The 6th Annual MVP Awards Dinner benefiting Detroit PAL presented by DTE Energy and JAC Products was held on Thursday, February 26 at the Detroit Athletic Club. We were very excited to bring back Rhonda Walker of WDIV-TV as our Mistress of Ceremony for the fourth year in a row as well as honor distinguished men and women whose support has impacted Detroit PAL enormously. The big announcement of the night, however, was the launching of the ‘Kids at the Corner’ campaign. The campaign aims to raise $15.5 million for the redevelopment of the Old Tiger Stadium and to increase the number of youth participants to 15,000 annually.
Detroit PAL awarded the Dave Bing Leadership Award to The Skillman Foundation. The Skillman Foundation has been a supporter of Detroit PAL’s neighborhood based youth development programming since 2003. Throughout the partnership, The Skillman Foundation has provided more than $2.3 million to Detroit PAL programs which has assisted over 35,000 children. The award was received by The Skillman Foundation President and CEO, Tonya Allen. Watch Video Here.
The Scodellaro/Boylan “Builder” Award was presented to the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA). The DADA has hosted the North American International Auto Show Charity Preview since 1976 and has raised more than $100 million for local charities. The Charity Preview benefits nine Detroit children’s charities, including Detroit PAL. The award was accepted by Scott LaRiche, chairman of the 2015 NAIAS. Watch Video Here.
Rob and Natalie Sims were awarded the Varner/Tenbusch “Game Changer” Award for their devotion to Detroit PAL and its youth participants. The Sims have graciously donated more than $80,000 to Detroit PAL over the past two years. They have helped us continue our football program and ensure that kids received proper uniforms, equipment and mentoring. Watch Video Here.
A new award introduced this year was the Cynthia Covington “Volunteer of the Year” Award. Cynthia was part of the Detroit PAL family for more than 25 years. Before her passing in June 2014, Cynthia served PAL as a finance and business administration assistant and volunteer extraordinaire. Cynthia continued to volunteer for PAL long after her children grew out of the programs. PAL was honored to create this award and keep Cynthia’s memory alive by recognizing the dedication and sacrifice our volunteers make everyday on behalf of Detroit’s youth.
The MVP Awards Dinner also served to announce Detroit PAL’s new ‘Kids at the Corner’ campaign. We will lead the redevelopment of Michigan and Trumbull by building a permanent headquarters for all PAL participants, their families and our 1,500 volunteers, while pr eserving the historic playing field. In addition to baseball and football, we will also bring soccer, softball and tee-ball to the site. This project could play a pivotal role in growing PAL’s reach. We intend to grow our program to 15,000 kids served annually by 2018. Detroit PAL’s capacity campaign goal is to raise $15.5 million within 24 months.
We at PAL are very grateful for the support we received for this event. We would like to thank our Title Sponsor; US Manufacturing as well as our Presenting Sponsors: DTE Energy and JAC Products and our additional MVP Awards sponsors: Bridgewater Interiors, Wolverine, Coca Cola, Team Detroit, Detroit Lions, Duffey Petrosky, Citizens Bank, Signature Associates, Gerry Boylan, John Bush, Detroit Auto Dealers Association, Martin Mayhew and Terence Thomas. We could not have done it without you!