Despite chilly temps and overcast sky, hundreds of visitors filled Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids Sunday asArtPrize Founder, Rick DeVos and Executive Director, Christian Gaines revealed the public’s top picks.
Consumers Energy kicked the event off with the announcement of the winner of the Consumers Energy SmartArt student ArtPrize Competion. The competition, in its third year, is a collaboration between Consumers Energy and Grand Rapids Public Schools. SmartArt stands for “Students Making Art with a Renewable Theme.” Students were asked to use renewable energy and energy efficiency as themes in their entries. Zoe Bultman received Best in Show from three judges. She received an Apple laptop computer and a $1,000 college scholarship from Consumers Energy.The first round of ArtPrize public voting came to an end at 11:59 PM, October 3rd. 30,994 visitors had cast 377,302 votes for art, elevating five artist entries from each category — 2-D, 3-D, Installation and Time-Based. These 20 ArtPrize Seven entries will now move on to the second round of voting, with the chance of winning over $200,000 in cash awards.
Gains and Rick DeVos took the stage to introduce the twenty artist entries selected from among 1,550 eligible works.Many of the artists and their supporters were present, and as the advancing artists were announced, spots of the crowd would burst into cheers and excited shouts of congratulations! The excitement was palpable, so much so that it was hard not to cheer even if you didn’t personally know any of the artists. Continue reading Go Forth and ArtPrize!→
BY LAURA BERGELLS
PHOTOS TJ HAMILTON Monday, March 24th marks the second annual Paws, Claws & Corks event at the Steelcase Ballroom in DeVos Place. When you attend, you’ll not only help raise money for the Humane Society of West Michigan (HSWM), you’ll also help yourself to a mouthwatering array of fabulous cuisine, brews, and wine.
Oh, and the networking opportunities?
“We’re expecting 450 plus people to attend,” said Trudy Ender, Executive Director atHSWM. “We’d like to shoot that through the roof. Over 500 would be fantastic.”
Last year’s event raised over $84,000 for the Humane Society of West Michigan. With the support of local restaurants, businesses and individuals, this year’s event is primed to be an even bigger success.
“Whether you’re an animal owner, or you just want to support the animals in our area, we want you to come,” said Nicole Cook, Marketing & Events Coordinator for the Humane Society of West Michigan. “It’s a fun event. Whether you love food, beer, and wine — or you just want to come out and support our animals, there’s something for everyone.”
The Humane Society of West Michigan has been in our area since 1883, and relies entirely on local support to fund its programs.
“Because we’re 100% donor funded, we don’t receive any funding from the government or national animal welfare organizations,” said Cook. “So everything that we do comes directly from our community. We rely on events like this that provide the majority of our funding to care for all the animals that we have year round.”
Locally, Meijer continues to support the organization and plans to be present at the event
“Since 2004, Meijer has been a partner with the Humane Society,” said Stacie Behler, Group Vice President for Public Affairs at Meijer. “We realize the importance of rescuing and finding forever homes for pets in West Michigan. And so we love to support different events that the Humane Society puts on to raise awareness as well as raising capital. We got a lot of expenses here, caring for animals.”
The HSWM needs your support to run its 15+ critical programs. The largest program is animal adoptions.
“Currently, we have about 200 animals,” said Cook. “The majority of those are dogs and cats, but we also currently have bunnies, a couple of guinea pigs, and some hamsters.”
Another big program is Kibble Konnection.
“That’s our low income pet food bank,” explained Cook. “We believe strongly that if we can provide some supplemental services for people who are struggling a little bit that they can keep that pet in the home. The pet’s happier, the people are happier, and that’s one less animal in an already overcrowded shelter.”
Other programs include humane education, spay/neuter, and animal rehabilitation.
Come to nom-nom-nom, network, and bid on auction items. This year’s event will feature noshes and guzzles from the following restaurants:
“My involvement with HSWM and Paws, Claws & Corks stems from my love of animals, particularly dogs. I have 4 amazing large, loud and lovable dogs – Bentley, Apollo, Murphy and Jimmy. The joy they have brought into my life is immeasurable. Animals give so much of themselves to their human counterparts and the least we can do is support a great organization that is dedicated to finding them their forever homes.”
Group Vice President, Public Affairs, Meijer
“I’m not unlike thousands of Meijer customers who also have pets in their homes. Today, I was with my dog Jake. And he’s got two cat brothers that live at home with us, too. He had a sister that we had to say goodbye to in November. But we are an animal family, and lots of Meijer shoppers are animal families, too, so it’s a great fit for us to support the Humane Society.”
“My passion for animals and involvement with the HSWM started as a young child. As the current President of the Board of Directors, I continually try to find innovative ways to help the organization succeed in our wonderful community. ”
Arguably one of the most unique fundraisers in the area, the Cattle Baron’s Ball is most well-known as a western-themed evening of food, music, auctions and fun for all. Since its inception in 2002, the Cattle Baron’s Ball remains a volunteer-driven event, led and attended by some of West Michigan’s most influential executives and community leaders and supported by the area’s top businesses.
