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Stars come out for Ilitch Charities' gala

by Kevin Wilson / Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT – Ilitch Charities’ fifth annual One Team, One Community Gala featured a veritable who’s who of celebrities on hand Sunday night. The star-studded guest list was topped by a couple of Detroit Tigers – Major League Baseball’s reigning MVP Justin Verlander and all-star third baseman Miguel Cabrera – along with actors Tim Busfield and Thorsten Kaye, and comedian Dave Coulier.

Whether they were stars or simply generous donors, everyone in attendance were there for a good cause, supporting local charitable organizations in the community.

Since 2008, Ilitch Charities has hosted the gala to give metro Detroiters the opportunity to mix and mingle with celebrities while also giving back to organizations in need. The event highlights charity partners for the One Team, One Community Gala that are recognized as outstanding organizations in the local community.

“It has been humbling to see the amount of support we’ve gotten from both the local community and nationally,” Ilitch Charities Chairman and Ilitch Holdings CEO Christopher Ilitch said. “We are so proud that celebrities and sponsors see the value that these events bring to our community. But mostly, we’re proud that we were able to raise a significant amount of money to support local organizations committed to making southeastern Michigan a better place for all.”

Sunday night’s event held at the MotorCity Casino’s Sound Board was chock-full of entertainment that resulted in a fun-filled evening. In addition to a variety of delicious foods and an open bar, both a silent auction and a live auction took place. The auctions featured once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to be won, like a road trip with the Red Wings or a personal voice message from Eminem, the latter of which fetched over $50,000. The evening ended on a high note when local country-rock band Annabelle Road performed.

Former Wings Kris Draper, Darren McCarty and Larry Murphy also attended, and acknowledged the importance of the event.

“It’s so nice to be involved in this; it feels nice to help out,” Draper said. “It’s no surprise that when the Ilitches do something like this, they do it first-class.”

McCarty echoed Draper’s sentiments, saying, “The Ilitch family and their charities have given so much back to the community and to us, but we’re all a big family. Not only is it for a great cause, but we also get to reminisce with a lot of great friends, and see the entertainment and the music. We look forward to this every year.”

This year, Ilitch Charities supported the following organizations to which a portion of the proceeds will be donated: Alternatives For Girls, a non-profit based in Detroit, helps homeless and high-risk girls and young women avoid violence and teen pregnancy; Reading Works, a foundation dedicated to raising the level of adult literacy in metro Detroit; and College for Creative Studies, an art education institution based in Detroit.

These particular organizations were selected for their proven ability to achieve measurable, long-term positive change in the community. Each of the institutions serves a tremendous role in Detroit, and will directly benefit from the funds raised.

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