February 22 & 23, 2013
By: Sparkly Stellafly
Photography Terry Johnston / Tim Motley
With the excitement of Oscar weekend, there is a lot of talk about red carpets, fabulous gowns, and glamorous parties. However, Grand Rapids had its own taste of a glamorous weekend with the Legacy Ball Luncheon held on Friday and the Legacy Ball on Saturday evening.
Jessica Ann Tyson began the Legacy Ball program in 2008 as an event to raise money for local nonprofits and student scholarships, recognize African American community leaders, and celebrate Black History Month. The Legacy Ball Luncheon is held the day before the Legacy Ball, and this year’s lunch event took place in the Gerald R. Ford Ballroom at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
The Legacy Luncheon was a complete success—with a sold out crowd and featuring special guest Sophia Rochon, the 2013 Miss Black Michigan USA. Guests dined on a delicious southern-themed menu and the luncheon’s theme was Beauty and Brains: A Community Conversation. It was the perfect precursor to the following evening’s event, the Legacy Ball.
Saturday night was a beautiful snowy evening outside, and on the inside of the JW Marriott there was a celebration happening, the Legacy Ball. The night began with a VIP Reception and Celebrity Silent Auction, followed by a candlelight dinner honoring the Student Advancement Fund and William C. Abney Academy in Grand Rapids. Since its inception in 2008, the Legacy Ball has given away more than $20,000 to local nonprofit organizations and scholarship funds. This event has a great history of honoring African American elected officials, pastors, attorneys, and community leaders.
The Student Advancement Foundation raises funds for invests in the students and programs of Grand Rapids Public Schools. Since 1993, the foundation has raised over $8 million to support the areas of literacy, arts, math & science, environmental education, and physical wellness. The William C. Abney Academy opened in 1998 and is a tuition-free public school for children in grades K-7.
This year’s award ceremony and student scholarship program was led by Sophia Rochon, and the dinner menu was designed especially for this event by the Executive Chef at the JW Marriott. Also included in the evening’s program was a performance by international award-winning soprano Kearstin Piper Brown. Ms. Brown has performed all throughout the United States and around the world, including Italy, the United Kingdom, and the Israeli Opera.
The Legacy Ball is a fantastic event that Stellafly was proud to be there for the third consecutive year. Congratulations to Jessica Ann Tyson and all of those who were involved in planning this weekend’s festivities!
Events by Jessica Ann, LLC, is an award winning, full-service event planning firm established in 2003 that handles every aspect of special occasion coordination, from conception through execution.
Events by Jessica Ann, LLC was awarded the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2008 Business of the Year, and was nominated for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber 2008 Small Business of the Year and Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce 2008 Minority Business of the Year.
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