The Custom Event, a Chicago area event planning and marketing firm, was retained to manage the St. Bernard Hospital Centennial Celebration project.  St. Bernard is a historic, catholic hospital on the south side of Chicago. It serves the developing but often troubled neighborhood of Englewood.

Company president, Bonnie Hansen Rybicki, states “We have developed a two-year campaign platform that will trace the hospital’s roots from inception to the first laid brick, than to the first patient taken.  It is designed to re-connect and re-commit St. Bernard to the people of the area.”

“The Growing and Giving platform will be utilized throughout hospital celebration events, fundraising activities, an in-house educational exhibit, and print and CD-Rom promotional materials.” 

Chuck Holland, hospital Director of Development and Marketing, notes, “Even initial talk about the campaign has driven renewed interest in the past and future direction of the hospital, not only from  community members but from our own staff.”  

The hospital aims to collect $2M over the course of the campaign for the ongoing support of this important vehicle and its staffing.  Additional events and activities will follow throughout. 


Hundreds of community members, media, and state dignitaries came together to celebrate a hospital that has stood the test of time.  For 100 years, St. Bernard has remained a constant in a community that is not unused to upheaval.

The celebration centered around the unveiling of a 150' historical exhibit and Museum Room designed by The Custom Event.  The event was themed "Building On Our Legacy"    and was designed in the campaign  colors  of purple,  orange,  red  and gold  incorporated in specialty linens, lighting, and custom created centerpieces.  Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were served as guests viewed the exhibit and renovated chapel area.

Additional elements developed by The Custom Event as part of the communications campaign include: a CD-Rom historical perspective,         customized gifts, photo calendar, marketing brochure, banners, and other print pieces that helped to deliver the message of celebration, awareness and need.  

Cardinal Francis George admires the extensive in-hospital historical exhibit along with Sister VanStratten, St. Bernard Executive Director, and Chuck Holland, VP of Development.
Over 700 employees were included in Centennial festivities through various initiatives including an employee video that showcased workers   from    all   departments  of the organization.    Festivities culminated in a large family picnic with food, games, and entertainment for all to enjoy.   By adding these elements   to  the  campaign,       the hospital showed how much it valued the employees and built motivation and camraderie throughout the organization.