Want to learn to curse in Bulgarian? Experience mixing, grinding, and stuffing your own sausages before you launch your career in DC? Challenge your school's dean to a game of Whirly Ball? Enjoy a momofuku-style Bo Ssam dinner with six of your closest friends? Just attend the Ford School's annual Charity Auction.
For the past 15 years, Ford School students have organized hundreds of fundraisers for local charities—weekly bake sales and annual Big Lebowski Bowling Nights, periodic penny wars and poker games, tasty ethnic lunches on the run, and catered evening banquets in the Great Hall—but while they're all clever and entertaining, and more or less lucrative, none can compare to the students' annual Charity Auction.
In the past decade alone, the student-run Charity Auction has raised more than $100,000 for ten local and international nonprofits nominated and selected by the students themselves. They've included a support program for military families and returning veterans, an organization that works to promote peace and understanding in the aftermath of war, and a nonprofit—founded by one of our own Ford School alums—that helps thousands of young people engage in meaningful volunteer opportunities in Detroit.
In 2011, the Casablanca-themed auction raised $11,000 for Freedom House Detroit, an organization that helps survivors of persecution seeking political asylum in the United States and Canada. In 2012, the Magic-of-Motown themed event raised $12,000 for Alternatives for Girls, a Detroit nonprofit serving homeless and at-risk girls. Last spring's Charity Auction, with a Roaring 20s theme, raised $9,000 for Detroit Action Commonwealth, an organization that combats homelessness.
Recent auction items included puppy play dates, golf outings, Detroit tours, statistics lessons, growlers of homemade hard cider, and lunch with the Mayor of Ann Arbor (the mayor teaches a Ford School class on local governance). The highest selling items in 2013? $825 for a cocktail reception for 25 hosted by faculty members Megan and Kevin Tompkins-Stange and $775 for a three-day, two-night stay at the 1,800-acre Henry Ford family estate along the Ogeechee River in Georgia.
In 2013, the University of Michigan Alumni Association recognized the Ford School Charity Auction with the Forever Go Blue Award for External Philanthropy. Want to contribute to the 2014 Charity Auction? Quirky goods and services are always welcome.
Below is a formatted version of this article from State & Hill, the magazine of the Ford School. View the entire Fall 2013 State & Hill here.