Moving Milan Forward creates cooperation

Photo by Martha Chruchill Moving Milan Forward president, Tom Dupuis, right, presents a check to the City of Milan in the amount of $2,000 to help with downtown benches, flower barrels, and other street items. Mayor Michael Armitage, left, accepts the check along with Jade Smith, city administrator, at a September meeting of the Milan City Council.
Photo by Martha Chruchill
Moving Milan Forward president, Tom Dupuis, right, presents a check to the City of Milan in the amount of $2,000 to help with downtown benches, flower barrels, and other street items. Mayor Michael Armitage, left, accepts the check along with Jade Smith, city administrator, at a September meeting of the Milan City Council.

By Martha Churchill

“Moving Milan Forward was organized to bring the different organizations together in Milan,” says Ken Bibee, Communications Chairperson of MMF. “Instead of each organization going in different directions.”
Cooperation is a watch word for MMF, Bibee says. “There was open cooperation between the Milan American Legion and MMF this year,” he points out, referring to the Memorial Day parade.
People from the American Legion commented that this year’s Memorial Day festivities were a great success, Bibee explains. Since he is a member of both the American Legion and MMF, he hears comments from all sides.
MMF has organized the Veterans Day observance every year since 2010 and worked on the Veterans Wall of Honor.
Not all of MMF’s activities are veteran related. This year the organization donated $2,000 towards new benches in downtown Milan, along with matching trash containers.
“We donated money to the billboard north of town, to get that established,” Bibee added. MMF also donated towards the Mason Farmer playground equipment.
“For years, MMF has been helping with the cost of fireworks at the fairs,” Bibee stated. Members of MMF place donation buckets around town, and pass the buckets for donations just before the fireworks start.
Sometimes MMF lends its nonprofit status to other Milan organizations, Bibee noted. “We can take donations from individuals or groups to apply towards community activities.” The donations are tax-deductible when given to MMF, even when the money is used for another group’s activity.
The POW spaghetti dinner event this summer at the Milan Senior Center was paid for by a partnership of the Milan American Legion and MMF, according to Michael Armitage, MMF treasurer. He says the Legion paid for the Senior Center rental, and MMF paid for the food.
According to Armitage, the POW event got its start with the Immaculate Conception Youth Group and the VA Hospital volunteers.
Summerfest this year was another example, Armitage says, where MMF cooperated with other groups. MMF made a $3,000 cash gift to Summerfest, and organized all the finances.
Armitage says he arranged for the liquor license, insurance, and all contracts for Summerfest. Money from sponsors was deposited into a MMF account, and Armitage processed the payments to all the vendors.
“The entertainment, two bands, cost $8,000 for both,” Armitage commented.
Tom Dupuis, President of MMF, says MMF has handled quite a bit of money. “$230,000 has passed through MMF to better the community in the last four years,” he stated.
How does MMF raise its money? 
Tony Thompson, owner of Fender’s Bar and Grill in Milan, has arranged for MMF to act as the charity for certain poker games at his Ypsilanti location, Roundtree Bar and Grill.
Every time MMF members work at the poker games, the nonprofit receives payments through Thompson.
According to Armitage, MMF has brought in about $16,000 this year by working the poker games.

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