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Sabrer le Champagne

A celebration of all things Champagne!

  • Saturday, April 27, 2024

  • Ritz-Carlton Hotel Chicago Grand Ballroom

  • 160 East Pearson Street

  • 6:00 P.M. Cocktail & Champagne Reception

  • 8:00 P.M. Dinner and Programming

  • 10:30 PM After-Party

  • Black Tie

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The Alliance Française de Chicago Woman’s Board is hosting its biennial gala on April 27, 2024 to raise key operating funds for education, language immersion programs for high school students from Chicago’s core neighborhoods, and cultural offerings at the Alliance, the place for all things French in Chicago. 

Recognized as one of the most elegant events in Chicago, Sabrer le Champagne, will be a celebration of all things Champagne - the region, the history, and the wine; including the art of sabrage, a technique developed by Napoleon’s army after the French Revolution for opening a champagne bottle with a saber. Sabrage has recently gained popularity with its breathtaking display, and it has become a symbol of festive celebrations. Guests will enjoy innovative entertainment, music and dancing, delicious French-inspired cuisine and, of course, French wine and champagne.

The Sabrer le Champagne gala co-chairs, Whitney Fershee and Margaret Fourness, will lead the 75-member Woman’s Board in the production of this exquisite event. Our honorary co-chairs W. Paul and Anne Krauss, will be recognized for their many years of dedication to French culture and the Alliance, by being presented the Prix de l’Alliance Française de Chicago award. This year’s goal is to raise a minimum of $400,000, to support the greater Alliance Française community.

At the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Chicago Grand Ballroom, nearly 400 of Chicago’s most influential cultural, civic and social leaders who share an affinity for the Alliance’s language, culture and education programs will be joined by prominent members of the French community and delegation to celebrate the Alliance Française de Chicago.  

The evening will feature a live auction of one-of-a-kind international travel opportunities, luxury items, and exclusive experiences. Funds collected from a Paddle Raise will support educational outreach, French language immersion experiences, and scholarships for CPS high school students. 

The Alliance is grateful to its current Host Committee supporters: Liz and Bill Adams, Noelle Brock, Solange and Bill Brown, W. Paul and Anne Krauss, Lindsay Roberts and Richard Shepro | Mayer Brown, LLP, and Liz Stiffel.

To join the Host Committee at $25,000 or provide sponsorship at levels ranging from $2,500 to $15,000, or to purchase $700 tickets, click here!

The Alliance Française de Chicago is a 127 year old non-profit organization that is part of an international network of over 1,100 Alliance cultural centers worldwide. We are Chicago’s center of French language and French-speaking cultures with a mission to promote exchange, understanding, and friendship between Americans and all French-speaking people— a world of over 220 million French speakers on every continent.

Co-Chairs: Whitney Fershee, Margaret Fourness

Honorary Chairs and Prix d’Alliance Française de Chicago Honorees: W. Paul and Anne Krauss

Woman’s Board President: Kristina Schneider

Your IMPACT is great! The level of your support and sponsorship of our Gala is critical.

Your generous support allows us to provide the people of Chicago with our high quality programs, classes, outreach, and community engagement. Merci beaucoup !

Proceeds from the Gala support these spheres of activity at the Alliance Française:

• 40% School and Kids’ Classes & Activities

• 25% Cultural Programs

• 20% Educational Outreach Étoile Scholars

• 15% Library

Educational Outreach Program: Étoile Scholars

Since our outreach program with CPS began in 1998, the “Étoile Scholars“ has provided free French immersion to over 600 students from six CPS high schools. Outcomes for this diverse group, many from resource-challenged backgrounds, are compelling: over 90% go to college, most first generation.

Sabrer le Champagne sponsors

Host Committee

Elisabeth and William Adams, Noelle Brock, Solange and William Brown, W. Paul and Anne Krauss, Lindsay Roberts and Richard Shepro | Mayer Brown, LLP, Lisbeth Stiffel


Carol Saltoun and Tim Calkins


Laurie Cherbonnier and John Nielsen, Tanja and Paul-Henri Chevalier, Whitney and Aaron Fershee, Margaret and Joseph Fourness, Betsey and Dale Pinkert, Nancy and Glen Traylor, Wintrust Bank

Les Grands Amis

Anonymous, Myriam Bransfield, Constance Frydenlund and John Covell, Libby and David Horn, Christine Laurens and Xavier Renner, Rachael Halstuk Mangoubi | Altair Advisers, Meredith and Andy Miller, Charles Mottier, Janis and John K. Notz Jr., Caroline and Petros Paranikas, Francine Saltoun, Cheryl Sandner and Bill Abromitis

Les Amis

Anonymous, Mary Ellen and Kevin Connellan, Chloe and Phillip Grant, Elizabeth and Richard Hoffman, D. Elizabeth Price and Lou Yecies, Kristina Schneider, Mary and John Swift, Elizabeth Thiele

In-kind donors

Freeman’s | Hindman


Cheryl Sandner and Bill Abromitis, Jill Hamilton-Brice, Ann Mendelsohn, Janis and John Notz, Joanna Sevim, Lauren Lozano Ziol

If you are interested in supporting the Sabrer le Champagne event as a Sponsor, please contact Yvonne Horn at [email protected].

The Alliance Française is an independent not-for-profit organization and is not a French government agency.

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