“Without a doubt, the West Michigan community has once again demonstrated a passionate commitment toward the fight against cancer through their outstanding support of the Cattle Baron’s Ball,” said Kyle Amanda Dutkiewicz, distinguished events specialist for the American Cancer Society Northwest Michigan Office. “Our volunteer committee and newly formed executive council worked tirelessly over the past year and it showed in Friday night’s event.”
Funds raised at the Cattle Baron’s Ball help support the American Cancer Society’s mission of saving lives from cancer and creating a world with more birthdays by helping people stay well, helping people get well, by finding cures and by fighting back. Locally, the Society offers various programs and services such as the Hope Lodge, Road to Recovery, Reach to Recovery, Look Good…Feel Better, and has funded nearly $3.1 million in research grants in West Michigan.
“Thousands of people in West Michigan will be diagnosed with cancer this year,” Dutkiewicz said. “Many of them will reach out to the American Cancer Society for help. Because of the generosity of our donors, we will be there to answer their call.”
Brian Vander Ark, best known as lead singer for the band The Verve Pipe, was Master of Ceremonies for the evening’s program. Vander Ark, who lost both his father and step-father to cancer, shared his experience in a brief video along with West Michigan residents Derek Emerson and his 6-year-old son, Oliver, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in August 2010. The video was a moving tribute to fathers and sons who are affected by the disease. The inspirational evening program was followed by a high-energy show put on by The Family featuring Kelly Carey.
For more information about the 2012 event, visit cbbgrandrapids.com or call Kyle Amanda Dutkiewicz at 616-551-4034 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To make a $10 donation to Cattle Baron’s Ball in support of cancer patient programs and services, text BDAY to 20222.
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.
BY :: SPARKLY STELLAFLY ::
PHOTOGRAPHY :: TERRY JOHNSTON
Think back to when you were a kid. Most likely you lived within walking or biking distance to a park that was fully equipped with all of the good stuff—monkey bars, swings, sliders, and of course the merry-go-round. You probably spent hours there with your friends—and you most likely made many new friends as well.
It’s a different world now. Only 1 in 5 children live in close proximity to a place like this. This is creating a “play deficit,” which can cause delays in physical, social, and cognitive development. For the kids at St. John’s Home, this was the case—until today.
A few months ago, Jim Visser, Fund Development Director for St. John’s home, received notice that the organization had been nominated to receive a KaBOOM! Playground. Initially the nominator was a secret, but when the application process was complete and a decision was made, it was revealed that Amway Corporation was responsible for making this happen.
The premise behind KaBOOM! is simple: every child in America should have a place to play that is within walking distance. Since it was founded in 1996, over 2,000 playgrounds have been built around the country.
Amway Corporation has been part of 14 playground builds, including 10 in West Michigan. Since 2007, there has been an average of two KaBOOM! builds each year by Amway—one by logistics employees and one by manufacturing employees. The project for St. John’s Home combined the two departments.
The design process for these playgrounds involves the kids who will benefit from it. The young residents of St. John’s Home were asked to make a “wish list” for their dream playground. The staff from KaBoom! came back with three designs to vote on, incorporating all of their ideas.
Fast forward to Friday morning, when a small army of around 300 volunteers from Amway Corporation, and throughout the West Michigan community, arrived at St. John’s Home in Grand Rapids with one common goal: to build a new playground for the children that are served by this organization. Mr. Visser said that this was being called the “best build ever” and this playground will help these kids “recapture their childhood” that so many of them have lost because of abuse and neglect.
In addition to the playground built today, St. John’s home also received newly built picnic tables, flower boxes, and beautiful benches. The kids were entertained with a carnival while the construction took place, and will be able to use their new play space in a couple of days when everything is dry and ready to go.
Amway’s One by One Campaign, launched in 2003, encourages volunteerism by all Amway employees. According to Michelle Meulendyk, of Amway’s Corporate Citizenship, there have been 9.5 million children impacted worldwide since this program began. Half of their employees volunteer annually, and over 20,000 hours have been logged. Amway has been a strong supporter of D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s Home for more than a decade. Jim Weaver, Vice President of Alticor Corporate Enterprises, serves on the board of St. John’s Home and says that the company provides more than 100 volunteers each year, with a heavy focus on Christmas and back-to-school campaigns.
As I stood amongst the volunteers and saw the joy and excitement on each of their faces, it was evident that they were all there because they have a passion for helping others. It was a great reminder of how awesome the West Michigan community is, and that we really come together to help others—and have fun doing it. Congratulations to all of those who were involved in today’s activities. You have truly made a difference in the lives of so many children!
D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s is a 125-year-old agency that works in partnership with our community for the good of all children. We are local, non-profit and accredited.
They provide comprehensive services to children and families, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, foster care, adoption, and family support, as well as, residential treatment and emergency shelter care at St. John’s Campus.