Nonprofit producing Fall Reception on West Side


Sue Jandernoa. Photo via 42 North Partners

A nonprofit that works with children grieving the death of loved ones is hosting a fundraiser this week on the city’s West Side.

Ele’s Place Grand Rapids is producing its fifth-annual Fall Reception on Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at New Vintage Place in Grand Rapids, at 889 Broadway Ave. NW.

The event includes a strolling dinner reception and a program beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The nonprofit’s 2018 Visionary Award will be presented to Sue Jandernoa, a founding board member who taught at East Grand Rapids Public Schools for 30 years before retiring in 2004.

Jandernoa is a board member for several organizations: Michigan Health Endowment Fund; Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation; Make-a-Wish Foundation of Michigan; and First Steps Kent. She is also a former Ele’s Place local board president.

Keynote remarks will be presented by Austin Hatch, a University of Michigan basketball alum who has survived two plane crashes: in the first, he lost his mother, brother and sister; in the second, he lost his father and stepmother.

Tickets to the event are $100 each.

Ele’s Place

Through free peer-support group programs, Ele’s Place helps children cope with the death of a parent, sibling or other loved ones.

The nonprofit has four branches: Grand Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor and Flint.

It was established in 1991 by Betsy Stover and named in honor of her daughter, Ele Stover, who died in 1989 at the age of 11 months.

The Grand Rapids chapter was founded in 2013 by three families traveling each week from West Michigan for programs at Ele’s Place in Lansing.

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