Arts & Entertainment
DIFFA Dazzled Detroit
Originally printed 10/24/2013 (Issue 2143 - Between The Lines News)
DETROIT - Exquisite dining room installations, fabulous food, beautiful people, soaring music and entertaining clowns and acrobats dazzled hundreds of partygoers at the fourth annual DIFFA Detroit event. It was at the old Federal Reserve Building in Detroit, recently purchased by Dan Gilbert's real estate holding company. The first floor space was stripped out to its I-beam studs, creating a gritty atmosphere that conveyed a work in progress image - which the building actually is in fact. The three-day celebration raised over $160,000 for the Michigan AIDS Coalition, a 75 percent increase from the 2012 DIFFA Detroit event.
"Profit from the event was up considerably from last year because our expenses were so much lower. Quicken gave us the building, all the signage, the valet parking all for free. That really helped the profit side," said MAC's Executive Director Terry Ryan. Quicken Loans and Rock Financial were the presenting sponsors and major underwriters. "We had higher attendance and more sponsored installations which also helped the bottom line," said Ryan.
Celebrations started Sept. 26 with Cocktails By Design that featured 29 of the area's best restaurants, each offering a special hors d'oeurve or dessert. Over 500 guests strolled around viewing the dining room installations and artwork displayed throughout the first floor and mezzanine venue, while tasting each of the restaurant's offerings. And no one missed the mouth-watering chocolates given out by AG Chocolates of Jackson.
The next night Artwork By Design raised over $30,000 for MAC at a live and silent auction. Over 100 local artists and 16 collectors donated original art for the auction.
The next night was the signature gala dinner with over 500 people seated at 26 different dining rooms, each created by an interior designer and sponsored by a corporate underwriter, at $10,000 per table. "We raised almost $100,000 just from table sponsors alone this year," said Ryan. The designers let their imaginations go wild and their creations varied from ultra modern to traditional, and even a faux outdoor woods and picnic table setting.
Plans are already underway for next year's DIFFA Detroit, and Ryan is hoping that Dan and Jennifer Gilbert will return as co-hosts and their companies as presenting sponsors. "We couldn't have had better partners than they were. They were terrific to work with, and incredibly generous," said Ryan.
The Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS is a New York based foundation that raises money to grant to organizations that fight HIV/AIDS. They co-sponsor with local HIV/AIDS organizations at similar events in 13 cities across the nation.