Grand Event has been our annual fundraising event for many years. We have known some very successful Grand Events over the years...but last week's Grand Event at The Pfister was the best ever! This was the consensus reached by 25 colleagues--members, staff, and a volunteer--at this morning's House Meeting. The event FELT GOOD. It was a beautiful celebration of the impact of Grand Avenue Club on our lives.
Our speakers were Dave Hanson, who told us of the satisfaction of proving his himself via Clubhouse opportunities; Wuanette Exum, currently working at Renaissance Child Development Center, and soon going to school so that she may work in early childhood education; Ricardo Hernandez, who just started working at Colectivo's Troubadour Bakery; and Paul Lindstrom, currently at the Medical College of Wisconsin, who teamed up with his placement manager Jenny Teuscher to share with the crowd of 330 supporters how Transitional . Employment "works" and how profoundly his recent TEs--First Baptist Church, BILTRITE Furniture-Leather-Mattresses, Foley & Lardner, and now the Medical College of Wisconsin--has changed his life!
This year there were some new features. We had a Water St. Boutique "pop up shop," a sale of beautiful art and jewelry made by GAC colleagues, a Silent Auction with some fabulous items and a "Spin the Wheel" game whereby players won gift cards from restaurants and stores all around town.
So many attendees were generous via their sponsorships and during the exciting "Paddle Raise!" Ray Bierle, Grand Avenue Club member and a superb nature photographer, contributed a beautiful photo to the last person to "raise a paddle" which led to an exciting, feverish race that raised thousands of extra dollars for GAC operations.
We loved honoring Isabel Bader, Reuben Harpole, and Anne Luber, all of whom have supported us throughout various stages of our 30 year history. All spoke articulately (via video) about how critical Grand Avenue Club is not only to its current members, but to the entire Milwaukee community.
We are hopeful that Milwaukee will heed Isabel Bader's words: "Grand Avenue Club is certainly going to be required, as far as I can see...forever."
Latoya Sykes was an outstanding emcee who not only kept things going but presided over the event with the skills and wit for which she is known.
We have not yet compiled all the financial information, but we do know that we far surpassed our goal. We are grateful to our hard-working board of directors and our many friends and supporters. Without your strong, generous commitment to our way of working, we could not BE Grand Avenue Club, "a community that works" as well as it does. Let's keep up the good work--together.