Hannes Richter

Licht ins Dunkel

Hannes Richter

Austria, a small country in the heart of Europe with eight million inhabitants, has long been known for its humanitarian contributions. They include the promotion of peace projects, the support of refugees, and the help of children in need (SOS Kinderhilfsaktion). Austria's charity has now reached across the ocean to America under the motto of Licht ins Dunkel (Light of Hope), a non-profit organization founded twenty-five years ago by Austrian Radio and Television (ORF). It is dedicated to raising funds to help needy children.


Inspired by Alex Svadlena (Xpert Technologies, Inc.), organized by the Austrian American Council Midwest and with the help of the Charity Committee of Light of Hope Chicago, a fundraising evening took place in Chicago on December 8, 2003 in support of children suffering from cancer in the Chicago area. The proceeds were for the benefit of Joey S., a seven year-old cancer patient in Children's Memorial Hospital. This hospital is one of the ten best pediatric hospitals in the United States and is leading in research development as well as in the medical care of children.

More than 120 people enjoyed an outstanding culinary feast created by Chefs Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris, along with the finest of wines, courtesy of Weinbauer, Inc. at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. A silent auction offered a number of outstanding items such as a roundtrip ticket to Vienna sponsored by Austrian Airlines and a four-night stay at a first class hotel in Vienna. Guests were entertained by various artists, including the group, "Live Entertainment - Parisian Salon Concerts."

The evening at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago generated a total of $25,000 as a result of ticket sales, auctions and cash donations. Alex Svadlena expressed his appreciation for the generosity shown by Austrians and their friends. Through his initiative, other fundraising events were introduced in New York and Los Angeles, easing the financial burden of families in need as well as providing for funding of research projects.

The Organizing Committee of this event consisted of Alex Svadlena, AIC President; Manfred Bauer, Weinbauer Inc.; Gerhard Kaes, Vienna Pastry Shop, President of AACMidwest;Christoph Schmidinger, GM of Ritz Carlton Hotels; and Austrian Consul Gernot Wiedner . See: www.LightOf HopeChicago.org or E-Mail: info@lighthopechicago.org