Extended Grace’s annual fundraiser, Prom with a Purpose, netted $29,000 during the event held May 17 at Porto Bello’s Grand Hall in Grand Haven. Money raised will go to support the teen and preteen program at the Momentum Center for Social Engagement. The program costs about $40,000 annually to operate.
The first year of the teen program funding was raised through a crowdfunding campaign. The teen program is the recipient of the 2019 fundraiser because there’s no other regular funding for the program, said Extended Grace Executive Director Barbara Lee Van Horssen.
“It is critical that we continue to fund this program because mental illness is at crisis levels for our youth,” she said. “We recently expanded the teen program to include 11- and 12-year-olds because of the number of requests we get from parents to provide opportunities for this age group.”
About 274 people attended the fundraiser, which included live and silent auctions, dinner and dancing. In 2018, 160 people attended and raised a net total of $11,000.
Van Horssen said she’s grateful to sponsors and for participants to help create a stigma-free community.
“Their generous donations help people with mental illness, addictions and disabilities live life more fully, without stigma, and in the joy of human connection,” she said.
In addition to raising money, volunteers were also honored and recognized during the event. Award recipients include Nicki Kubec, Just Goods volunteer; Elizabeth Furtaw, Momentum Center volunteer; Becky Moleski, Momentum Center instructor; Chrysteen Moelter-Gray, Extended Grace volunteer; Leijhi Koval, Extended Grace leadership; Jose' Ramos, Participation Award; Jack Pimm, Catalyst Award; David Lewis, for behind the scenes; David Brifnek, Doug Chestnut Award; and The Grand Haven Tribune, Corporate Award for increasing community awareness.
Van Horssen thanked prom committee and co-chairs Carey Korpi, Sue Smolenski and Kim Zevalkink for their efforts.
The next Prom with a Purpose is planned for May 15, 2020. Individuals or organizations interested in becoming a sponsor can email [email protected] Anyone interested in volunteering or donate should visit www.extendedgrace.org.
Extended Grace is a nonprofit grassroots movement to create a stigma-free community. It has no religious or political affiliations. Extended Grace operates the Momentum Center for Social Engagement and Just Goods Gifts and Cafe.