Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge

“If you’re fortunate enough to be as successful as our company has been, then it’s your responsibility to give back. I just believe that.” – Art Van Furniture Chairman & Founder, Art Van Elslander

It’s no secret that Michigan’s economy took a beating during the past few years, and some of the groups hardest hit were Michigan’s charitable organizations. Chairman and Founder Art Van Elslander saw what was happening and rose to meet the need.

To celebrate Art Van’s 50th anniversary in 2009, he launched the Million Dollar Charity Challenge, donating $1 million to be divided among 50 charities that focus on children, health and human services throughout the state. The grants, ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, are “challenge grants” in order to maximize giving potential. In the past, charities have spread the word and turned the $1 million into over $4 million through additional fundraising efforts.

In its fourth year, this year’s Million Dollar Charity Challenge includes an additional challenge; three additional grants will be awarded through an online voting contest. Charitable organizations have been challenged to spread the word, and the top three vote getters will win grants of $25,000, $15,000 or $10,000.

Last year was the first year the Million Dollar Charity Challenge included a voting competition. The winners were Senior Neighbors, $25,000, which promotes the health and well-being of older adults in Kent County; Seedlings Braille Books for Children of Livonia, $15,000, dedicated to increasing the opportunity for literacy by providing high quality, low cost Braille books for children; and North Star Reach of Ann Arbor, $10,000, a camp experience for children and families of children with serious or life-threatening health challenges.

To participate, visit where you can learn more about the deserving organizations and vote for your favorite. You’ll also learn how you can donate to causes throughout Michigan. But hurry! Voting ends May 31,

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