WARREN, Mich., May 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The fundraising race is on for eight northern Michigan charities who began competing yesterday for grant dollars among 120 Midwest nonprofits focused on children, health care and human services in Art Van Furniture's seventh annual "Art Van Charity Challenge." Supporters from far and wide are being encouraged to make a difference and a donation during the spirited five week competition which runs from May 18 through June 22. Cindy Crawford, international supermodel, businesswoman, and philanthropist, is serving as the official 2015 "Art Van Charity Challenge" ambassador.
The eight Northern Michigan charities competing to raise the most money are:
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Marquette and Alger Counties, Inc.
- Camp Quality Michigan
- Community Support Distribution Services DBA The Chosen Ranch
- Hospice of Northwest Michigan
- Little Traverse Bay Humane Society
- Michael's Place
- Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency Inc.
The top 10 nonprofits in the "Art Van Charity Challenge" will share $375,000 in prize grants. The first place finisher will receive $75,000, and grants ranging from $7,500 and $65,000 will be awarded to the nine other top fundraising organizations. Of the 120 competing charities in 2015, 100 operate in Michigan, 17 in Chicagoland, two in Ohio and one in Indiana. During the past six years, the Art Van Charity Challenge has generated nearly $20 million in donations, bestowed $7 million, and supports 261 charities.
"It is gratifying and inspiring to see what happens during this friendly competition," said Art Van Elslander, chairman and founder of Art Van Furniture. "By working together, we expect to raise over $2 million to support these wonderful charitable organizations."
The winners will be announced on June 24. All of the participating charities will keep the funds raised during the competition, as well as any additional prizes won such as $4,000 in bonus challenge money from Art Van Furniture, $1,000 in Art Van Furniture gift cards, and special prizes like autographed photos of Cindy Crawford and internationally renowned photographer Nigel Barker.
"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."
Powered by CrowdRise.com, an online charitable fundraising site, the Art Van Charity Challenge raised over $1 million, including $260,000 in the final 24 hours and secured $175,000 of the funds in the final hour during its 2014 campaign, setting a CrowdRise.com record. For more information, including a complete lists of this year's participating charities, visit artvancharitychallenge.com.
About Art Van Furniture
Art Van Furniture is the Midwest's largest furniture retailer and America's largest independent furniture retailer. The company operates 94 stores throughout Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana, including freestanding Art Van PureSleep mattress stores, Art Van Flooring stores, and Art Van Furniture franchise locations as well as a full service e-commerce website. Founded in 1959, the company is family-owned and headquartered in Warren, Michigan. Visit artvan.com for more information.
SOURCE Art Van Furniture