We are very fortunate to be active in a number of civic organizations in
Chicago. What is particularly nice is that we call two neighborhoods home. Our
bakery is located on the northwest side in the Wright Campus community, which is
west of Portage Park and Six Corners. We are fortunate to partner with Wright
College on many community initiatives, including our Festival, Farmers Market
and Training. We are proud to have been part of this neighborhood since 1984 and
we are happy to be a proponent of how great it is to work, shop and live in the
Since 1962, Eli’s has been active on North Michigan Avenue, first with Eli’s
Stage Delicatessen and now Eli’s the Place for Steak, just east of the the
historic Water Tower. I have been fortunate to continue my dad’s passion for
improving the community serving as President of the Greater North Michigan
Avenue Association and as founder of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, which
is now the biggest one day celebration in Chicago other than the 3rd of July
In August, I was very honored when our resident organization for the Michigan
Avenue Neighborhood, the Streeterville Organization of Active Resident (SOAR)
presented me with the first SOAR Spirit Award. I have shared below the remarks
by its President, Rosalie Harris, who was most kind. To me, the exciting part is
that business people and entrepreneurs can make a difference in their
communities and I am honored that we can continue to play a role in the Michigan
Avenue neighborhood and at the Wright Campus
Remarks by Rosalie Harris
Streeterville Organization of Active
August 26, 2004
For a number of years, and under a couple of names, the Board has had the
SOAR Spirit Award on the books. This award recognizes a noteworthy improvement
or service for Streeterville community residents and the person or institution
acting as the catalyst or director of this activity. The recipient is thought of
as going “above and beyond the call of duty,” rather than a regular part of
The recipient need not be a resident of Streeterville. However, I am so
pleased that the very first recipient is a resident, a SOAR member, and
the “glue”—or should I say, the “cheesecake”—that holds many of Streeterville’s
various and complex interests together.
It’s difficult to describe Marc Schulman without making him sound like a Boy
Scout, because in his deeds, his words, and in his past honors, he is everything
that represents what is good and generous in life.
You all know what Marc does for a living. As President of The Eli’s
Cheesecake Company he is a brilliant business leader. He makes a wonderful
product and is a marketer par excellence. Perhaps less well known is his
commitment to empowering Eli’s people through educational opportunities. He
worked with Wright College to create “Eli’s U,” an on-site GED classroom that
attracted a visit from President Bill Clinton. Entrepreneurial and education
driven to the bone, Marc persuaded his alma mater—and our neighbor—Northwestern
Law School, to establish a clinic devoted to startup business and
Close to home, Marc is a past President of the Greater North Michigan Avenue
Association and was the founding chairman of the Magnificent Mile Lights
Festival. He and I have hopes that residents will more fully participate in this
premier holiday festival in the future, by the way.
Marc is a member of the Board of Directors of Northwestern Memorial Hospital
and the Northwestern University Associates Board.
With support from SOAR and other groups, Marc spearheaded the campaign to
create the Eli M. Schulman Playground in memory of his father and to reconstruct
Seneca Park. In less than a year, he raised $350,000, competed the construction,
and raised enough funds to install Deborah Butterfield’s beloved “Ben” in the
Park. For his work, he received a Park Stewardship Award from Friends of the
Parks, as well as a City Brightener Award from Bright New City Foundation.
He is a former Board member of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and
a vice-president and director of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois.
Although his reputation preceded him, I first met Marc when he led a Halloween
tour of Graceland Cemetery, as a docent for the Chicago Architectural
Foundation. The tour and the pumpkin muffins were great.
For many years, Marc has co-sponsored SOAR’s Beautification Awards, which
will be presented next Wednesday at our annual meeting.
He has never said no to donations of Eli’s products. SOAR, as well as Help
Ease Local Poverty, Lawson House YMCA, New Freedom Foundation, Chicago Food
Depository, Northwestern Memorial Foundation, Gallery 37, Preservation Chicago
and the annual Streeterville Doggie Halloween Party have been recipients of his
We recently had the opportunity to give a gift that said “Streeterville,” and
we could think of nothing more appropriate than Eli’s Cheesecake.
And when the Board had the opportunity to bestow the SOAR Spirit Award, we
could think of no one more appropriate than Marc Schulman! Marc, please come up
to receive your award.
Marc, we have an extra-added surprise for you, from SOAR and SOAR’s resident
artist, June Allen. June, please stand up. We are honored to have a wonderful
Allen collection in our office, including a watercolor of Seneca Park. June
actually produced two scenes from the Park, and we all decided that one had
“your name on it,” Marc.