Nonprofits compete in Charity Challenge


Cindy Crawford and Art Van Elslander, chairman and founder of Art Van, have “worked together for years.” Photo via

Nine West Michigan nonprofits are competing in a Midwest charity competition produced by a furniture retailer.

More than 120 nonprofits are attempting to raise the most money to win financial grants from Art Van in its seventh-annual Art Van Charity Challenge.

Of the nonprofits competing this year, 100 operate in Michigan.

The competition began on May 18 and runs to June 22, with supermodel and philanthropist Cindy Crawford serving as the event’s ambassador. The winners will be announced June 24.

"It is gratifying and inspiring to see what happens during this friendly competition," said Art Van Elslander, chairman and founder, Art Van. "By working together, we expect to raise over $2 million to support these wonderful charitable organizations."

The previous six Art Van Charity Challenges have generated about $20 million in donations, bestowed $7 million and supported 261 nonprofits.

The stakes

Each nonprofit will get to keep the funds raised during the competition, but the top 10 nonprofits will share $375,000 in prize grants.

The first-place finisher will receive a $75,000 grant from Art Van. The other nine top finishers will receive grants ranging from $7,500 to $65,000.

Additional prizes such as $4,000 in bonus challenges and $1,000 in Art Van gift cards are also up for grabs.

"There are few things in life more empowering than getting involved and giving back to help others," said Crawford, who lost her brother to leukemia when she was nine years old and helped raise money for the Leukemia Foundation of America as part of her healing process. "I have been devoted for a long time to doing my part to enhance the world."

West Michigan nonprofits in the 2015 Art Van Charity Challenge

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lakeshore
Camp Shout Out
Catholic Charities West Michigan
Evergreen, aka Holland Senior Citizen Center
Family Futures
Parent to Parent of Southwest Michigan
Shields of Hope
Women's Resource Center
YWCA West Central Michigan 

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