GRAND RAPIDS — Huntington Bank invites area business-owners and others to help in a broad-based version of this community’s favorite pastime: giving.
The firm is sponsoring what it calls “Huntington’s Night of Giving,” to help local nonprofit groups raise funds while also giving people a chance to get some early Christmas shopping out of the way.
The way it works is that on Sunday, Nov. 18, RiverTown Crossings will open its doors from 7 to 10 p.m. for a private night of Christmas shopping.
To gain admittance to the event, each shopper must present a $5 ticket purchased from any one of the participating nonprofits, from any Huntington bank branch, from the RiverTown customer service center, or — on the night of Nov. 18 — at one of the RiverTown mall’s entrances.
Proceeds from tickets purchased will go directly to the agencies’ treasuries. Huntington and RiverTown advised that they will distribute the proceeds from their ticket sales equally among the 70-plus nonprofit groups.
According to Huntington, Santa will be on hand for the event and stores will be offering discounts exclusively for the charity evening.
Ticket sales began Oct. 17. Huntington officials stress that the agencies’ ability to make money from the event is limited only by their capacity to sell tickets.
Seizing on that notion, the Dorr Friends of the Library — one of the smallest of the nonprofits — have set themselves a selling goal of 1,000 tickets in order to fund a children’s garden at the new Dorr Township Library.
Kathy Nyenhuis, the assistant at the library, said raising $5,000 with only five volunteers would have taken a long time. But the bank’s night of giving has made a big difference.
“We are so thankful that Huntington is willing to do this, and that they included smaller nonprofit groups from rural communities. The tickets almost sell themselves. It’s been a gift!”
On the other end of the beneficiary scale, Grand Valley State University plans to use funds it raises in the event to support its scholarship programs.
Huntington’s regional president, Jim Dunlap, said the firm wanted to take the step because “our employees are extremely proud to call West Michigan home. And we wanted to do this because we recognize that nonprofit organizations are valuable resources in our communities.”
He explained that normal budget constraints prevent the firm from community outreach to so many nonprofit institutions. But by sponsoring this event, Dunlap noted, Huntington is facilitating an entire community’s outreach to its nonprofits.
“We consider it a privilege to be able to give back to our local communities by supporting these nonprofits,” he said.
Residents wishing to learn the names of the involved charities can find the list at any Huntington Bank or at the customer service office at the RiverTown Crossings mall.