Art Van Gives Away $1 Million to 50 Charities for 3rd Year in a Row


Sep 13, 2011, 10:30 ET from Art Van Furniture

WARREN, Mich., Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of his long-time friend, the late Eleanor Josaitis, Art Van Elslander granted Focus Hope a $50,000 grant in the Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge.

Focus Hope was one of 30 Metro Detroit charities awarded grants which were announced during a morning news conference at its flagship store in Warren.  Special recognition was given to Focus Hope, the Detroit-based nonprofit organization which aims to overcome racism and poverty.  

"Along with Father Cunningham, the late Eleanor Josaitis helped feed the hungry and create 11,000 jobs," said Gary Van Elslander, president of Art Van Furniture.  "My father was a personal friend of Eleanor's and he wanted to help make sure her legacy would live on."

The 50 state-wide recipients address the needs children, health and human services programs.  The grants are designed as challenge gifts in order to encourage others to donate and maximize fundraising opportunities. To date, the Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge has raised an impressive $7 million dollars.

"Let's face it, the state of the economy has not improved in Michigan," said Art Van Elslander, founder and chairman of Art Van Furniture.  "This has increased the demand on nonprofits, outpacing their ability to meet the demand.  The only way charities can operate effectively is with the help of the community.  It's our responsibility.  It is our duty."

More excitement was created at the event when the Bonus Challenge was announced.  In addition to the challenge awards, all 150 Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge recipients (this includes the 100 awardees from the past two years) can compete to win an additional $25,000, $15,000 or $10,000 bonus.

"We want to continue to make the dollars go further, and we want to do it in a way that will create fun and excitement," said Gary Van Elslander, president of Art Van Furniture.  "These awards will be granted to the top three charities that receive the most votes from the public.  So we're expecting creative campaigns that will raise awareness for the charity challenge and each organization." The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite charity during a two week period from September 15 to September 30 at

The Metro Detroit 2011 grant recipients are:

Active Faith Community Services


Alliance for a Safer, Greener Detroit

Lighthouse Path

Anti-Defamation League

Macomb Co. Rotating Emergency Shelter

Beyond Basics

Macomb Co. Warming Center, Inc.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan

Monroe Co. Child Advocacy Center

Boys Hope Girls Hope of Michigan, Inc.

Neighborhood Services Organization

Cass Community Services

Oakwood Healthcare Foundation

Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corp.

Open Door Outreach Center

Common Ground

Presbyterian Villages of MI, Inc.

Covenant House Michigan

Samaritan Center, Inc.

Detroit Institute for Children

Samaritan House

Focus Hope

Special Kids, Inc.

Gabby's Ladder, Inc.

The Community House Association, Inc.

Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit

The Detroit Police Athletic League

Horatio Williams Foundation

The Renaissance Chapter of Links, Inc.

The remaining grant recipients throughout Michigan will be announced at press conferences in Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Traverse City later today and tomorrow.  The complete list of the 50 awardees will be posted on following the final event in Traverse City on Wednesday afternoon.

For more information contact Diane Charles at (586)983-3022 office - (586)850-7332 cell

About Art Van Furniture

Art Van Furniture is Michigan's largest furniture retailer and America's largest independent furniture retailer. The company operates 34 stores in 33 communities throughout Michigan, a full service e-commerce website, plus four freestanding Art Van PureSleep bedding stores in Canton, Troy, Rochester Hills, and Brighton, Michigan. Founded in 1959, the company is family-owned and headquartered in Warren, Mich. Check out for more information.

SOURCE Art Van Furniture