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2nd annual Steak and Burger Dinner raises nearly $40,000 for BGCGRYC

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Dominique Dawes with girls' basketball team members.

Dominique Dawes with girls' basketball team members. /Sara Schneider

Underwriting support from:


Guests meeting Dominique Dawes.

Guests meeting Dominique Dawes. /Sara Schneider

Dominique Dawes signing autographs for Club members and letting them hold her Olympic gold medal.

Dominique Dawes signing autographs for Club members and letting them hold her Olympic gold medal. /Sara Schneider

When faced with challenges in her career, Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes learned to focus on the journey and not the destination. The 2nd Annual Steak & Burger Dinner provided the Club members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth a chance to hear from this prominent African American woman athlete.

Each year, the Steak & Burger Dinner brings together Boys & Girls Club supporters with the actual youth they help to support. Six adults and three Club members sit together to enjoy a delicious dinner (steak for the Club members and hamburgers for the adults). The event provides Club members a chance to personally interact in a semi-formal dinner setting with the individuals who contribute to their successes.

Along with Dawes as the evening’s keynote speaker, Board member Henry Emrich paid tribute to individuals who had been dedicated to serving the Clubs and the youth in Grand Rapids. The late Steve Duffy, Karl Hascall, William Seidman, Glenn Steil, Sr., and Percy Brown were all honored for their significant contributions. Retiring board member Lee Scott was also recognized and presented a plaque for his 20 years of service and commitment to the Club.

“This was my first Steak & Burger Dinner, and I loved it. The boys at my table enjoyed their steaks and said they love to come to the Club to hang out,” said Gold sponsor Lisa Hunter of Amway Global. “Personally, I found it to be a great teaching moment for me to share with my son Michael who joined me. Michael helped put in the new garden at the Steil Club, so he loves hearing about the Club and talking to the kids.”

Keynote speaker Dominique Dawes spoke of the challenges and obstacles that she faced on her journey to success, and how her passion and positive influences in her life got her to where she is today. She encouraged the youth to strive high and utilize the positive role models that are there for them at Boys & Girls Club. 

“Dominique's message was very appropriate for not only the youth in the room but also the adults,” said Hunter.

Steak, burgers and Dominique Dawes; what more could one ask for? Great sponsors! (Please see a list of the evening’s Presenting, Gold, and Silver sponsors at the bottom of the article.) The 2nd annual Steak and Burger dinner raised over $37,000 to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth.

In addition, seven lucky Club members went home with incredible raffle prizes donated by local companies including two iPods, two Nintendo DS with games, a 19-inch LCD TV, a digital camera, and a bike. But, no child left empty handed; each Club member received a goodie bag including a new backpack, Club t-shirt, and more. 

The kids were not the only ones to go home with something new. Numerous guests bid their way through the Silent Auction, winning items such as a progressive dinner at the B.O.B., signed Orlando Magic gear, and floor seats to a Detroit Pistons game. The Silent Auction raised an additional $1,940 for Boys & Girls Clubs. 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth has already begun planning for the 3rd Annual Steak & Burger Dinner in 2011 with speaker Bill Barkeley ( If you are interested in helping plan next year’s dinner, please contact Sarah Navis at [email protected] or (616)233-9370 x109.



VanderWeide Family Foundation


Amway Global
Douglas & Maria DeVos Foundation
Duffy Family
David & Carol Van Andel Foundation


Aquinas College
Berends Hendricks Stuit Insurance
Car City Supercenter
Colliers International
Dickinson Wright
First Companies
J.C. Huizenga
Mercantile Bank
Profile Films
Swift Printing & Communications
Taco Bell
Universal Forest Products
Wells Fargo

A big thank you to all the individual and couple supporters, in-kind donors, planning committee members, staff, Camp Advisory Board members, and the Board of Directors. 


Article written by Tessa Talsma and Sara Schneider.

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