Michigan

Annual Spring Bash Raises Funds for Affirmations

BY KATE OPALEWSKI

Affirmations' Annual Spring Bash themed Emerald City was "an incredible success" this year with over 450 people in attendance. The event on March 18 at the MGM Grand Detroit raised a total of $194,000 for the community center in Ferndale.

"It is humbling and heart warming that so many of our friends turned out and pledged support to our center," said Susan Erspamer, executive director at Affirmations, who thanked her "incredibly talented and dedicated staff" while addressing attendees. They are Katie Koch, Lilianna Reyes, Becca Budde, Ryan Fowler, Shelly McCallister, Ian Unger, Heather Aymer and Kyle Taylor.

"My favorite part of the evening is meeting and talking with people and being able to say thank you, whether it is individually or through my comments as part of the program," she said. "Spring Bash is an excellent platform to let people know what Affirmations is doing, how vital they are to our success, share our appreciation and affirm our commitment to be good stewards of their donations."

Erspamer also expressed the organization's commitment to supporting the public policy and advocacy efforts of sister LGBT organizations present at the event - the Ruth Ellis Center, LGBT Detroit, Equality Michigan, the ACLU of Michigan and the Gender-Identity Network Alliance.

During the VIP reception, Affirmations awarded individuals who demonstrate longstanding dedication to the community center and give generously of their time, talent, and gifts. Honorees included John Corvino, who received the Community Hero Award; Hannah Hartley, who received the Jan Stevenson Award; Debbie Kenjorski, who received the Lorna Utley Award; Henry Grix and Howard Israel, who received the Charles Moyer Philanthropy Award; and John White, who received the Volunteer of the Year Award.

"We thank Susan for her incredible leadership at the center this year," said Frank Aiello, president of Affirmations' board of directors.

"It has become clear to everyone involved with the center that Susan is an incredible listener, a tireless worker, and a thoughtful strategist. We're lucky to have you and your amazing staff," he said, adding, "In a time when having a safe space is more important than ever, Affirmations is there. A shining, transparent beacon of hope and acceptance, and a home for our community. Through the generous support of our donors, we are able to sustain this critical place and its programs."

Affirmations is located at 290 W. Nine Mile Road in Ferndale. For more information or to support the community center, call 248-398-7105 or visit http://www.goaffirmations.org.
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