From left, Anna Messina, of Washington Township; Alecia Niedzwiecki, of Washington Township; Carolyn Messina, of Washington Township; and Florence Messina, of Shelby Township, look at the grand prize boxes during the Snowflake Social in 2019.

From left, Anna Messina, of Washington Township; Alecia Niedzwiecki, of Washington Township; Carolyn Messina, of Washington Township; and Florence Messina, of Shelby Township, look at the grand prize boxes during the Snowflake Social in 2019.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

Snowflake Social to benefit Shelby Township community

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 3, 2020


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Shelby Community Foundation is inviting the public to come out and help raise funds to benefit the local community.

Every year, the Shelby Community Foundation hosts its Snowflake Social fundraising gala. This will be the 14th year.

The Snowflake Social will be held from 6 to 10 p.m Feb. 28 at the Palazzo Grande Banquet Center in Shelby Township. The event will feature dinner, music, an open bar and a variety of new raffles.  

Proceeds from the event will benefit scholarships and community enhancement programs throughout Shelby Township.

The raffles will include a 50-50 raffle, raffle baskets and a grand prize gift box raffle. The raffle baskets are all themed based on the gifts that they contain.

“Raffle basket themes are fan favorites: coffee, pet lovers, spa day and a year of dining out, to name a few,” Barb Keil, the foundation’s secretary, said in an email.

A grand prize that includes a piece of amethyst fine jewelry valued at around $800, which goes with the theme of the event, will be revealed at the gala.

This year, the event will also feature something a little different.

“We are adding a silent auction to the existing raffle baskets, and a grand prize jewelry raffle,” Kim Enders, the foundation chair, said in an email.

“The silent auction will be for ‘experiences’ that are being developed just for the foundation’s gala. Many of these custom-crafted experiences will not be available to the public, only at the gala,” said Enders.

Keil said that there will be a new band playing at the event.

“Also new for 2020 is our entertainment. The Dave Bennett Quartet will be our featured musical guest. Mr. Bennett has been a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall, and his quartet plays music festivals throughout the United States. Many local Detroiters know him from the Dirty Dog Jazz Café in Grosse Pointe Farms,” she said.

The cost to attend the event is $80 per person.

Since 1996, the foundation has raised $1.7 million and has awarded $132,500 in scholarships, $658,000 in grants and $662,000 in endowments.

“We raised over $16,000 for local grants and high school scholarships in 2019 — our goal in 2020 is to surpass this number. Due to the generosity of the community at our gala last year, we were able to increase the dollar amount from $1,000 to $2,000 for the top scholarship winners,” said Enders.

The Shelby Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation, and each member of the foundation is a volunteer and receives no pay.

The foundation was founded in 1996 by Linda Stout, who is currently the foundation’s treasurer. She said she started the foundation because she wanted to give back to the community.

Over the years, the foundation has grown.

“We have been doing an annual fundraising event since 2007, and it has evolved along with Shelby Township itself. What started out as a golf outing morphed into a wine tasting and has now become an entertainment experience not to be missed,” said Keil.

Since 1996, the Shelby Community Foundation has also established several endowment funds to help those in the community who need assistance, including the Shelby Community Foundation Endowment Fund and the Scholarship Endowment Fund.

Scholarships are given each year to high school seniors who are Shelby Township residents, and applications are due by April 1. Grants are also given three times a year, and applications are due Feb. 1, June 1 and Oct. 1.

Last year, the foundation received 21 scholarship applications, and it has received as many as 40.

One of the endowment funds that the Shelby Community Foundation has is the SCF Endowment Fund, which is used for general community needs, such as financing projects for the Shelby Township Art Fair, the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center, the Shelby Township Library, the Heritage Gardens and more.

The Scholarship Endowment Fund provides college and skilled training scholarships to high school seniors from Shelby Township.

The Healthy Futures Endowment Fund supports projects for senior citizens and youths in Shelby Township. It has funded the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, the Senior Chore program, CPR programs, Science Olympiad, Destination Imagination and more.

The foundation also has non-endowment funds. Unlike an endowment fund, the principal and the earnings can be granted for charitable needs.

Tickets for the event are on sale now and are expected to sell out.

The Palazzo Grande Banquet Center is located at 54660 Van Dyke Ave.

For more information, tickets or to donate, visit or call (586) 909-5305.