2015 TASC Leadership Awards Luncheon to Honor Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, Entrepreneur Bill O’Donnell

(Chicago) – With a commitment to reducing incarceration and increasing opportunities for recovery, TASC will honor two leading voices in these movements at the agency’s 2015 Leadership Awards Luncheon on December 10.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart will receive TASC’s 2015 Justice Leadership Award and entrepreneur and recovery advocate William T. O’Donnell, Jr. will receive the agency’s 2015 Public Voice Leadership Award.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois will serve as the presenting sponsor of this year’s event, which supports TASC’s services across Illinois.

Dart is a national leader in calling for an end to the over-incarceration of people with mental health and substance use problems, advocating instead for available treatment and supports in the community.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, TASC's 2015 Justice Leadership Award Honoree

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, TASC’s 2015 Justice Leadership Award Honoree.

Elected sheriff in 2006, Dart is responsible for the nation’s largest single site jail, which daily detains thousands of individuals who have mental health and substance use disorders. Until a few years ago, nine out of 10 jail detainees lacked healthcare coverage, thereby significantly hindering their access to community-based treatment. When Medicaid eligibility was expanded in 2013 to cover previously uninsured adults, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with TASC and the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, created processes for all individuals coming through the jail to apply for coverage. Since 2013, more than 25,000 people who have come through the Cook County Jail have applied for healthcare coverage, increasing their opportunities to access community-based care before they reach the justice system.

Dart continues to promote collaborative, community-based partnerships and linkages to care for people with complex health issues. Most recently, the sheriff’s office, along with TASC and Heartland Alliance, received a $1M grant from the University of Chicago Urban Labs to develop a Supportive Release Center for people with mental health issues who are exiting the jail.

“Sheriff Dart understands that the criminal justice system was never designed to be a health care provider,” said TASC President Pam Rodriguez. “We support and applaud his commitment to creating more sensible, effective, and dignified societal responses to behavioral health problems.”

Entrepreneur Bill O'Donnell, TASC's 2015 Public Voice Leadership Award Honoree

Entrepreneur Bill O’Donnell, TASC’s 2015 Public Voice Leadership Award Honoree.

Creating pathways to recovery has been the longtime mission of Bill O’Donnell, who will receive TASC’s Public Voice Leadership Award. A native of Chicago, O’Donnell resides in Wilmette and is managing director of ODE, LLC, an investment and development firm. He began his career with Bally Manufacturing and quickly ascended the corporate ladder, but addiction took its toll. O’Donnell’s subsequent personal journey and rejuvenation in recovery, combined with his business development expertise, led him to found Sierra Tucson in 1983, which he built into a world renowned addiction treatment center and dually licensed psychiatric hospital.

In 1995, O’Donnell also founded Miraval Resort, which has consistently received the highest ratings by industry publications. Along with a being a prominent business leader, he remains a voice for others who struggle with addiction, and also an advocate for family involvement in the treatment and recovery process.

“We are thrilled to be able to recognize Bill as a renowned leader in the treatment field,” said TASC Executive Vice President Peter Palanca. “From the outset of his work in the field, he understood that addiction is far beyond an individual struggle; it’s a family disease too. By creating clinical programs that include family members in the process, he not only has helped countless people achieve and maintain recovery, but he has helped families become stronger and healthier as well.”

TASC’s 2015 Leadership Awards Luncheon will take place at the Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago on Thursday, December 10 from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM. Registration is requested by November 19. For sponsorship opportunities and additional information, please click here.


TASC Founder Melody Heaps, Judge George Timberlake to be honored at Dec. 1 TASC Luncheon; Event & Raffle Tickets Going Fast

 (Chicago, IL) — Friends and colleagues are invited to join TASC in honoring Melody M. Heaps and Judge George W. Timberlake at a luncheon at the Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago on December 1.

Melody M. Heaps, TASC Founder

Ms. Heaps, TASC’s founder and president emeritus, will receive the Justice Leadership Award in recognition of her considerable accomplishments in building systems and promoting public policies that address chronic health issues while enhancing public safety. Ms. Heaps founded TASC in Cook County (IL) in 1976 as a nonprofit, case management agency linking criminal courts to community-based treatment. Under her leadership as TASC’s president until 2009, the agency expanded to serve every jurisdiction in Illinois, and extended its services to juvenile justice, corrections, and child welfare systems. Widely recognized for her expertise, Ms. Heaps has been instrumental in shaping local, state, and federal policies related to treatment, recovery, and alternatives to incarceration.

Judge Timberlake, retired chief judge of the Second Judicial Circuit, will receive TASC’s Public Voice Leadership Award for his dedication and accomplishments in improving the juvenile justice system in Illinois. “During his 23 years on the bench, Judge Timberlake championed the importance of community-based treatment alternatives for nonviolent individuals whose drug problems caused them to cycle repeatedly through the courts.” said Colleen Flanagan, administrator of TASC services in southeastern Illinois. “His unique blending of accountability and compassion has improved the lives of thousands of youth and adults here in the Second Circuit.”

The Honorable George W. Timberlake

TASC’s 2010 luncheon will take place at the Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago on Wednesday, December 1 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Tickets are $150 apiece.

The luncheon will conclude with a raffle drawing featuring an array of valuable prizes, including round-trip tickets on American Airlines, a $500 debit gift card, hotel accommodations, and admission to numerous Chicago-area attractions. Raffle ticket holders need not be present at the drawing to win. Get your tickets today!

For luncheon tickets or more information, please visit www.tasc.org or contact Nitza Reyes at (312) 573-8201.