Raj Fernando at the Canine Therapy Corps Gala

Alongside a number of my colleagues and other local philanthropic-minded executives, I attended the Black & White Young Professionals Board Spring Gala on March 8. The gala was held at the Revel Downtown and served as an excellent opportunity to support another impactful Chicago-based non-profit: the Canine Therapy Corps (CTC).

CTC empowers and motivates individuals to lead healthier, happier lives by developing therapeutic relationships with animals. The organization accomplishes this by providing people in need with animal-assisted therapy services, free of charge. Through these programs, the CTC trains and certifies dogs of all different breeds. Certified dogs are then employed to visit individuals throughout Chicago, accompanied by their volunteer handlers.

The Young Professionals Board Gala included drinks, hors d’oeuvres, dinner and a silent auction – the proceeds of which went to support CTC’s programs and initiatives. The event served as a fantastic way for businesses and individuals alike to show their support and appreciation of CTC and everything that they provide our community.

More about Raj Fernando and Chopper Trading Philanthropy.

Chopper Trading at Mardi for a Cure

Two weeks ago a group of Chopper employees complemented our sponsorship of the Mardi for a Cure gala by attending the event, which supports a great cause while celebrating Carnival season.  The event was hosted by Friends for a Cure of Diabetes, which is a charity dedicated to raising money to fund clinical and bench research at the University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center.  According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.  Without help from organizations like Friends for a Cure, new technologies would take many more years to develop and reach the people who need them most.

In addition to creating an enjoyable evening, the Friends for a Cure team achieved its most successful event ever.  There were more than 600 people in attendance – an excellent turnout especially considering the snow – and auction items brought in over $425,000 for the charity.  The auction included a wide selection of valuable and interesting items and services like a canine spa day, tickets to the skybox at a Cubs game, and getaways to exotic places like Carbarete, Dominican Republic; the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean; and the Mediterranean.  The evening was a valiant effort to benefit a cause that affects so many people.

 

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Chopper Trading E-Sports Team

Some of our employees here at Chopper Trading have found a way to apply their hobby of playing video games to further a philanthropic initiative.

Chopper Trading has joined an E-Sports After-Hours League, in which participants raise money from sponsors to compete in a video-game tournament; this approach is similar to gathering sponsors for a marathon or overnight charity walk.  The Chopper Trading team is comprised of approximately 10 of our traders and developers, and this season they will compete against 50 teams from tech companies around the country, including industry giants like Amazon, Google, and Twitter.

This is another great way our firm can give back to the community.  Most of the money raised in sponsorships by each team will go to a charity of that team’s choice.  Chopper Trading’s sponsorship money will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network.  This non-profit has enabled the success of thousands of children around the country by matching them each with an adult mentor who can act as both a friend and an invaluable source of advice and guidance. Chopper already has a fantastic, established relationship with BBBS and we hope that our E-Sports program will only strengthen it.

While the E-Sports season has just started, I couldn’t be more pleased with members of the firm finding a way to make their hobby benefit the larger community!

CEO Raj Fernando believes in social responsibility and strong community involvement for Chopper Trading.  Connect with Raj Fernando on LinkedIn to learn more about the organizations he supports.

Raj Fernando Hosts Fundraiser For Louis’ Groceries

This October, I hosted an event to help a first-of-its-kind local non-profit, Louis’ Groceries. Louis’ Groceries is striving to eradicate food deserts, which are communities where residents don’t have access to affordable healthy food.  Its mission is to make sure that the residents of Grand Crossing, Ill., a lower-income and hardworking area, are getting enough of the foods that are both good tasting and good for them. Louis’ Groceries also aims to develop a business model that will enable neighborhood corner stores to successfully retail fresh, healthy foods in food deserts throughout Illinois, or even the country.

Since opening in 2012, Louis’ Groceries has been selling fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products at low prices. It has also been teaching local residents how to prepare wholesome, easy and affordable meals, to help them develop essential cooking skills that work for busy schedules. By making healthy foods more accessible, the hope is that low-income residents will be able to eat more food that is nutrient dense, and less fattening, thus lowering obesity and diabetes rates.

