Fall Features LGBT Fundraising Festivities


Metro Detroit's traditional array of events benefitting local LGBT organizations begins this month.


AIDS Walk Detroit commemorates its 25th year on Sunday, Sept. 13 with a 5K walk and quilt ceremony. The event is held under the motto, "Walking to end HIV.". The "Names Project" memorial quilt ceremony will be held before the walk begins.
The event will be emceed by Dr. Partha Nandi, host of the medical lifestyle show, "Ask Dr. Nandi." Nandi practices gastroenterology in Metro Detroit and is a clinical assistant professor at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.
Participants can register for the event as individuals, as a group/ family or as team. Registration begins at $25, which will include a T-shirt. Registration and more information can be found by emailing [email protected] or by calling 248-399-WALK.
As of press time, AIDS Walk Detroit had raised over $80,000 and is hoping to reach a goal of $225,000 to support programs for HIV/AIDS prevention, education and services for individuals affected. AIDS Walk will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 13 at the Royal Oak Farmers Market, 316 E. 11 Mile Road. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m.; the quilt ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. Visit for more information.


Aiming to benefit local LGBTQ and questioning runaway youth, the Ruth Ellis Center (REC) will host its annual "Voices" event on Thursday, Sept. 17. REC, who recently co-hosted a 5K Walk/Run with Fiat (FCA US) in August, is a youth social services agency that serves the needs of runaway, homeless and at-risk youth in Metro Detroit and is the only organization in the country that has a residential program for LGBTQ youth in the foster care and juvenile justice system.
Famed LGBT comedian Bruce Vilanch will emcee the event, where he will also host a "meet and greet" during the VIP reception. "His comedic style will be a great addition to the program," says Mark-Erwin McCormick, director of development at REC. "We are also excited to premiere an incredible short film produced by the youth of Out In The System, the youth leadership and advocacy program funded by the ARCUS Foundation. There will also be a silent auction with great items to bid on, four enter-to-win packages, a strolling dinner and complimentary bar."
This year's theme for Voices is "Gearing Up For Success"; the event will be presented by Lear Corporation and Between The Lines. "Their (Lear) continued generosity is a testament to their commitment to diversity, equality and the LGBTQ youth who utilize the center's programs and services," says McCormick.
The VIP reception for the event will begin at 6 p.m., with the main event following at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $175-275 and can be purchased at Voices 2015 will be held at the Waterview Loft at Port Detroit, 130 E. Atwater St., Detroit.


Michigan AIDS Coalition (MAC) and honorary co-chairs Gretchen Gonzales Davidson and Ethan Davidson will host the 20th anniversary of ArtWorks Detroit to round out September's LGBT-centric events. Considered Michigan's premier showcase charity event, the event will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18 at The Alchemy – Warehouse C, 2051 Rosa Parks Blvd. in Detroit.
"We're thrilled to have reached our 20th anniversary with ArtWorks Detroit," says Terry Ryan, CEO for MAC. "The generosity of the art and design communities in Detroit is tremendous – both have assisted MAC in fundraising since we were first founded. We look forward to hosting artists, designers and their fans at this very special anniversary event."
Event-goers can bid on 150 pieces of fine artwork from many disciplines created by some of the most esteemed artists in and outside of Michigan. The original artwork featured at this annual art event will go to the highest bidder in live and silent auctions. Pre-bidding was available at online in a new twist to the event this year. Proceeds, as Ryan notes, raise "'discretionary' or 'un-emcumbered' funds, i.e. dollars that can be used for any agency expense, as opposed to grant funds that are tied to specific functions."
Guests will also enjoy a strolling fashion show, hors d'oeuvres, cocktails and live entertainment.
Leading this year's event are Barbara Bunting (ArtWorks Detroit Co-Founder), Carl Demeulenaere (ArtWorks Detroit Co-Founder, Artist), Peter Gahan (Detroit Art Consultant, Designer), Ted Lee Hadfield (President/CEO, Artpack Services). Other members of the committee include: Antonio "Shades" Agee, Robert Biess, Carlos Borrego, Jeff Cancelosi, Yuen Hom, Kyle "RISE" Irving, Eric Longs, Todd Peplinksi and Steven Schoeberlein.
Danialle and Peter Karmanos, Jr. return as platinum sponsors. Other sponsors are Tito's Handmade Vodka, Jim Beam, Vertical Detroit and Walk Fashion Show. Artpack Services, Inc. of Farmington will professionally install the artwork for the auction display.
Guests may notice that the event, previously part of the larger, three day long "DIFFA," has changed forms. "The event has been at a variety of venues in its history; generally when an event changes venues, it is due mostly to things like costs, or availability of a space on a particular date, or outgrowing a particular venue," Ryan says. "In the last five years, the event has been at College for Creative Studies, Willys Overland Lofts, Joe Dumars Fieldhouse, and two years at the former Federal Reserve building. In those five years, it was one part of a larger event – DINING BY DESIGN – instead of a stand alone. This year, we are not doing the larger event, but returning ArtWorks to a stand-alone event in part to celebrate this anniversary. Too, guests like to see new spaces."
Tickets to ArtWorks Detroit are $75, including complimentary valet, and may be purchased at Proceeds from the event will benefit the work of MAC and its mission to prevent HIV/AIDS in Michigan by promoting healthy lifestyles, providing and investing in evidence-based, innovative programs and through advocacy and education. MAC is one of Michigan's largest nonprofit, community-based organizations dedicated to health promotion, harm and risk reduction, HIV and sexually transmitted disease prevention education, grant making and public policy.
For more information, or to donate, call 248-545-1435.


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