Oakwood’s Red Tie Ball surpasses fundraising goal—again

The Oakwood 7th annual Red Tie Ball in honor of Winfred and Paula Weldon set new records of attendance and generosity this year.

About 512 attendees along with the event sponsors generated more than $540,000 at the fundraiser, which took place at the Joe Louis Arena. The funds will support the Oakwood Center for Exceptional Families and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“We truly appreciate the generosity shown by everyone who took part in this exceptional event,” said Carla O’Malley, Executive Director and President of the Oakwood Foundation. “The exceptional response from our supporters allows Oakwood to continue to provide the highest quality care to these special children and their families through these vital programs.”

Attendees also witnessed a one-of-a kind performance from world-renowned artist Michael Israel, sponsored Kelly’s Kidz and the Hermann Family. Israel, who has performed at presidential galas, the Olympics and with entertainers such as Bruce Springsteen and Garth Brooks, provided the main entertainment for the evening. During his ‘Art in Concert’ program, he created five original pieces of art on spinning, six-foot-canvasses that were auctioned off later that evening.
Israel also visited the Center for Exceptional Families the day prior to the event, for an impromptu painting session with the children. He said he was impressed by the facility.

“You’re changing lives,” he said. “When you’re helping a child, you’re helping an entire family. That’s priceless. It’s amazing what you’re doing with these kids.”

The NICU cares for about 500 premature and/or at-risk infants annually—and many of them require long-term medical care, therapy or other support. The Center for Exceptional Families provides care for more than 3,000 children with special needs—and their families—throughout southeastern Michigan. It is a nationally-recognized facility providing unique services of all sorts, from medical care to physical therapy, support groups and more, under one roof. Proceeds from the Red Tie Ball event will help secure state of the art equipment, provide advanced clinician training and offer much-needed family support, including medical visits and specialized programs. A portion will also benefit an endowment fund.

CUTLINES: (TOP) Michael Israel (right) and Nick Bair collaborated on one painting at the Red Tie Ball. The five original paintings created by Israel helped generate a record amount of donations at the event this year.
(BELOW) Michael Israel stopped by the Center for Exceptional Families for a painting session the day prior to the fundraiser.