By Balinda Zimmerman
The 2016 Greater Milan Area Community Foundation (GMACF) Gala saw the greatest number of tickets sales and the largest attendance in the eleven-year history of the foundation.
Ticket sales totaled 275 for the fundraising event that featured 81 items for both silent and live auctions, a catered dinner, games, and finally a live DJ with plenty of dancing.
In attendance this year were two of the 2006 founding members of the GMACF, Millard Phillips and Don Harkness.
Each year monies raised from the Gala are invested in the GMACF general endowment fund and other designated funds. The resulting proceeds earned from those funds get distributed throughout the greaterMilan area community through grants to organizations and charities as well as students.
To date 147 grants have been awarded totaling over 275,000.00 and 98,000.00 in scholarships have been awarded to Milan High School students.
The Milan High School National Honor Society staffs the event every year with students to handle coat check service and serve as attendants to assist with the games as well as the silent and live auctions. Incorporating the help of students insures that our younger generations grow up appreciating what the GMACF does for the Milan community.
Scott Dotson and an anonymous donor both committed to matching gifts up to $6000 in addition to the funds raised by the auctions. Donations totaling over $6100made the total with matching gifts of over $20,000
One of the live auction items featured was a signed replica of the jersey worn by Jim Harbaugh with 3 photos taken during his U of M days prior to becoming Head Coach at U of M. Other auction items included a 2016 MIS race package, (4) tickets to a Tigers game with Tiger gear to wear, several golfing packages, 2 Michigan resort packages, a set of pearls and numerous other desired items.
Winners of the 52 card game were Carrie Ritchie, Bob Thatcher, Freda McGovern, Jen Michalak and Kathy Viets who all won a 100.00 gift card to JR’s Hometown Grill and Pub in Milan.  The winner of the heads and tails game was Scott Smith who won a 49 inch LG Ultra HD TV.
Special thanks go to Betsy Kanitz and Lori Smith. In addition to the hard work of the Gala Committee and members of the board, these two ladies have contributed a great deal to the success of the Gala each and every year. From taking tickets at the door at the beginning of the night to the distribution of auction items at the end of the night these ladies give everyone their personal attention.
Balinda Zimmerman is a certified mediator, owner/operator at Milan Memories by Minna, and freelance writer for the Milan Eagle News. Balinda can be reached at balindaz [at] comcast [dot] net

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