The nonprofit Housing Forward, which tackles homelessness in Oak Park and other west suburbs, has allies (and some fun) in pretty high places.
Chris Sullivan — who plays “Toby” on the hit NBC show This Is Us — along with his wife, Rachel, emceed the Maywood-based nonprofit’s “Have a Heart Gala,” held Feb. 24, at the Mid-America Club on the 80th floor of the Aon Building in Chicago, where the couple met before moving to L.A. in 2010. The Sullivans spend some of their off-hours at soup kitchens and halfway homes, they said.
“When this came up, it was already aligned with what we value,” said Rachel, director of global sales training for CoolSculpting by Allergan — a non-surgical technology that reduces fat tissue in patients.
Chris — who is also known for other memorable roles, such as “Taserface” in Guardians of The Galaxy: Vol. 2 and as the voice behind the affable Geico camel (“Guess what day it is?”) — said he was particularly drawn to Housing Forward’s mission of providing housing to those experiencing homelessness.
“A lot of people don’t understand that you can’t get a job, you can’t get a driver’s license, you can’t vote — if you don’t have an address,” he said.
“I’ve had family members who have been on the verge of homelessness and are in need of just the smallest bit of help in order to transition from one situation to another,” Chris noted. “Some people don’t have the support family or other resources, so luckily there are organizations like Housing Forward that bridge that gap.”
The fundraising gala featured a silent auction, dancing, and a memorable duet by the couple. Chris even donated his personal copy of the script for the “This Is Us” Super Bowl episode, signed by the entire cast.