RESTORE backers aim to be up to 'Challenge'

By Tom Kirvan

Legal News

Three years ago, as part of its golden anniversary celebration, Art Van Furniture was at its philanthropic best, donating a total of $1 million to 50 different charities across Michigan. And the company's management team, led by founder Art Van Elslander and his son, Gary, president of the furniture retailer based in Warren, did so in whirlwind fashion, traveling 500 miles to brighten the outlook of 50 worthwhile causes throughout the state.

Among the recipients of Art Van's generosity was The RESTORE Foundation, a nonprofit organization created in 2008 to supply funding for the juvenile and adult drug court programs in Oakland County. The company's $20,000 donation that year provided a much-needed boost to the drug court programs, which have seen state and federal grant funding decline in recent years due to budget cutbacks.

Now, once again, RESTORE has been "named a recipient of the Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge," and can be in line for up to $25,000 more if its supporters "get out the vote" during a contest May 18-31.

"This year, we will be having our third voting social media contest," said a spokesman for the Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge. "The contest will begin on Friday, May 18, the day after our Award of Hope Event at Art Van in Lansing.

"We have built a great website to help people get to know your organization, to vote for you, and to make donations," the spokesman noted. "By actively promoting this to your circle of supporters, we will all be 'winners'--and you will have the chance of receiving $10,000, $15,000 or even $25,000. Every person is able to vote for your charity once a day. The leader board will be active on the website the week of May 21, so you will be able to track your organization's voting progress."

To vote for RESTORE each day during the contest, visit Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. on May 31.

The Oakland County drug court dates to 2001 and was launched with federal funds that served as seed money to help local officials get the program up and running, according to Circuit Court Judge Wendy Potts, president of The RESTORE Foundation's board of directors. The program is designed to curb substance abuse, and to reduce recidivism in drug-related activity.

Bloomfield Hills attorney Alan Ackerman, secretary of the RESTORE board, said, "The funds received from the Art Van Charity Challenge have been a tremendous help to The RESTORE Foundation," enabling it to build upon continuing efforts to support a drug court program that is a "viable and less costly alternative to incarceration," and focuses on treating drug and alcohol users and transforming them into productive members of society.

Published: Thu, May 17, 2012