About Us

The Chili Kickoff Cookoff For Make-A-Wish is the brainchild of Matt and Judy Schnell, but it’s probably best to say that child is now an adolescent. Matt began raising money for charitable causes in college, and his early work benefited the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the American Heart Association. But Matt is a sucker for kids, and since he and Judy have four happy and healthy children, he saw Make-A-Wish as the perfect organization to receive his efforts.

Matt went to work in 2008 organizing the annual Big Hitter’s Golf Outing, which has raised more than $20,000 for Make-A-Wish in five years. That wasn’t enough, so he and Judy opened their own home and created SchnelltemberFest, an Oktoberfest-style party full of music that raised $29,000 in 2012 alone.2013 Schnelltemberfest - 142

SchnelltemberFest grew into the Chili Kickoff Cookoff For Make-A-Wish, which debuted in 2013 at Nevin’s Brewing Company in Plainfield and raised more than $21,000 for Make-A-Wish. Three wonderful kids had their wishes granted with that money. In 2014, Matt and Judy wanted to double their efforts from 2013, with the objective of doubling the number of wishes they fulfill. They recruited more than a dozen friends, colleagues and Make-A-Wish organizers to help them reach this lofty goal. This committee comes from different backgrounds, professions and locations in the Chicagoland area, but they all have the same purpose: to make life better for as many children as possible through Make-A-Wish. Their efforts surpassed everyone’s expectations and raised $60,000 and granted the wishes of ten more children!

“Make-A-Wish is such a great organization that gives children and families a vacation from reality,” Matt says. “It gives them hope and a renewed sense of life that allows them to deal with the challenges they face due to their illnesses. The wish may be for the child, but the benefits are felt by the entire family. I like to tell people we are in the smile business, delivering as many as we possibly can year after year!”

Matt, Judy and everyone who work with them have raised more than $160,000 and have delivered 26 of those smiles since 2008. Trust us, when you go into the smile business, you profit every day. Join us and enrich your life and the lives of some needy kids.

Contact Us:

Please send inquires to any one of the following:

Want to sponsor the event?  Please review the 2015 Chili Kickoff Cookoff Sponsorship Opportunities document and contact us at sponsorship@chilikickoffcookoff.com for more information.

Want to compete in this year’s event or nominate a person or restaurant that you think has the greatest chili in the land?  Email us at matt@chilikickoffcookoff.com.  There are still spots left.

Funds Raised.001

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730 N. Bolingbrook Dr, Bolingbrook, IL 60440

Sunday, October 25, 2015
Time 12:00pm


If you are interested in sponsorship, please contact us at sponsorship@chilikickoffcookoff.com

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