Peace is unique in that Israeli and Palestinian teens are hosted by local families--providing a meaningful opportunity for cross-cultural exchange. For more information, go to www.handsofpeace.org.

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