To support the importance of healthy food, Louis’ Groceries invited six top Chefs from around Chicago to prepare locally sourced and appetizing food samples for the recent fundraiser at my home.  Among the chefs were:

  • Richie Farina, Sous Chef at Moto Restaurant, and a “Top Chef” contestant during the show’s ninth season.
  • Matt Eversman, Chef/Partner at OON, who opened his own restaurant at the age of 28 and has since developed a reputation as one of  the city’s best.
  • Tom Van Lente and Kevin Cuddihee, Head Chefs at TWO Restaurant and Bar, who have a unique culinary style inspired by their commitment to local ingredients, which they showcase in their work.
  • Mark Sparacino, Chef from Prosecco, who is well-known and experienced, and brought his Italian recipes to the table at the fundraiser.
  • Last but not least, Courtney Lance, Louis’ Groceries own Chef, prepared healthy and delicious sandwiches that her customers can learn how to make in the store.

With the help of our incredible chef participants, we were able to raise $100,000.00 for Louis’ Groceries. Thank you to everyone who attended, and contributed to the effort!.

Chopper Trading Sponsors Chukkers for Charity

Once again, Chopper Trading was proud to sponsor the 11th annual Chukkers for Charity on September 7, hosted by the Rotary Club of Oswego.  The Rotary Club of Oswego uses this Charity polo match to raise money to support local and international health, humanitarian and educational needs.  Proceeds from the event will help to fund well-known projects such as Polio Eradication Worldwide, Water Wells in Haiti, Owens Family YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Kendall County.  The Rotary Club of Oswego also supports a number of children’s sports teams and other organizations in the area such as Kendall County homeless shelters and scholarship programs for the local community college.

With approximately 400 attendees from regions all over northern Illinois, the polo match was an opportunity for Chopper Trading to contribute and connect with the local community and carry on a sport with an extensive heritage in the greater Chicago area.  Steeped in traditions that date back hundreds of years, polo is an exciting sport that attracts people from all walks of life to enjoy good food and great company.  We are glad to know that our sponsorship helped the Rotary Club of Oswego carry on these traditions, and will enable them to help make a difference in people’s lives throughout the community and around the world.

Our partnership with PAWS Chicago

PAWS Chicago is one of the organizations that we sponsor and donate to every year. PAWS stands for Pets are Worth Saving, and PAWS Chicago is the city’s largest No Kill humane organization, focused on solutions to end the killing of homeless pets. My dogs, Chopper and Scout, were rescue pets so the cause is near and dear to my heart. Chopper and Scout were even featured on the cover of PAWS Chicago’s 2012 calendar. Below are a few of the photos.

On  November 9th, Chopper Trading and I will be sponsoring PAWS Chicago’s annual Fur Ball at The Drake Hotel. There will be silent and live auctions, a dinner buffet and dancing, and pets are allowed to join the fun. All proceeds go towards supporting PAWS Chicago and saving homeless dogs and cats. Find out more about how you can help here.

Chopper and Scout


Animal anti-cruelty and shelter organizations are important to Chopper Trading

I have two rescue dogs, Chopper and Scout, who can often be found wandering the halls of our office. Chopper made such an impact that I decided to name my company after him.  Both Chopper and Scout are mixed breeds and were adopted from The Anti-Cruelty Society.

Raj Fernando Dogs visit Chopper Trading

Dogs Chopper and Scout visiting Chopper Trading boardroom via Raj Fernando Flickr photostream

Chopper Trading and I regularly contribute to animal anti-cruelty and shelter organizations like PAWSThe Anti-Cruelty Society , and Chicago Canine Therapy Corps in the dogs’ honor.

Raj Fernando Talks Nonprofit Donations in Crain’s Interview

In August, I did an interview with Crain’s Chicago Business to talk about donations to nonprofits Chopper Trading has made over the past year.In addition to organizations like Paws and Cedars-Sanai Hospital we donate to natural disaster relief efforts and match employees’ donations. Below is a list of organizations that Chopper Trading donates to:

Total giving, 2010-11: $1.7 million
Major gifts: Clinton Bush Haiti Fund ($100,000), Cedars-Sinai hospital, Los Angeles ($100,000), Paws Chicago ($110,000)
Smaller contributions and employee matching gifts: $1.3 million
2012 major gifts to date: Steppenwolf Theatre Company ($50,000), Illinois Holocaust Museum ($15,000)

Raj Fernando with Chopper and Scout

Raj Fernando with Chopper and Scout

Read the full interview with Raj Fernando on Crain’s Chicago Business website.