Raj Fernando Proud Contributor of Steppenwolf Gala

As an ardent supporter of both local Chicago charities and the performing arts, I am proud to contribute to The Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s mission to engage audiences and provide stimulating performances.

Steppenwolf recently held its annual gala bringing together civic and business leaders from the Chicago community for a memorable celebration of the theater. The event is critical to providing the organization with the resources that its actors, directors and playwrights need to continue their work. I, alongside Chopper Trading employees, have enjoyed many of Steppenwolf’s marvelous performances over the years.

This annual Gala provides us with a chance to give back, and the 2013 event was a great success – Steppenwolf was able to raise more than $1 million from event ticket sales and the live auction.  Auction items included opening-night tickets to the upcoming Broadway production of “Of Mice and Men,” starring James Franco, as well as dinner with Joan Allen, Rick Bayless, Laurie Metcalf and Bruce Norris, and a chance to join William Petersen at an upcoming Chicago Cubs baseball game.

Kudos to Steppenwolf for hosting another exciting and successful event!

Chopper Trading and Big Brothers Big Sisters

For the third consecutive year, Chopper Trading has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago to provide one-on-one mentors for children ages six through 18. The mission of BBBS is, through a network of mentor volunteers, to provide high impact mentoring that enables lifelong success. The relationships that are created between the mentors (“Bigs”) and the children (“Littles”) are tremendous and truly help inspire the children to realize that they each possess unlimited potential, and a bright and positive future.

This month, Chopper accompanied a dozen children from Suder Elementary School, to the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Special Recreation Facility. The Chopper ”Bigs” and their “Littles” participated in UIC’s Team Challenge Program, which included activities focused on teamwork, cooperation and building trust amongst the members of the group. Like all of our previous outings with BBBS, this was a memorable day for all of us at Chopper and we hope that our time with the children has instilled in them the confidence to unlock their potential.

These relationships, built on trust and friendship, significantly impact the lives of these children. In fact, Public/Private Ventures – an independent Philadelphia-based national research organization – conducted a study of nearly one thousand boys and girls from eight Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the country. The researchers found that after 18 months of spending time with their “Bigs”, the ”Littles”, compared to those children not in the program, were:

  • 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
  • 52% less likely to skip school
  • 37% less likely to skip a class
  • 33% less likely to hit someone

They also found that the “Littles” were more confident about their performance in school and got along better with their families.


Chopper Trading and the Boy & Girls Club of Chicago

The Boys & Girls Club of Chicago (BGCC) is one of the nonprofit organizations that we have developed a relationship with over the years. We recognize the importance of mentors in the lives of youth, and as such, we have found a way to help guide them to reach their full potential.

Every other Thursday, Chopper Trading employees open the doors of our office to middle school students in the BGCC. We help them with their homework and school projects, play games in our company’s game room, and sometimes we’ll just catch up over pizza. By sharing their time and knowledge, Chopper employees are able to create a safe, educational and structured environment for the BGCC students to continue their development as productive, responsible and caring citizens.

We are proud to be viewed by the BGCC as a team that can provide its young adults with the atmosphere and guidance that they need and want.




Chopper Trading Sponsors FIA Expo and Futures Cares Charity Dinner

As part of FIA Expo, on Thursday, November 1stChopper Trading is sponsoring the Futures Cares Charity Dinner to benefit the Great Chicago Food Depository. The Futures Cares Charity Dinner gives companies and individuals in the futures and options industry the opportunity to provide funds to feed people in need. Futures Cares has raised over $1.2 million to help feed the hungry in Chicago over the last four years.


To find out more information about the fundraiser, visit the Chicago Food Bank website.


Additionally, the public can enter to win dinner for two at 12 of Chicago’s finest steakhouses to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository: www.chicagosfoodbank.org/chicagosteakhouses. The winner will be announced on Friday, November 2nd.


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.