Members of the Paul I. Phillips Boys & Girls Club in Grand Rapids play basketball during halftime of the Mac v. Merc charity game. Courtesy Boys & Girls Club
It might not have been Michigan v. Michigan State, but the stakes were still high at this week’s Mac v. Merc charity basketball game.
That’s because Macatawa Bank and Mercantile Bank were hitting the court to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth.
“A high-energy game”
The bankers competed against each other at the Paul I. Phillips Boys & Girls Club on Tuesday night — and raised $16,000 in the process.
“It was a high-energy game, and the stands were near capacity with fans of Macatawa Bank, Mercantile Bank and supporters of the Boys & Girls Club,” said Matt Hoeksema, head of commercial lending, SVP at Macatawa Bank.
In the end, Mercantile celebrated a 61 to 50 victory.
This is the second year that both banks competed in the charity game.
Previously, Mercantile Bank played the annual game three times against the Grand Rapids Police Department.
Boys & Girls Club
Both banks said they are committed to the community and playing the game in support of the Boys & Girls Club is an important piece of giving back to the community.
“The benefits will be seen within the footprint of our local communities, and each organization is thrilled to play a part,” Hoeksema said. “We look forward to continuing to be involved with this organization that does so much for the youth in our community.”
The Boys & Girls Club is focused on providing programming and services that promote a sense of competence, usefulness and belonging, giving young people the key skills they need to be successful in life.
The $16,000 raised this year came from sponsorships, ticket and concession sales and other fundraising initiatives. By contrast, the game brought in approximately $10,000 in 2011.
In addition to playing the game, the charity event also includes opportunities for kids to be involved.
Children from the Boys & Girls Club joined in with a pre-game dribble relay race and a free-throw contest.
“And during halftime, kids played a short game, and the points scored were added to the score for each team,” explained Monica Kreiger, marketing team lead at Mercantile Bank of Michigan. “This is a fun way for the kids to contribute — and those kids can really play!”
Additionally, Griff from the Grand Rapids Griffins and Crash from the West Michigan Whitecaps, made appearances at the game.
“No matter who ends up with the top score at the end of the night, the kids and the clubs are the real winners,” Kreiger said.