Forum Foundation cruise raises over $1,000 for scholarship program

Jason A. Michael
By | 2016-09-01T09:00:00-04:00 September 1st, 2016|Michigan, News|

DETROIT – Nearly 100 people boarded the Diamond Belle on Aug. 19 and took the annual Forum Foundation cruise on the Detroit River. The cruise, which took about two hours, left from the dock at MacDougal Street and sailed up to the river to the mouth of Lake St. Claire and then down the river to just past the Ambassador Bridge before returning to shore.
Shining down upon the Diamond Belle was a breathtaking orange moon than hung low and full in the sky.
“On the many boat cruises I’ve had the pleasure of taking with the Forum Foundation I have never seen a moon as golden or as large as I did this time,” said Charles Alexander, a cruise regular. “It was stunning and very appropriate to honor the occasion.”
The Forum Foundation, which has kept a low profile in recent years, has been hosting the cruise on the Detroit River since 2008. Prior to that, the group hosted a cruise on the Clinton River.
“They do love the cruise,” said John DiDonato, the Forum Foundation’s chairperson, of the crowd. “It’s always a good time every year.”
This year’s cruise made a profit of over $1,000. There was a 50/50 raffle that took in $300 and the winner generously donated her $150 back to the organization.
The Forum Foundation is known for giving college scholarships to LGBT students and allies. They’ve been doing it for over 15 years now. Their last scholarship, for $1,000, was awarded to Toby Brooks earlier in the year.
In its heyday, the Forum Foundation awarded multiple scholarships a year, sometimes as many as four.
“We’re kind of in a lull right now,” DiDonato said. “We lost a lot of our board members. People just got older and moved away. There’s just like four of us that are on the board right now and we need to rebuild.”
The Forum Foundation also produces an annual Valentine’s Day dance in February. But the future of that event is in jeopardy.
“We used to have a big turnout but, as I said, the community is getting smaller, at least the community we deal with,” said DiDonato. “We get less and less attendance. It’s a lot of work and I don’t know if we’ll do the dance again. We’ll see.”
But dance or no dance, the cruise still seems to draw out a crowd.
“I loved it,” said Gordon Price, who has taken the cruise for the last five years. “It was a relaxing, beautiful evening with nice people.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.