October 20, 2022
Jessica Mathews / [email protected]
A grassroots fundraiser that pits Wolverine and Spartan fans against each other to benefit a local dental clinic is just around the corner.
The VINA Community Dental Center Tailgate Fundraiser will be held next Thursday, October 27 at Crystal Gardens from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
The event is now in its 14th year and is VINA’s main fundraiser. It’s a competition between Michigan and Michigan State fans to see who can raise the most money for the nonprofit and it all starts with buying sponsorships, tickets and online auction items. Everyone designates which team they want their funds to go to, or they can just remain neutral. Everything is counted at the end of the evening during the event and a winner is declared. The winning school’s flag hangs in a window at VINA until next year’s Tailgate.
The evening consists of a silent auction with over 100 silent auction items including fall decor, fan gear, golf packages, collectibles, gift cards and tickets to various experiences and sporting events. There will also be a live auction for tickets to the Michigan vs. Michigan State football game this year.
In addition to the silent auction, Tailgate tickets give attendees access to a tailgate food buffet, raffles, cash bar, cornhole games and a fun atmosphere with the Brighton High School Marching Band and banter between fans and captains of Tailgate this year.
There are two returning team captains this year – both of whom have led their teams to a VINA Tailgate win over the past two years. Bob Cernak was Michigan’s captain last year when Wolverine fans won the Tailgate and George Moses was Spartan’s captain in 2020 when Michigan State fans won the Tailgate virtual fundraiser. Both are alumni of their respective schools and are well known in the Livingston County community.
Executive director Jim Gilmore told WHMI the event had become a tradition and was a good time with the captains joking around all night. It’s all fun, but he says the focus is really on supporting VINA in fundraising and awareness so the clinic continues to provide low-cost dental care to low-income adults in Livingston County.
Gilmore says the event is about 20-25% of their budget, so it’s definitely a big event for VINA. He says they serve around 1,500 to 2,000 clients a year at their clinic in Brighton – noting that they have definitely seen a big influx in the number of older people over the past five years. Gilmore says VINA typically takes between 10 and 15 new patients each month and also offers programs for low-income veterans.
More information about the event is attached and a link to the full interview with Gilmore is provided.