Samaritas Fielding Hope event raises funds for Michigan families, children, refugees and seniors

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published October 14, 2021

  Mike Kneale, former Samaritas board director; Kelli Dobner, Samaritas chief advancement officer; David Lochner, board director; and Jenny Cederstrom, Samaritas, chief financial officer, enjoy the Fielding Hope event at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica Sept. 30.

Mike Kneale, former Samaritas board director; Kelli Dobner, Samaritas chief advancement officer; David Lochner, board director; and Jenny Cederstrom, Samaritas, chief financial officer, enjoy the Fielding Hope event at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica Sept. 30.

Photo provided by Samaritas

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UTICA — Samaritas hosted its outdoor Fielding Hope event Sept. 30, a celebration of its 87 years of impact throughout Michigan, to raise funds for Michigan families, children, refugees and seniors at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica.

Attendees danced to live music, enjoyed craft beer and cocktails from New Holland Brewing, ate gourmet food, raised live auction paddles, and participated in a helicopter ball drop raffle. All funds raised will help fund statewide programs benefiting families, children, refugees and seniors.

Kelli Dobner, the chief advancement officer for Samaritas and a Clinton Township resident, said Fielding Hope was the organization’s most successful fundraising event in southeast Michigan to date.

“It was phenomenal. We had great attendance and significant support from new and faithful sponsors. We have our annual gala every year, and we had to pivot the last couple of years and move our gala outdoors. It’s something we’re really proud of, that we’ve been able to create a successful and safe event experience throughout COVID, and we continue to raise more money every year in that environment,” she said via email.

Dobner said the community continues to come out and support Samaritas because people recognize the need is still there, and Fielding Hope was the pinnacle.

“The vulnerable populations that Samaritas serves only rely on us more during these times. People really rallied around that concept to support this event in a really big way and embraced the whole experience,” she said.

The event included Katie McCuen, of Samaritas foster care recruitment, speaking on the value of foster care and the Fielding Hope awardees.

The Rev. Bill Danaher, vice chair of Fielding Hope, Samaritas board member and rector of Christ Church Cranbook in Bloomfield Hills, said he has been amazed at how Samaritas has been able to pivot its way through the pandemic.

“Samaritas has done this twice now with galas that raised record amounts of money, which funds a mission that is needed now more than ever. Jimmy John’s Field is a treasure, and we should all be proud of the wonderful venue it provides,” he said in an email interview.

He said that right now, there is a strong need to provide support for children at risk, for seniors who need care, for refugees who need resettlement and for people to find housing.

“The mission of Samaritas is resonating with more people now more than ever,” he said.

For more information, visit samaritas.org/fielding-hope.

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