5th Annual Primo Classico

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The 5th annual  Primo Classico brought together 350 guests in support of an ambitious mission: to break the cycle of intergenerational homelessness and poverty for families in Chicago. It is this effort that the Primo Center for Women and Children  has been dedicated for over four decades, during which time its housing programs, behavioral health services, and evidence-based interventions have aided numerous families in crisis.  

The event is the signature fundraiser for the Primo Center, and organizers strive to create a memorable night for patrons to enjoy.  Set inside Hawthorne Global Aviation Services’  state-of-the-art hangar, this year’s Primo Classico had it all—from private jets and luxury sports cars to gourmet cuisine paired with exquisite wines. Exciting entertainment, silent and live auctions, and a surprise unveiling of Lake Forest Sportscars Ferrari 458 racecar kept energy levels high throughout the evening. 

An aerial performer, swaying in a chiffon sling suspended from the hangar ceiling, poured sparkling wine for guests before they entered the European-style wine avenue. Curated by Wine Channel TV  the avenue featured exceptional wines from St. Supéry Napa ValleyRaymond Vineyards and more. Signature dishes from some of Chicago areas best eateries – Bella Via, Francesca’s IntimoTocco Chicago and Shop & Save Markets and a tequila station by Casamigos Tequila rounded out the reception. Guests enjoyed a seated dinner with selected wines. The primo course was prepared by Prosecco Ristorante and the second course by Pelago Ristorante. Gourmet mini cupcakes from Swirlz Cupcakes and macaroons from Vanille Pâtisserie were served by wait staff and also at the dolce buffet bar.  More information on the wines brands supporting the Primo Classico can be found here.  

Laura Schwartz professional speaker, television commentator, and author emceed the evening.  Christine Achre, CEO of the Primo Centers said, “The Primo Center community collectively has taken a stand to end homelessness and promote family well-being. We have grown from one site to four sites and a budget from $500,000 to nearly $5 million dollars! This is due directly to our commitment and performance.” 

Luxury auction packages from underwriting sponsor Waldorf Astoria and Hawthorne Global Aviation Services, along with packages from Lake Forest Sportscars, Wine Channel TV and former Navy Seals of  Permanent Solutions Training raised over $100,000. An additional $110,000 was raised during the appeal. 

Diane and Quintin Primo introduced Annie Geraghty Helms who accepted the Primo Global Service Award on behalf of  DLA Piper. The award honors individuals whose leadership and broad vision are helping to address one of society’s most vulnerable sectors – homeless parents and their children. 

“Since 2005, DLA Piper has provided more than 1,800 hours of free legal assistance to the Primo Center valued at more than $1.3 million dollars. The Primo Center would not be in the position it is today if it were not for DLA Piper’s unwavering and long-term commitment to the center and its mission,” said Quintin Primo at 5th Annual Primo Classico  

Rick Mancuso, owner of Lake Forest Sportscars next spoke of the Primo Center’s important work before unveiling the Ferrari 458 racecar wrapped in the Primo Classico and Primo Center logos in a design created by Pagliuco Design. The car will race in the Ferrari Challenge – the Finali Mondiali – at Daytona International Speedway, December 1-4.  

The evening ended with dancing to the high octane sounds of DJ Madrid.  The event was co-chaired by Cassie Carver of Lake Forest Sportscars and Marc Jacobson of Marc Jacobson and Associates. Lake Forest Sportscars, Marc Jacobson and Associates, Prudential and Capri Global were the Presenting Sponsors. Gross proceeds from the evening were approximately $480,000. 


The Primo Center is committed to breaking the cycle of intergenerational homelessness and poverty for families. The Center provides shelter and permanent housing, a unique mix of trauma-informed behavioral health services, an on-site early childhood center, and family-centered home visiting services. The Primo Center is a place of safety and support, from which families can heal and grow.  


Headline photo credit: Paolo Cascio 

Photo Credi from 5th Annual Primo Classico t: Paolo Cascio  and  Mila Samokhina 

About Margaret O'Connor

Margaret J. O’Connor is the founder/owner of MarCon Communications, a public relations and special events firm which handles the publicity and event needs for a diverse range of clients. She’s involved with numerous charities in Chicago and is active in its lifestyle and social scene. She grew up and was educated in Africa, Australia and America and holds degrees in marketing and finance from the University of Illinois. She is a contributing writer to many print and digital publications and her focus is lifestyle, culinary and nonprofit events. Read more from this author.