The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Illinois Chapter recently honored Greater Illinois Chapter board of trustees Chair Sean Gallagher with its Norman Cohn Hope Award. The award is the MS Society’s most prestigious volunteer award at the chapter level and is presented to someone who has maintained an exceptional leadership role in the community.
The award is named for Norman Cohn who was an active supporter of the movement to end MS for 33 years, committing his time, wisdom and personal resources to help those living with MS. Gallagher, of Darien, Illinois, received the honor because he epitomizes Cohn’s vision for voluntary civic action and hope for the future.
Gallagher has served as chair of the Greater Illinois Chapter’s board of trustees for three years, and he has been a board member for the past decade. As chair, he was instrumental in leading the chapter through a transition period when he first took over, steadying its financial situation and ultimately leading it to a period of sustained financial growth. Under his leadership, the chapter achieved record-breaking fundraising success, resulting in 27 percent growth from 2013 to 2014, the highest increase in the nation.
He was also instrumental in leading the chapter’s increase in gross revenue to $1.7 million over the past four years through fundraising events — including Walk MS, Bike MS, Dinner of Champions and Women on the Move — in addition to increased Illinois lottery funding.
Gallagher is a long-time supporter of Bike MS, first as a rider in 2006 and then a year later as a team captain. Over the past eight years, his bike team has raised over $225,000 and he has personally secured more than $83,000 in donations. A devoted family man, Gallagher involves his wife and two children in fundraising events such as Walk MS, MS Slugfest and MuckFest MS. Together, Gallagher and his wife have personally donated nearly $75,000 to help create a world free of MS.
Gallagher’s term as board chair will conclude on Feb. 4, 2015, but he will continue to work with the MS Society board as the vice chair. In addition to his work with the Greater Illinois Chapter, Gallagher works for Inland Bank & Trust as the senior vice president and group head within the commercial banking group.