Editor's note: This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave's On the Ground Northside series.
For many Northside residents, and even for those who live in nearby neighborhoods, the Douglass Community Association, 1000 W. Patterson, is a local landmark that conjures up warm memories, whether it’s through trips to the library, an event in the community room, or a basketball game in the gym.
“Whenever I encounter someone on the street and say, hey, I’m working at the Douglass, inevitably people have something to share about how in their upbringing, the Douglass was the place to be,” says Jennifer Frank Brenton, Douglass’ Operations Manager.
As a chance to honor those memories, and participate in the continued growth of this Northside institution, a fundraiser and community gathering, the Third Annual Autumn Gala, will take place at Cityscape Event Center, 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall, at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2.
“This is an exciting time for the Douglass,” says Frank Brenton, “The Douglass is on the cusp of a 100 years. We are adding a new executive director and adding some new features. This event is to celebrate that we are here. We are thriving.”
Formerly held in the Douglass’ community room, the event this year is “adding a little panache,” says Frank Brenton. At Cityscape, there will be tray-served hor d’oeuvres, wine, a cash bar, music and dancing, a silent auction, and possibly champagne. The fundraising goal is $2,500.
“The Gala is a really nice way to bring our community together to have some fun and to bid on some nice things,” says Frank Brenton. “Cityscape has an elegant atmosphere. We hope that people will be compelled to bid on our auction items and drive the prices up, or if they want to, make a donation to support our services.”
Auction items include donations from area artists, including those sponsored by the Black Arts & Cultural Center, couples’ getaways, sports memorabilia, and gift certificates from tenants, among others.
“Certainly we want to raise money to support the Douglass, but we also want to have fun,“ says Frank Brenton. “There’s going to be music and space for people to dance. It’s meant to be a really fun, networking event.
“Last year was amazing. At the end of the night, after they won their items, everyone just started to dance,” says Frank Brenton. “We hope to recreate the friendly and comfortable environment where people can let loose a little and have a good time.”
Participation in the event is free, but requires an RSVP by Friday, Oct. 26. For more information, please see the Douglass Community Association Facebook page
or its website