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Upcoming fundraiser prepares to support Native Americans locally and nationwide

The Gathering Thunder Foundation will be having their Spring Gala fundraising event to raise money for their programs that aid Native Americans across the country.

/Courtesy of David Fix

/Courtesy of David Fix

/Courtesy of David Fix


The Gathering Thunder Foundation, a nonprofit organization based out of Rockford and dedicated to preserving Native American culture, will be having their Annual Spring Gala at the Grand Rapids Public Museum on April 26.

This foundation is 100 percent volunteer operated, with no employee being on a pay roll. All of the money that is put into the organization goes right back out, says Denise Iwaniw, president of The Gathering Thunder Foundation.

“There are very few foundations that run in this matter,” says Iwaniw. “One of the things we do is help pay propane bills and electric bills for people who live on a Native American reservations across the country.”

Sponsoring the "Walk in the Spirit Pow Wow" every year in Hastings, Mich. is another way the foundation supports the Native American community.

“We are truly in service to help preserve the people, culture and spirituality,” says Iwaniw. “If they are a Native American in North America, we assist them.”

The Spring Gala is the foundation's biggest fundraiser of the year. The event will feature:

  • Live music by Douglas Blue Feather, an award winning Native Flutist.
  • Catered hors d'oeuvres
  • Jim Miller of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to speak on Dakota 38, a documentary that will premiere on April 27 at the UICA.
  • Live and silent auctions of items donated by Grand Rapids artisans such as Mic Carlson, Michelle Jennings, Pamela Hemmes and Nancy Wanha. National and global artisans have also contributed to the auction.
  • Items in the auction include Native American oil paintings, sculptures, watercolor, pottery and handmade quilts.

News anchor Susan Shaw of WOODTV8 will be the official emcee of the evening.

The event will take place on Saturday, April 26 at the Grand Rapids Public Museum (272 Pearl Street NW) at 6 p.m. Children are invited and encouraged to come.

Tickets for adults are $45, student tickets are $25 and children eight and under are free. Tickets are available to purchase here.





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